Postpartum Fitness

working out with baby

I haven’t written much (any?) fitness-related posts lately, largely due to how much my fitness level has plummeted during and post-pregnancy. 3 months postpartum, I’m finally beginning to get back into a routine and seeing change, albeit slower than I would like, mostly due to lingering ab separation.

At any rate, I’ll share what my workouts have been since giving birth and an example of a good postpartum reintroduction to running whether or not you’re suffering from abdominal separation, or diastasis recti.

I stayed very active throughout my pregnancy—possibly too active as the babies love constant movement—and starting at about 4 weeks postpartum, I was again moving as much as my body allowed. Long walks were my first reintroduction to fitness. This is a good, gentle way to get exercise and ease back in. Though I wanted to run as soon as the babies were out of me, I heeded advice to take it slow, and started run-walk alternating at about 6 weeks.

This is how I, and many runners, recommend getting back into running after a pregnancy, injury, etc (side note: if you were allowed to run during pregnancy, then esing back into it postpartum will probably be much easier!) Start by adding 1 minute of running with every 4 minutes of walking, and gradually increase your run time so that eventually you’ll be getting to a 2:1 ratio run:walk. Be wary of going too much too soon; listen to your body, and (of course) stop if you're feeling pain.

Not a runner or preferring to start with different exercise? I also did barre moves almost as soon as the few days following birth, though the first “exercises” I did were more relevés (standing on tip-toe) moving up and down, flexing my toes, circling my arms, and so forth. I started easy, not wanting to delay any healing. Gradually I worked up to plies and squats, and started following short and easy 10 min barre workouts on both YouTube as well as signing up for a subscription to barre3 online.

I highly recommend barre3 for postpartum fitness (and no, I am not affiliated in any way). I love that they have both prenatal and postnatal online workouts, and the postnatal ones especially are very good. It’s so important not to push your body too hard after birth, and barre is a great no to low-impact way to work on strength and flexibility and shed the baby weight. I also could carry first both babies in the Weego, then one baby at a time while doing the workout which was a huge plus, as inevitably one or both babies will cry whenever you think you’ll get a workout in! The online workout option is wonderful, as you can squeeze it in while babies are napping, and choose anywhere form a 10 to 60 minute option. (Good luck getting in 60 uninterrupted minutes, ha!)

That said, don’t be too hard on yourself. Your body literally created one or more babies, and it takes a long time to get back to feeling like yourself again. Trust me, I know! I’m still not there yet, but as I always remind myself, having the girls is worth the changes in my body and the abrupt loss of freedom to work out or run whenever I’d like to. Welcome to motherhood; your world (for the time being), revolves around your newborn!

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