Best Exercises to Lose Weight After Pregnancy
Get Your Body Back After Having a Baby: Tips to Lose Weight
For many new mothers, the question of when will I get my body back after having a baby often immediately follows, "when will the baby sleep through the night?"
Fortunately, if you are in good health and your doctor gives you the green light, you can usually begin light exercise within 3-4 weeks after delivery. Depending on how much weight you gained during pregnancy, most people can expect to lose the weight within 6-12 months after giving birth.
Be sure to check with your physician before beginning an exercise routine postpartum!
As the mom of four children, including a set of twins, my weight loss results varied each time. Although I am a runner, I switched to walking and DVD workouts for the first several months. I found that having a reliable all-terrain stroller and/or a quality baby front pack or backpack can make a big difference.
Be patient, eat a healthful diet, drink plenty of water and make a goal of exercising 2-3 times a week. Of course, there is more to exercise than just the goal of losing weight after pregnancy. Just 15-20 minutes of walking each day can improve your mood, help you sleep better (when you do get a chance to sleep) and increase circulation, which can boost your overall recovery time.
Your baby will probably enjoy the fresh air, which may help him sleep. Ask your pediatrician if it is safe for the baby to be outside and if they are the appropriate age and size to ride in a stroller or front pack.
Walking is one of the Best Workout Routines to Lose Weight after Pregnancy
My absolute favorite workout routine for post-pregnancy is the simplest one: walking.
After each of my kids were born, I began a walking workout within 6 weeks after checking with both my own doctor and the pediatrician to ensure it was safe to do so.
One of the best things about walking is that you don't need any exercise equipment. You can do it any time of the day, without worrying about making it to a class on time or getting child care.
Most babies of any age can safely ride in a front pack. Just be sure that the straps and openings are properly adjusted. You probably own a stroller, too. Using an age appropriate version (rear facing or front facing), your baby will probably enjoy getting out for fresh air while you go for a walk.
With my second son, I had the benefit of using a hand-me-down treadmill. I would strap Joe into the front pack and walk briskly for 45 minutes to an hour while I watched television. It never failed - Joe fell asleep each and every time!
After the twins were born, my work colleagues chipped in to give us a gift certificate that we used to buy a double jogger stroller. Our house was 1 mile up the back side of a relatively steep hill. All spring, I walked those babies down and then back up the hill!
If you are a novice exerciser (or even an experienced one), walking is a super exercise that is easy to do and convenient. Go as fast or slowly as you wish. The most important thing is that you are out there.
Consider a Stroller Strides or Mommy and Me Class
While it can be difficult to get to an exercise class the first few months after a baby is born, the beauty of a Stroller Strides class, or similar a Mommy and Me exercise group is that all the other participants are new moms that will probably have empathy for what you are going through.
Like you, they are trying to lose weight, adjust to motherhood and still have time to connect with friends. These classes are a great way to meet other moms! Moreover, if your friend is expecting you at Stroller Strides or Mommy and Me Yoga, you may be less likely to cancel or change your plans. Nothing like a group to keep you accountable!
My only word of caution is to take the classes seriously and work hard. I have been to a number of group exercise classes where many of the participants simply wish to socialize. If you agree to meet for 10-15 minutes afterward for coffee to catch-up, you can focus on your workout without feeling anti-social or rude.
Stroller Strides Exercises for Postpartum
Exercise Videos When Baby is Sleeping
When I was in college, Kathy Smith exercise videos were all the rage. I'd get together with my friends 2-3 times a week to work out (leg warmers optional).
Since my oldest son is now 14, I have to admit that I still used the same exercise videos after he was born! Today's offerings are more modern and incorporate yoga, Pilates, boxing or ballet moves. There is a wide range of workout videos from which to choose, based on your fitness level and interests.
Since my twins were born 9 years ago, there are many more at home workout alternatives, including Wii fitness. Although we don't own a Wii console, my boys love playing Xbox Kinnect, which is similar. If I wasn't so busy working, grocery shopping, doing laundry and preparing dinner, I would love to play these interactive games for exercise.
In actuality, trying to find time to exercise with older children can be even more than a challenge than when they were babies. Today, no one takes naps, everyone has homework, and each of my kids has extra-curricular activities, games and meets to attend.
During the first 18-24 months after your baby is born, you can take advantage of naptimes. Honestly, you will probably want to sleep when they are sleeping during the first 6 months. Once the baby starts sleeping through the night, you will find that you have more energy throughout the day to address your own needs. In turn, the entire family will benefit!
Moms: What Did You Find to be the Best Workout Routine to Lose Weight after Pregnancy?See results without voting
Easing Back into Exercise after Pregnancy
No matter your age and fitness level when you got pregnant, your body will be different after giving birth. I've experienced some of these issues after each delivery:
- Ligaments typically loosen during pregnancy; postpartum, you could be more prone to injuries such as a sprained ankle
- Incontinence may occur during strenuous exercise until the pelvic floor has regained strength (do your Kegel exercises!)
- Additional weight may make you feel sluggish and/or weak
- Breastfeeding mothers could experience pain due to engorgement or leaking
- As hormone levels return to normal, mood swings coupled with lack of sleep may make you irritable and tired
- Ill-fitting exercise clothes could cause chafing
Try a Mommy and Me Exercise Class
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