Getting In Shape After Pregnancy
Exercising the whole way through pregnancy, makes rebound so much easier!
Exercising While Pregnant
I got pregnant with my second child in November of last year so during the first 6 months I kept busy indoors for the most part. I lifted weights, did yoga a few times a week, and continued snowboarding until February.
Once the weather started warming up I moved my workouts outside. I ran a little and walked a lot. I also swam several times a week.
I didn’t always do the same thing but I did always do something.
By the last month I was pretty slow and more concerned with having the baby than in staying in shape. But I didn’t quit. I continued to walk and swim.
The First 6 Weeks Postpartum
Things changed after the baby was born. I was recovering, I wasn’t sleeping, and I was busy with baby, 1st grade, and laundry. It was actually in the six weeks after Maya was born that I started to get out of shape!
As every woman does, I did a whole lot of lying around in the first weeks. But secretly, under my clothes I was exercising. I started Kegels within just a couple of days. I also did deep breathing, abdominal tensions, andleg squeezes. It’s hard to believe that something so simple could be so tough. It was a challenge just to find the right muscles and make them do what I wanted!
Within the first week I was walking. First just a block, then three, very slowly. I walked exclusively for many weeks. Well, that and the Kegels and tensions. (Pulling the navel back towards the spine is a great way to start controlling the abdominals.)
I had absolutely no sign of diastasis recti – the split of the two halves of the abdominals (there’s a chapter all about this in my book) – so by 3 or 4 weeks I began holding plank position and doing crunches.
6 Weeks Postpartum and Beyond
Finally, at 6 weeks postpartum, I bought a jogging stroller and went running. It hurt. There was still pressure down below so I waited a few days and tried again. This time the pressure was gone so I packed up the baby, got Evelyn on her bike and headed out for a little jog. Jogging with a kid who had leaps and bounds more energy than I had and was riding a bike maybe wasn’t the best idea. We went almost 3 miles through rolling hills. I won’t lie. It was hard and I clearly overdid it but it was fantastic at the same time. I felt real again. I knew the old me would be back.
I rested for a couple of days and then went out running again. I jogged for two weeks and then enrolled in a Tae Kwon Do school. I was 2 months postpartum and was doing 4-5 hours of Tae Kwon Do per week plus adding a little trail running here and there. And it feels great!
I’m still not where I’d like to be 3 months and 7 days later but I am making great progress. I can’t do a hundred sit ups in a row yet but I can do 60. I can’t do 50 push ups all the way to the floor but I can do 50 shallow ones. I couldn’t run a marathon tomorrow but I can run a few miles through the hills comfortably. I am getting stronger every day and having a great time doing it.
The important thing about exercising after pregnancy is realizing that you aren’t as good as your peers, you aren’t as good as you used to be, but that you will be if you just keep going.
Any woman who wants her old body back can have it. She just has to start small and be patient.
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