I recently wrote a post on 5 ways running will change your life and how running quite literally keeps me sane. I received lots of positive comments from mums and dads who also use exercise as a means of escape from the demands of parenthood, so when Laura King, a freelance writer specialising in health and fitness, got in touch and offered to write a guest post on the physical and mental benefits of exercise after pregnancy I thought it was a brilliant idea.
She has some great advice and tips for anyone wanting to get back into an exercise routine after having a baby, including 4 reasons to exercise after pregnancy. So over to you Laura…
The physical and mental benefits of exercise after pregnancy
Having a baby is possibly the most life changing experience you will go through. It brings with it changes in the way you think; you now have a little person to care for so you suddenly need to grow up fast. It brings about changes in the way that you spend your time; you definitely can’t sleep in all day Sunday anymore! And it will bring about changes to your body that you hadn’t anticipated. You may experience some swelling to your hands and feet, back pain, some new marks and scars on your skin and you may grow far bigger than you anticipated.
We are all different and we will all go through our own individual transformations so unfortunately it’s hard to know exactly how your body will react. The most important thing to remember is that you have been carrying a baby for nine months and it will take at least that amount of time to return to your normal size and fitness capabilities. Many women go on to even improve their previous personal best.
Exercising after pregnancy is a sure-fire way to fight any baby blues. Before exercising make sure you speak to your GP and have received the all-clear at your post-partum check-up, or train with a post-natal fitness professional who will tell you what you can and can’t do at each stage of your post pregnancy journey. Below, we list our top reasons why you should embrace post-natal fitness and why so many mums use it as a form of mental and physical therapy.
Get some ‘me-time’
It can be difficult to go from having lots of time spare to suddenly having a baby run your life. You may soon find you are speaking in baby language and that you haven’t been out and about in adult company for a while. This is the point at which you need to recruit your partner, best friend or mum to watch the baby for an hour and get outside for a run in the fresh air, or join a post-natal training programme where you can meet other mums. Not only will you get some time to clear your head but you can re-connect with your own thoughts.
Fight the exhaustion
It can be difficult to get a consistent night’s sleep when your baby is under a year old and although you may learn to cope with the tiredness, the constant lethargy can really zap you of energy. Exercise is a great way to boost your energy levels and sleep more soundly when do you finally get the chance! Make sure you are eating often and are properly fuelled before you workout.
Get a confidence-boost
Every new mum suffers from periods of low self-esteem after birth. Carrying the extra pounds and having a wardrobe full of clothes you can’t fit into can be very disheartening. Exercising will help you feel that you are taking the right steps to correct this and it will release all those lovely feel good endorphins that will give your confidence the lift that it needs.
Keep up with your baby
Keeping up with a baby might feel like a workout in itself on some days! If you have never been particularly fit, or if your fitness levels have plummeted, then you need to prioritise feeling fit, healthy and strong again. Your fitness no longer only affects you – it now affects your entire family. Life as a mum is busy work and the fitter you feel, the more you will be able to give back to your children. Use this as an incentive to start exercising.
Have you found exercise has helped you since becoming a parent? Or is it something that doesn’t really feature in your life at the moment?
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