How to kickstart your postnatal fitness recovery – safely

After having a baby, fitness and physical activity might be the furthest thing from your mind.

Which is understandable now that you have a tiny human to look after, and an enormous amount of physical and mental recovery to do after giving birth.

But when you do feel ready to start thinking about fitness again – and it is so important to make sure that you are ready – it can be daunting to know where to start.

But there are a few key areas that you should be focusing on when you decide to put your kit back on for the first time. Jemimah Williams-Rumble, an instructor at FLEX Chelsea has pulled together her key tips for kickstarting postnatal recovery.

The principles are all taken from the studio’s new Hot Mama classes, which are designed to get new mothers back to feeling their best.

So, if you are feeling mentally ready to start working out again – at home or in the gym – Jemimah’s four tips are a really good place to start:

Core is more than just abs

Focus on the connection between your breath, pelvic floor and core.

We often think of your core as just your abs, but it is so much more than that, with your pelvic floor forming the base of this group of muscles.

To really feel this connection use this deep breathing exercise:

Focus on upper spine mobility

Make mobility in your thoracic (upper) spine a priority – you’ve been carrying the bump around for months, which naturally will pull your chest a little tighter and stop you from being able to rotate much in the upper spine.

Try to spend a little time each day adding in some thoracic mobility to ease any aches and pains between the shoulders and chest.

A really amazing thoracic mobility exercise to try is this:

 Don’t run before you can walk

If you’re eager to get back to running post-pregnancy, take it slow!

Try to incorporate some strength training, with single-leg movements such as lunges and single-leg deadlifts to build leg and core strength.

Incorporating movements like this into your training will help you develop the strength needed to get into running again, and also avoid any issues in the hips and unnecessary injury that could have you out for a lot longer.  

Most importantly, be kind to yourself

You’ve just grown a person, and now you have to take care of them.

If you’re navigating motherhood for the first time, finding time to workout can be really difficult, but everyone is in the same boat.

Don’t compare yourself to other mums you know, or to the mums you see in the media – everyone has their own journey and timeline, so why would post-natal fitness be any different?

So, if you can’t quite finish that workout because baby is being needy, don’t worry – that part of the workout you did will benefit you more than not starting it.

Enjoy this time, and maybe get a quick stretch in at nap time.

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