Life after baby & a lifetime to give to yourself!
Being a mom, possibly working and trying to keep everything together can take a toll on your self-esteem, health and well being. When you’re juggling your day to day routine, remember to take a little time out for yourself: including an exercise prescription, a nutritional check and an overall well being pause in the day. Remember to love yourself by taking care of yourself!
Exercise should be an important part of your health and even a minimal amount per day can have the following effects:
- Boosts your self-esteem and offsets postpartum depression. This occurs because when you exercise the body releases happy hormones called endorphins.
- Helps you manage a healthy weight
- Helps you physically take care of your little love bug.
Exercise can be started, provided that you are cleared by your health care provider, within two to six weeks postpartum. This time line is dependent on pre-pregnancy health and weight, exercise performed during your pregnancy, a high vs. low risk pregnancy, type of delivery and any complications throughout your delivery or pregnancy. Typically, a low risk pregnancy with a vaginal delivery could actively start exercising (slowly!) about two weeks post delivery.
Remember these aspects when beginning your exercise regimen:
Frequency: Start with a realistic goal. Start with two bouts of exercise a week. Then once this frequency is manageable, add one more day, but do not go from two days a week to six as you run the risk of injury!
Intensity: Give yourself a bit of a break! Remember that you just had your baby so start off slowly and go easy on your intensity. Start with an intensity that is somewhat hard but not exhausting throughout. The best way to determine how hard you’re working is through a Talk Test. If you can’t speak or hold a conversation while exercising then you’re going too hard.
Type: The type of exercise is the magic ingredient. You have to ask yourself some questions including:
- What type of exercises do I like?
- Do I prefer exercising with people or by myself?
- Do I need to be told what exercise to do or am I self-motivated?
- Are finances an issue?
The answers to these questions will lead you to things like an aerobic class, swimming or running.
Time: Be realistic! Start with 10-15 minutes of exercise and increase your time by 10% every week. However, if you increase your frequency for the week, then you can not increase your time and intensity as well. This is done to slowly integrate your body into that routine which can not be done too aggressively.
Tips to exercising post-pregnancy
- Go slow and be realistic with your goals
- You should only increase one parameter each week, including time, frequency and intensity.
- Cross train with your baby. Put your baby in a carrier and go for a walk to add some resistance or hold your baby and do some squats or lunges
- Breast feeding women will have a more difficult time losing their “baby weight” as their body retains five to ten pounds for milk production
- Becoming healthy again should be a long term goal not a quick fix.
- Work within your target heart rate range. You can figure this out though the following equation: 220 minus your age. This will give you a number. Then take 60-70% of that number and make sure your heart rate is always within this range to ensure you’re getting the benefits of your exercise program.
Claire Moscone-Biafore CAT(c), Osteopath DO(MP); CWHL Medical Coordinator and Head Therapist of the league’s Brampton team; Fifth Degree Black Belt and Student Care Representative, Northern Karate School (central); In Home Therapy, Private Practice; Athletic Therapist (Sport C.A.R.E., Women’s College Hospital); and Ergonomic Consultant.