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Workout Like a Mother

Here's how to get over that hump of getting back into physical activity after having a baby! Read on to learn how I've been showing my body love through movement since little Sammi came along.

Start Small

When I first starting getting active again, right around the six weeks postpartum mark, I started with very low intensity, quick exercises to re-engage my core and pelvic floor. I looked up videos on Diastasis Recti and Pelvic Floor recovery to get ideas, and just did them while lying next to Sammi while she had tummy time on the floor.

Over time, I built up to taking long walks and going to intense vinyasa flow yoga classes. But that didn't happen right away! You have to give your body time to get used to movement again, and achieve some small, short term goals to build your confidence back up.

I have loved the Sweat app postpartum fitness track as part of my postpartum fitness journey because it starts you off small and builds you back in very gradually, almost too gradually. This was the way that I eventually found myself tackling bigger fitness challenges again.

Outfit via Dia & Co. active.  Click  to join!

Outfit via Dia & Co. active. Click to join!

Be Consistent

It's hard to be consistent at anything when you have a newborn. But if you really set the intention to carve out time for movement a few times a week, you CAN do it! Sometimes I would just hand my husband the baby when he walked in the door and get it done. Or do it after the baby had gone to bed, or during nap time. 

Sometimes I fell short of my goals or fell out of consistency. But I always drew myself back into the routine once I'd fallen off. The key is to keep setting goals, keep doing your best to achieve them, and--even when you fail!--keep trying to do better next time!

Practice Makes Progress

Perfection? Nope, not ever. Progress? All the damn time!

Instead of trying to do the perfect workout in the perfect way at the perfect time in the perfect outfit to get perfect results, just do the best you can. Some days, I get to the gym and the only thing I can bring myself to do is watch HGTV on the elliptical. That's not as good as a strength workout and some interval training, but it's better than nothing.

The single most important skill you are learning as a mom is how to deal with imperfection. Just because one feeding, or diaper change, or bath time, or sleep training session goes poorly, do you abandon your baby and never attempt to care for her again? Of course not!

Outfit via Dia & Co. active.  Click  to join!

Outfit via Dia & Co. active. Click to join!

So why is this our tendency when it comes to our bodies? Give yourself some of the love, and grace, and nurturing that you're giving your baby. Just like your baby, you're learning lots of new things, having new experiences, and leaving the comfort of what it meant to be a woman before your baby came along. You're doing the best you can, and that's the most anyone can (or should!) ask for!

In my own postpartum fitness journey, I've loved having boxes styled and sent to me from Dia & Co's new active collection. Getting cute, comfy, functional, and stylish new fitness gear THAT FITS MY POSTPARTUM BODY WELL has been essential in helping me establish healthy habits for myself as a new mom.

Click here to check it out and sign up for yourself!

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Exercise Tips for New Moms

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Exercise Tips for New Moms

Being the mother of a newborn is physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. Once you get past the first six weeks and are cleared to exercise by your doctor, you may start getting the itch to begin showing your body love through movement again. Here are some ways that I've been integrating gentle, loving movement into my routine as a new mom, in honor of National Women's Health Week.

Tummy Time is for Mommies Too!

There's so much emphasis on baby's physical development as an infant. One of the things moms are urged to do is have their baby spend time on her tummy each day, to encourage physical development of the neck, back, and shoulder muscles. 

But tummy time isn't just for babies! It's recommended that you join your little one on the floor during tummy time anyhow. So why not make this mommy's tummy time as well? Do a few gentle ab exercises, like these which encourage the healing of diastasis recti, or just stretch and get a feel for being in your body again. I love to use a foam roller or rubber ball to roll out any muscle aches during tummy time.

As long as you're not so engrossed in your exercise that you're not keeping an eye on your little one, it's fine for mommy's to take advantage of tummy time for their own self-care as well!

4 weeks postpartum, when I first began doing gentle exercises to heal my diastasis recti.

4 weeks postpartum, when I first began doing gentle exercises to heal my diastasis recti.

Stroller Strides

One of the first (and only, for awhile) ways that I began showing my body love through movement after birth was getting out for a stroller walk with the baby each day. It was around the six week mark that I could do this without aggravating my pelvic area (I had an episiotomy at birth, and it took about six full weeks for those stitches to heal). 

I began with 10 minute walks, and gradually built up to being able to walk for an hour or more. I discovered that my baby is a great sleeper in the car seat. So by strapping her in there for 45 minutes - 1.5 hours, I am ensuring she gets a really quality nap, as well as giving myself an opportunity for a little exercise.

Bring your diaper bag, a bottle with some expressed breast milk or formula, and plenty of water for yourself so that you're prepared for any issues that might arise while you're out of the house!

At six weeks postpartum, I began getting out to show my body love through stroller walks.

At six weeks postpartum, I began getting out to show my body love through stroller walks.

Ditch "Date Night" for Fitness Dates

As parents of a newborn, you and your partner may not be getting many opportunities for date night! When you do decide to leave the baby with a trusted care giver for a little one-on-one time, why not opt for a fitness date?

My husband and I are usually so tired in the evening, we don't find that the traditional dinner date is the best experience. Plus, it's expensive and not super comfortable when you get dressed up, go sit in a restaurant, and pay for a meal. We've found we get better quality time when we go for a hike, go paddle boarding, or take a fitness class together.

You don't have to be constrained by the traditional definition of "date night" when making time with your significant other. If what you'd really like to do when you get a sitter is take the opportunity to get moving with your S.O., do that instead!

Self Care is More than Just Physical

National Women's Health Week is a great reminder to show your body love through movement. But it's not just about exercise!

It's important to also go for a well-woman visit (checkup) and preventive screenings, eat healthy, pay attention to your mental health--including getting enough sleep and managing stress--as well as to avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, texting while driving, and not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet.

 

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