Here’s a great routine to get you started towards your goal of being a fit and healthy parent. For those new mums who are starting to exercise after delivery of your baby it is essential that you get the all clear from your doctor or health care professional before commencing any physical activity or exercise program.
If you had a caesarean birth or any complications, your recovery may take longer. Be patient and don’t expect your tolerance to be the same as for other new mothers. Generally you can start exercising six to eight weeks after a caesarean section.
Don’t forget your pelvic floor either. It’s important to focus on the inner muscles first, before concentrating on a general fitness program. To keep these muscles working well, make pelvic floor exercises part of your routine for the rest of your life. You can start during pregnancy and continue after birth. Sit and lean slightly forward with a straight back. Squeeze and lift the muscles as if you are trying to stop a wee.
The number of exercises (or repetitions) that you can do will vary depending on your level of fitness and how long since your baby was born. Start slowly and aim to build up to a full routine like the one below after about a month or so. Work at your own pace and remember, it’s important to build up gradually and not go too hard or too fast. Take regular water breaks to stay hydrated and enjoy the outdoors with your baby.
After a caesarean birth, this work-out is not recommended, and it is also advised to avoid leg raises, front planks, running, jumping, step ups, heavy overhead presses, heavily weighted exercises and anything with direct downward pressure on the pelvic floor, such as a barbell back squat. Be sure to take the advice of your health care professional and gradually increase activity at a pace that suits you!
Ideally, walk to your exercise destination if it’s not too far, if not start out with 2-3 laps of your local oval or park. The pace will depend on your current level of fitness but it must be a little quicker than a casual stroll. You are aiming to get your heart rate up higher than normal. Finish the warm-up near a seat or bench; if there are none around a nice flat area of grass will do.
Squats (3×15 repetitions)
Push-Ups (3×10 repetitions)
Cat stretch (3×10 repetitions)
Sit-Ups (3×10 repetitions)
Walk a couple of laps of the oval to complete a 25-30 minute workout.
Finish with some stretches like calf stretch, hamstring (back of thigh) and quadriceps (front of thigh).