Easing Into Fitness After Baby
Having a baby is a wonderful thing, so why does it always feel like it’s a race to get your “pre-baby body” back? The reality is: it’s not. Social media can often make us feel otherwise, so this post is a friendly reminder that we should embrace our beautiful new Mom Bods and ease back into a regular exercise routine (after we’ve been given the green light from our doctor and pelvic floor physiotherapist, of course).
Put a hold on burpees and marathons for a moment. Instead, let’s focus on some poses inspired by yoga that you can do at home, even during the very early stages after having a baby. Not only are these poses safe, they allow you to include your cuddly and cute newborn as well!
I am not a hardcore "yogi" by any means, but what I do know is that these poses will most definitely help to get your blood flowing for all the right reasons. Although they may seem “easy” in comparison to some of the moves you were doing pre-babe, they are incredible for strengthening the core, legs, and glutes. Plus, your baby gets in on the action too!
The Bridge Pose
This is a beautiful pose that not only benefits your lower body and core, but also opens up your spine (the middle and upper back), your chest and shoulders. What’s more, bridge pose has a way of calming the brain and easing anxiety. Begin by lying with your back on the floor, with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip distance apart. You can place your babe on your hips and thighs facing you and hold your baby around his or her hips. When you exhale, press into your feet and lift your hips off the floor, keeping your thighs parallel. Hold for a few breaths before releasing your hips back down onto the floor. As you come down for rest and back up for another round, your child is sure to enjoy the ride!
As simple as this pose looks, the benefits are endless. You are improving balance, strengthening your legs, glutes, arms and core. Not to mention, you are engaging and strengthening your pelvic floor. Amen to that! Begin with your feet close together on the mat, ankles slightly apart. With your feet flat, stand tall and draw your shoulders down and back. Once you feel grounded and stable, shift your weight to your left leg, raising your leg until your foot meets the inside of your right calf. To get the baby involved, simply just carry him or her while you balance and put those arms to work! The tree pose is also a great way to ground yourself and prepare yourself for the hectic day that may lie ahead with a newborn.
This pose can really turn the heat up in your arms, legs and butt. Your core will also get some love here too! Start by stepping your left leg back. Lay your torso on your right thigh and then lift your arms forward and upwards reaching through your fingers until your arms rest against your ears. Hold for 30 seconds and if you want to include your baby, hold him or her in front of you at your heart. Steal some kisses too!
Baby Kiss Push Up
Speaking of kisses…this is one of my faves because you not only get to work your arms, core and chest, but you also get a few kisses from your babe! Women who have severe diastasis or wrist issues should not attempt this move unless they have received clearance from their doctor.
Start in a modified push up position (knees on the ground, back flat, palms touching the floor with arms straight). Make sure your babe is lying on the mat in front of you, in between where your arms are placed. Slowly bend your elbows and lower your chest until you can kiss your little babe. Then slowly return to the starting position. You'll feel some healthy tension in the muscles in your back, your abdominal area and your upper arms. Be sure to keep your back nice and straight throughout the movement.
Contraindications include severe diastasis and wrist issues.
The yoga poses mentioned are all safe to do early postpartum but of course always listen to your body. If you experience any pain or discomfort, stop immediately. Remember, it’s important to allow for proper healing and recovery before jumping right back into your regular fitness regimen. That’s why these poses are a great way to ease into movement without harm. Plus, your mental health is just as much a priority at this time and these poses will help you reconnect and ground yourself.
Lastly, but most importantly, always remind yourself that you are beautiful and that you just gave birth to the new love of your life…and that in itself was probably a workout that no boot camp class could ever compare to!