09 December 2019
| THE HEARTBEAT OF WOMEN'S SPORT

How tough is exercise for new mothers?

December 28, 2014
new-mums

For many any new mothers, especially those with busy work lifestyles, it is very difficult to find the time to exercise regularly. Do they simply not have enough time, or does fatigue and tiredness play a factor too? For ‘stay at home mums’ who cannot afford a babysitter for their one year old, what alternatives do they have other than exercising at home?new-mums

It’s easy for some personal trainers and fitness enthusiasts to say there is always time to get into shape if the desire to exercise is there, but there’s more to it than willpower alone, especially for new mothers.

Harriet: “Before I had my baby, I was in great shape. I used to attend yoga classes three to four times a week and played tennis on the weekends. However, since the recent birth of my son, I can’t even seem to find the time to put my yoga pants on. I’ve been meaning to get back into a regular exercise routine but my baby and my work are my top priorities. I understand that exercising is very important to my overall health but the only options I seem to have are buying a treadmill at home or taking the baby for a walk.”

Women who used to be fitness lovers before giving birth need to be realistic about how much exercise they can now do. It’s easy to feel down and give up when they can’t exercise as much as they used to, but small amounts of exercise are invariably better than none. While it’s difficult for new mums to integrate sufficient amounts of exercise into their weekly timetable, there is always a solution. It just requires a bit of extra planning, commitment and dedication. Rather than waiting for ten or fifteen free minutes to show up in the day, exercise times need to be carefully scheduled.

Once the ten, 15 or 20-minute time slots have been scheduled in, here are some of the exercises that can be integrated into a new mother’s timetable:

Walking: people often underestimate the health benefits of walking, but it is one of the easiest methods to get back into exercise after giving birth. Putting the baby in a front pack will add further weight and help burn more calories during the walk.

Kegel exercises: This pelvic strengthening exercise helps support the bladder, uterus and rectum. Kegel exercises have been known to help lower the risk of incontinence, a condition linked to childbirth.

Seated abdominal contractions: Women should gently exercise their lower tummy muscles after childbirth. Here’s how to do it: sit in an upright position and clench the abs while inhaling for a few seconds and relax them during exhaling. This may also help to lose the post-pregnancy belly.

Pelvic tilts: This exercise gently works the lower back and stomach muscles. It has been known to ease back pain and can be done sitting or lying down.

As well as performing gentle exercises, it’s important to eat a healthy diet too. The winter months can be a bleak time of year for those watching their weight, let alone new mothers. Not only can chilly weather interrupt a weekly exercise regime, but also it can make people indulge in hot desserts and junk food. For those who mainly exercise outdoors, it’s easy to ditch that morning walk in the cold weather. However, it’s important to stay focused, even when winter kicks in.

If you have a serious medication condition, are overweight or have not exercised properly for several years, it’s very important to seek medical advice from a healthcare professional before making a new exercise plan. If you find it hard to find the time to visit your doctor in person, online clinics are just a click away, where you can complete a free online consultation with a registered doctor.

Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

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