Postpartum exercise: five tips to stay motivated October 17 2015, 1 Comment
Just before I gave birth, I was so very excited to get back to riding fast on my bike, being able to do yoga while laying on my back AND my belly, and being able to practice Bikram without worrying about whether it was too hot.
Fast forward a couple months and many sleepless nights, add boobs heavy with milk and a new sense of responsibility for my sweet little one, and I was losing motivation. I knew that my husband would be fine with our little one and that our little one would be fine without nursing for a couple of hours, yet I still had a hard time leaving.
However, I learned very quickly that you have to take care of yourself first, in order to take care of others. With that in mind, now is the perfect time to show yourself some love. Once you’re feeling good and your doctor has cleared you, here are five postpartum exercise tips to help you get (and stay) motivated:
1. Grab a buddy
Have you ever noticed that time flies when you’re working out with a buddy versus working out on your own? Studies have shown that exercising with a friend motivates you in more ways than one. Think accountability- group ride at 9am on Saturday? You’re there. Plans to ride on your own sometime that week? Well, that may or may not happen. Plus, once friends start getting into shape and losing weight, others are motivated to do the same. Can’t find a friend? Groups like Hike it Baby are great for meeting other fitness-minded moms.
2. Set a goal
Whether you decide to run a 5K, join a mommy-baby workout class like mamalates, go to the gym, or even just walk with baby, be sure to set a goal, write it down, and tell your friends. In addition to giving you a reason to get moving, it’ll also give you an accomplishment to be proud of.
3. Schedule it
Coming from someone who pretty much despised schedules before baby came, schedules became my key to sanity with a newborn. Commit to the days and times that you’ll exercise and stick to them. If you signup for mamalates on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9am, it’s much easier to show up, even if you’ve had a sleepless night.
4. Track your progress
Proud that you ran 50 miles this month? Right on! But how would you know unless you’re tracking it? Apps like Nike+ Running track distance, pace, and time, while also sharing workouts with friends. If running’s not your thing, MyFitnessPal tracks meals and exercise, while connecting you with friends on the same path. (They say those who connect with friends lose twice the weight.) When you write it down and succeed, you can celebrate your success.
5. Reward yourself
Have you been dreaming of a spa day, a massage, or a new pair of yoga pants? Or maybe just a movie night at home- sans kiddos. At the same time you’re goal setting, decide what your reward will be. Pick something that you wouldn’t normally do for yourself. It has to be special so when you meet your goal you can really celebrate!
And just a quick PS- I'm putting together a few ideas for upcoming blogs like: safe core exercises postpartum, c-section recovery exercises, postpartum exercises with baby, how do I know if I have a diastasis recti, and more. What would you like to see on the blog? Post on Facebook to let us know!
Wendy Foster is the creator of mamalates and the master trainer for all mamalates licensing programs. An internationally certified Pilates instructor, pre/post fitness specialist, and birth recovery expert, Wendy has been teaching Pilates since 1999 and practicing yoga for nearly two decades. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit mamalates.com.