5 ways to get active – post-pregnancy

20 April 2017 by
First published: 5 July 2016

Here’s 5 ways to get active – post-pregnancy. As I gave birth to my son just over a year ago and was shocked at how little information was available for women looking to stay active, postpartum. With a host of myths and outdated statements littering the internet, I wanted to set the record straight by offering up some helpful tips on how to be a fit mum…


Understand relaxing

Firstly, it’s important to understand the role of the hormone relaxin. Produced around the second week of pregnancy, the role of relaxin is to soften the ligaments around the pelvis, preparing the body for labour. However, the effects of relaxin cannot be isolated to one area, meaning the stability of all joints throughout the body will be compromised. This doesn’t mean you can’t workout, but it’s important to stay within a comfortable range of motion with all exercises – in particular when stretching and weightlifting.


Work those pelvic floor exercises

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) recommends that: ‘if pregnancy and delivery are uncomplicated, a mild exercise programme consisting of walking and pelvic floor exercises may begin immediately.’ So, to work your pelvic floor muscles, start in a seated or lying position and inhale a deep breath through your nose, expanding across the rib cage, keeping your shoulders down. As you release the air through your mouth imagine drawing your coccyx and pubic bone together and lifting up inside (it’s a similar sensation to stopping the flow of urine mid-stream). This exercise should be practiced in short, sharp bursts, but can be improved by extending the time of each hold. Finally, it’s important that you implement this technique in other exercises – such as squatting, pulling, pushing and lifting.


Mix things up!

Working-out postpartum comes with numerous challenges, not least of all, finding the time. In those first few months of motherhood getting to the gym can seem near impossible, however there are countless options when working out at home or outdoors. I regularly turn everyday objects into weights and leavers. Dumbbells can be replaced by cooking pots, tin cans or my washing basket filled with heavy objects, and a chair is a great piece for tricep dips, decline press ups and step ups. I also strongly advise mixing up the type of workouts you do. A combination of HIIT training, yoga, jogging, weight lifting, core work and stretching all have their benefits, and by mixing it up you are far less likely to get bored of your routine. Plus, by training in this way you will be continually challenge your body, preventing the likelihood of a plateau.


Workout with baby 

Planning a workout session when baby is asleep might work sometimes, but inevitably you’re going to face moments when your little one just won’t nap. So why not include them in your workouts? Once my son was old enough to independently hold up his head, I began (carefully) including him in my exercises. His bodyweight became my dumbbell and as he grew my strength improved. We found a great balance between play and productive workouts, which lead to so many fun moments. Of course there are times when your little one won’t want to play, and there’s nothing wrong with stopping and trying again later or the next day! Stay focused and know that you will get back to it when the moment is right.


Enjoy the process. 

I often have people ask me how I manage to maintain a fitness programme alongside motherhood, and it’s simple, I enjoy it! A healthy lifestyle is about so much more than just dropping a dress size. As a mother, I find exercise became a great way for me to reconnect with myself and spend a few minutes focusing on my own health and goals. Of course as a parent your child is your priority, but it’s important for mothers to feel healthy and happy too. After all, happy mum equals happy baby!


For more tips on how to stay healthy as a mum, and for creative mum and baby workout ideas follow me on Twitter or Instagram and be sure to check out my website stronglikemum.com for further updates!