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Here are a few postpartum exercise tips to help you get back into a routine as a new mom.

Even if you’re an avid runner or spin class regular, fitting in physical activity as a new mom can be challenging. Your time is no longer entirely your own, and you’re probably experiencing a roller coaster of emotions as you adjust post-pregnancy. But, engaging in regular exercise as often as your schedule allows brings so many positive benefits. Lean on physical activity to help support healthy hormone levels, mental health, heart health, and bone health (which is especially important if you’re breastfeeding). Here are a few tips to help you hit the ground running as you work to stay active after your little one arrives.

Postpartum Exercise Tip 1: Start Small 

Depending on your delivery method, you may need a little extra time to recover and heal before you jump back into your usual fitness routine. Talk with your healthcare provider about when you can start working out after giving birth to help you set realistic goals. Start with simple activities, like a stroll with your new family or basic yoga poses, and gradually add moderate-intensity exercises after your doctor gives you the green light. Some gyms even offer postpartum exercise classes – these give new moms a safe way to reintroduce physical activity and an opportunity to connect with other new moms in the community that may share similar experiences and values.  

Postpartum Exercise Tip 2: Be Patient 

There are a lot of moving parts as you transition to motherhood – regulating your postpartum hormones, adjusting to your new sleep schedule, and figuring out how to balance caring for your baby and yourself. You may feel stuck in the midst of chaos, and exercise may be the last thing on your mind. But it won’t be like this forever. Each day, your routine will become a little more natural, and fitting in time for physical activity won’t seem so far-fetched.  

And remember, physical activity doesn’t have to be “all or nothing.” You can reap the benefits of physical activity even if you only have time to squeeze in a 10–15-minute home workout or brisk walk. If you’re yearning for a longer workout, talk with your partner or support system to see if they’re able to take over baby duties while you take some time for yourself.  

Postpartum Exercise Tip 3: Fuel for Fitness 

Nutrition gets a lot of attention during pregnancy, but nourishing your body is still just as important after you welcome your little one to the world. In fact, if you’re breastfeeding, you need about 500 more calories than women who are not pregnant or breastfeeding to support an adequate milk supply.  

Continue to focus on a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats to fuel your body, so you feel energized and ready to take on physical activity on top of your day-to-day tasks. And don’t forget about hydration. Keep your water bottle handy throughout the day as a gentle reminder to sip when you start to feel thirsty. Try fruit-infused water or zero-sugar sparkling water to keep your hydration routine fresh.  

Are friends or family asking you for gift ideas? Perhaps suggest a monthly subscription to a healthy snack box kit or meal kit that can help lift some of the shopping and meal prep burdens as you adjust to life as a new mom.  

Postpartum Exercise Tip 4: Keep Adjusting 

Your little one is growing rapidly – before you know it, they’ll be crawling, walking, talking, and developing their own little personality. These exciting milestones can make your fitness routine even more flexible, allowing you to strengthen your muscles and your bond with your little one at the same time.  

If you’re returning to work, talk about your schedule with your employer to figure out how you can continue to fit in physical activity. Some companies offer on-site gym facilities or wellness initiatives that include a discount to a local gym. Find out what fitness options are available to you to help prioritize your health postpartum. 

Postpartum exercise may not be at the top of your never-ending to-do list, but even 10-15 minutes of physical activity each day can help support your overall health and keep you feeling your best. Before you consider postpartum exercise, make sure you talk with your healthcare provider to ensure that you’re recovered and ready to engage in physical activity. And remember that mental health is just as important as physical health, so keep your doctor in the loop if you feel down for more than a couple weeks.   

Looking for more postpartum guidance? Check out this blog next: “Postpartum Advice: What They Don’t Tell You About the Fourth Trimester.” 

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