I’ve written before about how exercise and working out are my “Stress relievers”, which makes post part 4-6 weeks of recovery TORTURE. I understand the importance of taking it easy and giving yourself time to heal (If you had a C-Section this is EVEN MORE important. I’ve been lucky to have natural births with no complications both times so my recovery was much less intense.) but it’s so hard for me when I need that stress relief. I figured today would be a good time to talk about what exercise I DO during the 4-6 week recovery period, what I don’t, and my mental struggles during this time. I’m sure you other mamas can relate.
Exercises I DO:
- Upper Body – lucky my arms didn’t have a baby SO I get to do some upper body work. I have been doing Peloton & Barre 10 min upper body workouts with 3 pounds weighs. Nothing super heavy (since that can strain your back/core which ARE recovering) but a lot of holds, small intense movements like pulses, and some core stabilization work.
- Lower Body – Traditional Barre moves like Pencil, Open Pencil, and Narrow V are SUPER intense in your quads, but actually protect your back from intense support (as long as you tuck) and engage your core minimally for stabilization. I’ve been doing 12 min of legs (4 min of each position with 8 moves in the series) to work my Quads/Calves/Glutes without stressing my back or increasing my heart rate too much. I am avoiding intense stabilization moves like lunges or squats for now.
- Core – This round I had Diastasis Recti so I’ve been doing stabilization and minimal engagement core moves to help repair the damage. Some of my favorites are: Heel Taps, Bird Dogs, Incline Plank, Side Plank Holds/Pulses, and Glute Bridges (gets you a little more glue action too).
- Cardio – Long walks. This is Texas. It’s hot & sweaty outside. Walking is a good way to get some sun, shed some water weight, and getting a bit of cardio/leg work. Try pushing a double stroller the whole time and find a path with elevation changes. It’s a great low intensity workout.
Exercises I avoid:
- Upper – Anything with Heavy weight that can put you off balance (since your center of gravity is readjusting) or stress your back (like standing Heavy curls, overhead press, or Back Flys).
- Lower – Cardio or Back intensive moves like Squats, Lunges/Jump Lunges, Anything with added weight, or Deadlifts.
- Core – crunches/Sit Ups – DO NOT DO CRUNCHES DURING YOUR RECOVERY PERIOD! Same with any Oblique twists/russian twists. This can exacerbate Diastasis Recti or even cause it during post part recovery. Wait until you’re fully cleared for activity before you start these moves.
- Cardio – Intense Cycling or Running. I’m waiting until my bleeding stops for these.
Right now I am SO TEMPTED to go take a barre class but Im worried about pushing myself too soon. I would also love to cycle or go for a jog but I don’t want to push myself too hard too fast and extend my recovery period. I’ve also been wearing a recovery girdle 1-2 hours a day to help my uterus shrink back down a bit faster, and breastfeeding to help lose weight/burn calories and shrink my Uterus. Breastfeeding and exercising is tough but it’s been so much easier this time with my Mama Sports Bra. It unclips for easy access, provides a ton of support, and is WAY more comfortable than my other nursing bras. I ended up buying a second one lOL.
Does anyone else struggle with taking 4 week off working out? It’s especially hard because I can see the loose skin/fat on my low belly/inner thighs and I want it gone asap. After you have a baby you expect your body to go back to how it was even though logically you know it takes time, I don’t want to wait 12 months for all my organs to get back in the right spot and lose the weight even though logically I know I have to. Patience is HARD during post part recovery. You’re not alone. It takes time.
For me, I also want to feel sexy for my husband. I’ve been pregnant and huge and feeling gross for 9 months. Now I can get back to confidence, and strength, and…yes…sexiness and I want to as quickly as possible. My husband is wonderful at reinforcing my self-esteem with compliments (even when I feel like a busted can of biscuits), but internally I want to get back to where I feel my best. But it’s all a journey, it takes time, and you can’t rush it. So if any other Mamas out there are feeling frustrated – It’s not just you. Take your time, be healthy, and it will come.
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