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Disclaimer:. Always check with your healthcare provider before returning to activity after childbirth. See my full disclaimer here.
Are you ready to get your body and energy back, but really don’t have time for working out? Or do you, like me, just hate the idea of it? :) As you know, exercising immediately after birth isn’t possible, and if you are superwoman and somehow it is, it isn’t recommended because your body needs time to heal. Once you're past the first few weeks, however, exercise is an essential part of nourishing your body, creating strength, slimming down and speeding healing. It's especially important if you have a diastasis that needs healing.
WHAT'S THE POINT?
The goal of working out postpartum is to heal and support the body that will be taking you through the years of raising your babes. Chief among these aims is to strengthen your core and support proper alignment, which will allow your body to function optimally. The exercises below range in difficulty, and you'll want to really know yourself and what your body needs most. Try these progressively-- it's never a good idea to have a baby and jump right back into the hardest workout you know of. Always check with your doctor before starting any postnatal fitness program; you'll need to wait at least six weeks after having a Cesarean section.
1. ONLINE YOGA
There are a ton of online yoga options, but I use and love yogadownload.com (I'm not an affiliate with them, I just really do love what they offer.) If you’re a yogi, getting to yoga classes can be hard to manage with a newborn. If you’re not, postpartum is a great time to start a yoga routine, as yoga is one of the most effective and enjoyable ways to ease into exercise after birth. With yogadownload.com, you can download specifically postnatal yoga routines, as well information on healing diastasis. As you get more comfortable and continue your healing journey, you can increase your difficulty level with the hundreds of yoga downloads for all skill levels. Downloading the videos is amazing, because you can keep them forever. One thing: Watch this video before you start yoga to know which exercises to avoid while healing your diastasis.
2. Pilates Online
The focus of pilates is the core, which is an excellent place to start strength training once your doctor clears you. And again, while pilates classes might be an excellent respite for you, if getting out of the house feels overwhelming there are some great online options. To start you off, check out Pilatesanytime.com or this (and other) free workouts on youtube.
I love Fit4Mom because not only is it a great workout and gets you outdoors (which can be a feat in and of itself), but also it offers great connection with other moms. Not feeling the price tag? You can use meetup.com to find or create a group of moms and kids to participate in your favorite heart-pumping activity. Another option: use Facebook to create an event and test out interest with your friends, then continue if it works out well.
4. Mommy and Me classes
Another way to get out of the house, enjoy time with other moms, and get some endorphins flowing, Mommy and Me Yoga or Fitness is a great option. Check out ohbabyfitness.com or do a quick google search to find classes near you.
5. Ten Minute Trainer
Best thing about ten minute trainer is… ten minutes. Which is approximately all the time I have to work out while raising two small people. The workouts are no joke, but if you’re looking for results and just don’t have time, this is your answer. It also helps the non-work-outers among us, because in that moment when you feel like you’re dying, it’s over. And hello, after labor we can do anything for ten minutes. (Ten Minute Trainer is not for the immediate postpartum. Talk to your doctor or midwife about when it’s safe for you to do intense workouts.)
I dislike generic “working out” as much as I love to dance, so if you can convince me that I’m dancing but I’m actually working out, I’m in. The thing about CIZE is, it's a killer workout that feels like (and is) dance. If I’m going to break a serious sweat, I want to walk away with a skill to show for it. And with my background in theater, being able to quickly pick up dance moves is considered a skill. If you’re like me and don’t want to do aerobic exercise that’s just that, CIZE is worth a look. (CIZE is also not for the immediate postpartum. Talk to your doctor or midwife about when it’s safe for you to do intense workouts.)
With the six workouts above, transitioning from the immediate post-birth body into the body that will carry you through that baby's graduation can be a life-giving, reasonably enjoyable experience. Even if you don't love to work out, it's worth giving some of these a try for the mood-boosting endorphin flow. Don't be too hard on yourself if you have to start small because baby needs you ten minutes into your workout or it's just too much. Take it at your own pace, and keep trying. It'll get easier and you might even find that you love it!