• Gabrielle Babineau

5 Benefits Of Being Active During Postpartum

A few weeks ago I shared some great benefits for prenatal exercise, this week I’m sharing 5 benefits of being active during your postpartum journey. But before I share these, let me just say… First off, if you’ve just had your baby, take a deep breath, and go with the flow. It’s so important during the first few weeks of postpartum to let yourself embrace this new responsibility, to appreciate your body’s journey, and let’s be honest… to survive! If it’s your first time around, chances are you may be overwhelmed by the new postpartum routine. Pads? Sitz baths? Leaking boobs? Whaaat? On top of that, adjusting to all day feedings, feeling exhausted and trying to remember to shower and eat. And who’s that knocking on the door? More visitors?.... Sure come on in… (Let’s hope they will help with chores around the house, and not want to hold the baby while you do chores!)

All to say, it’s going to be a few hectic weeks. I try to tell women to enjoy every possible moment, whether they are challenging, happy, sad, frustrating, joyful, etc. Let yourself be in the moment, and don’t lay strict expectations on yourself, your baby, or your partner. It’s important to remember that everyone is adjusting in their own way and to be respectful of emotions, whether it be yours, your partner, and the baby (we tend to forget they are humans like us!) Be patient, allow yourself to take deep breaths, and know that you will figure it out. There is no right or wrong, and there is definitely no text book. Do what feels right, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and stay true to yourself. You owe it to yourself, mentally and physically, to allow time to heal and time to feel.

It’s important to consult with your physician or an exercise specialist before engaging in any intense physical activity. Don’t forget your body has gone through so much during pregnancy and labour. Show it love, appreciation, care and remember to be patient with your body.

Now here are 5 wonderful reasons to get moving during the postpartum phase…

1- Bounce back!

Exercise post labour is fantastic to help rebuild and tone your muscles, especially the abdominal muscles which have been weakened by your growing bump for the past 10 months. However, before you race to start doing crunches or planks, please know that these are NOT appropriate in the early postpartum phase and can damage your muscles even more. Choose exercises that are gentle and work the inner core. Check out my blog on diastasis recti to learn more or contact me for more information!

2- I’ll take an order of energy please!

Exercise has been proven over and over to promote the release of endorphins and boost your energy. In the postpartum phase, you’ll need all the energy you can get! Your body is burning so much energy producing milk (if you are breastfeeding), warming milk (if you are bottle feeding), changing diapers, bouncing to stop the crying, etc. We encourage all postpartum women to get active as soon as possible. The key is to start slow and be gentle. The best exercise right after labour is walking; it’s gentle on your body, helps with circulation and activates your muscles. Bonus? You can bring your baby along with you in the stroller or the carrier. It’s great for bonding!

3- Prevent the blues!

Postpartum depression is a very real illness. Unfortunately for us women, we are all at risk of being affected. It’s important to know the signs and to be aware of your emotions. Take any opportunity you have to engage in conversations and share your story, emotions or concerns with someone whom you trust, whether it be positive emotions or negative. By allowing yourself to be in the present moment, to feel whatever emotion you are feeling and acknowledging yourself, you are being proactive. The good news is that exercise is proven to help prevent and manage postpartum depression. The endorphins (“happy hormones”) released during exercise can uplift your mood and reduce stress. If you find it challenging to get a full workout in, try to break up your exercise routine in small batches throughout the day. Folding laundry while doing squats? Resting on the couch while engaging your core? Simple but effective exercise go a long way :)

4. Where is my social life?

New moms can often times feel secluded and lonely. We get so caught up in the day-to-day routine that we forget our human need to be social with other adult humans! Hence why exercise is a great opportunity to organize social outings again. Call some other mom friends, join a group on Facebook or in your community, organize a walking club, etc. It will feel so good to smile, laugh, discuss and share stories, and the best part is you won’t even realize you’re exercising because you’ll be having so much fun! You can share advice, vent about your week and help motivate and uplift each other. We’re all in this together!!

5. Invest in your future!

We all know a healthy and balanced lifestyle plays a major, major role in our overall health and well being. Investing in your health is one of the best decisions you can make as an individual. As a new mother, your health is more important than ever because this little bundle of joy now depends on you to be present, aware, and loving. We are the greatest examples to our children. They look up to us, they imitate us, they follow us, and they love us truly for who we are. It is our responsibility to teach them how important our bodies are, to show them that by investing in our health, we invest in our future, we create positive energy, and find peace and balance. Include them in your active movements throughout the day and appreciate the moments you share together.

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