8 Of The Best Postnatal Exercises to Do Right Now: Get Back on Your Feet Quickly and Easily

It is amazing to think that your body is capable of creating a whole human. It makes no difference whether you’re a first-time mom, second-time mom, or fourth-time mom, your post-natal body will feel significantly different than how it did before.

In those early weeks and months after giving birth, you may wonder how soon you can resume exercise and what kind of physical activity you should do.

You should follow fitness recommendations based on the type of delivery, how you felt during pregnancy, and any delivery complications, but your overall wellness is the most important factor.

Whatever your fitness level was before having a baby, postnatal exercise can be exhausting. If you’re bombarded with too much contradictory info, you may feel that staying out of it is the best choice. 

The most effective way to maintain an exercise program following childbirth is gradually introducing any form of exercise. Also, try to keep a realistic view of what you are capable of.

While there is no perfect postnatal exercise plan, there are a few guidelines you can follow to stay in shape. Below is some advice.

How soon can I start exercising after giving birth?

Your first workout after delivery should be a walk around the block. You can do it as soon as you feel ready. It’s more important to listen to your body than to worry about any set timeline.

And if you had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery (meaning you didn’t have an episiotomy or other surgical procedure during birth), you can probably return to your normal workout routine about six weeks after giving birth, provided everything is healing properly. If you had a C-section or other major procedure, check with your doctor before starting any exercise routine.

What kind of postnatal exercises should I do?

You can do almost anything you were doing before. The only thing that gets tricky is lifting anything heavy—and even then, you can still do upper-body moves like push-ups.

For the first few weeks after giving birth, it is recommended to take it easy with abdominal exercises. It takes about six to eight weeks for your core muscles to feel strong again after childbirth, so go ahead and skip crunches and planks for now.  Once you’re cleared by your doctor, you can start to work on core strength again.

You can also get a head start on your post-baby body by doing the following exercises in the weeks leading up to your due date. Start with just a few minutes at a time, and build up from there. 

Once you’re ready to start moving, these are the recommended exercises for new moms:

#1 Pelvic floor exercises or Kegels

During pregnancy, you probably received instructions from your doctor about Kegel or pelvic floor muscle exercises. If you continue these exercises after delivery, the pelvic floor muscles will be strengthened.

The pelvic floor muscles (those used to stop urination) need to be tightened. Keep holding for 10 seconds. Keep doing this all day long.

#2 Swimming

This low-impact exercise is great for new moms because it helps you ease back into exercise without putting stress on your joints and pelvic floor muscles. This is a great way to get your body moving and blood flowing. 

The buoyancy of the water allows your body to move about freely without the fear of falling or tripping. It also provides an excellent resistance workout for the upper body and arms. The water also supports your joints—elbows, wrists, ankles—so you won’t feel any pain in those areas.

Try swimming laps or doing water aerobics until you feel ready to move into more intense workouts. 

If you don’t have easy access to a pool, try a resistance band while standing in the bathtub or shower. Loop one end around the edge of the pool so it stays in place as you swim, then pull it toward your body as though you were doing a rowing exercise; repeat for 10 to 20 repetitions. This works your upper body without the risk of falling on your face.

#3 Yoga or Pilates

These gentle workouts are ideal when you’re first starting to move again because they don’t require a lot of strength or coordination. They also help you connect with your body in a positive way after it has been through healthy pregnancy and childbirth.

It gives women back their power after giving birth and allows them to connect with their bodies in new ways. Gentle, restorative styles of yoga that focus on the breath and postures that don’t require holding your body weight are recommended.

#4 Strength training

You can start doing gentle exercises such as simple arm and leg lifts. This will help strengthen your body, especially your back and abdominal muscles, which are important in recovering from childbirth.

#5 Walking

It’s a great way to start getting your blood flowing again. Walking for about 20 minutes a day (outside if it’s nice out) is advisable until you feel ready to move into a more intense workout.

#6 Elliptical machine exercise

This low-impact cardiovascular fitness machine will get your heart rate up while working your lower body and core tummy muscles. It can also be easier on the knees than running on the pavement if you’re still dealing with some swelling.

#7 Cross-training

You can use any type of exercise you want—as long as it feels good and doesn’t hurt, you should do it. Most women are nervous about weight training after having a baby, but it can be an excellent way to boost your energy level and strength. 

Go at a very low weight and just focus on form. You can work up to more weight when you feel ready.

#8 Running

It’s a great way to get your heart rate up and boost your energy. Running will make you feel great, but it’s important to start slowly and build up gradually so you don’t get injured. 

Start with walking for about 10 minutes, then do a 30-second run for every 30 seconds of walking. As you get stronger, increase the time of the runs and decrease the time of the walking.

What we learned

The benefits of exercising after giving birth include strengthening your core muscles, boosting your mood, reducing stress, and preventing back pain. You get to spend time focusing on yourself, which isn’t always possible while being a mother. Embrace your beauty. Nurture your body so you can nourish your children.

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