So, ever since I started talking about #babysprout, lots of people have hit me on the side asking if I have any idea what my post-delivery fitness plan is going to look like.
I mean, first and foremost, the answer will be sleep! Even more…sleeping on my belly! I’m a stomach sleeper, and sleeping on my back is like asking me to have my BLT with actual B on it. It just ain’t my type of hype!
But, I think a lot about what I’ll dive into first after I give birth, just because being so sedentary right now – doctor’s orders – has me itching to put feet to pavement. I’m currently forbidden from most of my most loved yoga poses, so I’m fantasizing about how it’s gonna feel like I’m a brand new yogi once I finally unravel my mat with no restrictions. I think about all my strength training that I’ll have to do to get back to where I was, let alone to continue to pace onward successfully.
Basically, the lazy that this pregnancy is forcing me into is creating an itch that I couldn’t scratch with the longest nails in history… and I’m sure I’m not alone. That’s why, in partnership with Kohl’s, I want to do what I can to help women comfortably, sensibly, and safely #MakeYourMove to fitness, because some of us can’t wait to get off the couch, out of the bed, and off to the gym! (Some of us are lucky enough to be able to stay active right up until delivery – if your doctor says you can, go for it!)
There are three important tips that I believe in firmly when it comes to post-partum (that’s the period of time starting from directly after delivery all the way to about just under two months post-delivery) fitness, and I’ll be clinging closely to them as we prepare to bring #babysprout into the world!
1) Rest – namely, sleep – is a cornerstone of fitness, especially for a new (or new again!) parent. Never, ever underestimate the value of sleep. We seriously don’t talk about it enough, probably because talking about it would force us to think more critically about how we ignore our need for sleep. Sleep is where healing happens, because it is where your body engages in the least physical movement, interacts with the least stress, and manages the least problem solving. It’s just you, and your pillows…and your infant.
A comfy boppy for baby, and a cozy microfiber pillow for your back and neck to melt into with no straining sounds like the perfect way to catch some Zzzzs for the both of you!
2) Take it very slowly. Things will feel different, and they should. Your muscles have shifted (namely your abdominal muscles, whether you’ve ever had a “six pack” or not); you might’ve experienced a bit of atrophy, which is basically losing a little muscle mass; and you might’ve – depending on what you were involved in – even lost a little muscle memory, which is your ability to remember how to naturally execute certain movements without much thought… sort of like it becomes second nature to you. If fitness can be understood in the context of strength, agility, flexibility, power, speed, and more, it’s easy to see how pregnancy and giving birth would interfere with your ability to maintain those. Go slowly, make sure you stay hydrated, and pay very close attention to your body when you move. If something hurts, interrogate why. If something feels unfamiliar, ask someone (ask me!) If something feels irregular, ask questions. Pregnancy can change your body permanently, or it can merely set you back a bit in terms of development. (Luckily for you, it’s generally pretty easy to get back everything except the muscle — you’ll have to fight for that one.)
3) Traction matters. The mat you’re using matters. Your shoes matter. Your shoes matter more now than they ever did. If you’re running, get the best running shoe you can. If you’re pulling off HIIT moves, either get phenomenal training shoes or the best sticky mat there ever was. One of the things that many women report post-partum is that there’s a sense of lost balance, dizziness, and even reports of muscle groups “giving out” as a part of re-acclimating to certain moves. Not only that, but a good shoe or mat is one of the safest ways to One of the best ways to catch yourself if you lose your balance or a muscle group ‘gives out’ on you, is for a shoe with good traction to keep you from slipping or a good mat with proper sticky grip to keep you from sliding. Good running shoes, like my faves, the Gel-Nimbus from Asics or a good training mat like this high-density mat from PRO-FORM will help you work on keeping from sliding or falling in a super-safe way.
Staying safe, taking it slow, and getting adequate rest so your body can heal – well, I mean, as much rest as can be expected with a newborn infant! – are all going to be key components of getting back into active living. Most importantly, don’t rush yourself! Giving birth is an overwhelming and amazing experience, and if you’re not ready to dive back in, don’t! Relax, get acclimated to having the new member of the family, and when you’re ready, fitness will be waiting for you with open arms, and so will I!
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This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Kohl’s.