It’s no surprise that women’s fitness is a favourite topic with mums to be and new mothers. You’re likely to not only want to be a fit parent but also, like many women, you may find pregnancy and birth bring changes to your body you’d prefer not to know about.
Yet lower energy levels, extra weight and fewer opportunities to exercise can all mean women’s fitness flies out the window before and after childbirth. Huggies has put together some sound basic fitness advice to support your fitness and post birth recovery.
And if bladder control is a problem for you, like so many new mothers, check out our special bladder control exercises.
Read on to learn about women’s fitness and how you can get your body feeling stronger and more healthy.
The good news about women’s fitness is that it doesn’t have to be hard, time-consuming or cost money. Basic women’s fitness is something you can build into your everyday routine and do with a baby or children around.
We asked Monica Rich, midwife, lactation consultant and personal trainer, to explain some of the key physical and mental benefits of women’s fitness and to put together basic fitness and exercise guidelines. Read Monica’s words of wisdom and be inspired to start a women’s fitness and exercise program that suits you and your goals.
Looking for a simple exercise program designed specifically for new mums? Then check out this mum’s fitness routine designed by Monica Rich. It’s a walk in the park – literally – that includes a a great workout for tummy, thigh and bottom that targets the areas many new mums worry about. The main prop is your pram with baby in it, proving it’s possible to combine women’s fitness with caring for babies. Remember, if you’re starting to exercise after childbirth, first get the all clear from your doctor or health care professional. No matter how active you were pre-birth, your body may still be recovering and therefore prone to injury from exercise. Play it safe, take fitness slowly, and you’ll find getting your body healthy is good for your mind too!
Can pregnancy and childbirth affect your bladder control? They sure can. The added weight and pressure of your baby and changes in the types and concentration of hormones can weaken the pelvic floor muscles supporting the bladder. Other aspects of pregnancy and childbirth can also cause the following problems:
Although the problem may disappear a few weeks after delivery, bladder control exercises should be a part of women’s fitness programs during pregnancy and after birth. With support and guidance, they’re easy for most women to do. In this section you’ll also find some excellent health tips for improving bladder control. Lastly, don’t let temporary incontinence put you off exercising. Bladder leakage when doing pelvic floor exercises and any bladder leakage can be managed by using Poise liners. They’re popular with new mums as they’re just as discreet as regular liners but about three times more absorbent.
As well as enhancing your sense of wellbeing, there are practical reasons for mothers in trying to get outside and work on their fitness. For instance, getting out of the house and going for a walk can often calm a bored and cranky baby. Being fit could make it much easier to get through the days when you are sleep-deprived. The healthier you are, the more effectively your immune function will be. You’re likely to be less susceptible to colds, flus and other illnesses. While having the strength and coordination to pick up junior in one arm and a load of shopping in the other, while clutching your overloaded handbag under your chin, then sprint to the car before the parking inspector gets there, is a big benefit for multi-tasking mums.
Down the track when your little one has grown into an active child and there are perhaps more children in your family, being fit could help to boost your energy to play with them and even teach them your favourite sports. They’ll love having a mum who joins in their activities and can possibly out-run them or even show them a thing or two on the playing fields or at the swimming pool.
So once you’ve got the all clear from your doctor or healthcare professional, strap your baby into a front pack or tuck them into a stroller and get yourself out there for a nice walk in the fresh air. Build up slowly – there’s no rush – and enjoy yourself!
For more information see Parenting .