It’s no surprise that women’s fitness is a favourite topic with mums to be and new mothers. Not only do you want to be a fit parent but also, like many women, you may find pregnancy and birth bring changes to your body you’d like to reverse!
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 good basic fitness advice to help you get fit or return to your pre-pregnancy shape.
And if bladder control is a problem for you when you exert yourself, like it is for many new mums, check out our special bladder control exercises.
Read on to learn about women’s fitness and how you can get your body looking good and feeling healthy.
Start with the fitness basics
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 weight loss goals.
A simple fitness routine for mums with bubs
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 great tummy, thigh and bottom workout 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 and weight loss 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 healing and therefore prone to injury from exercise. Play it safe, take fitness and weight loss slowly, and you’ll find getting your body healthy is good for your mind too!
Don’t put up with a weakened bladder
Can pregnancy and childbirth affect your bladder control? They sure can. The added weight and pressure of your baby can weaken the pelvic floor muscles supporting your bladder. Other aspects of pregnancy and childbirth can also cause the following problems:
- Changed position of bladder and urethra
- Damage from a vaginal delivery
- Episiotomy (the cut in the muscles that makes it easier for baby to come out)
- Damage to bladder control nerves during delivery
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. They’re easy to do once you know how to do them. In this section you’ll also find some excellent health tips for improving your bladder control. Lastly, don’t let temporary incontinence put you off exercising. You can manage bladder leakage while you’re doing your pelvic floor exercises or any other kind of women’s fitness exercise program by using Poise pantyliners. They’re popular with new mums as they’re just as discreet as regular ‘girlie’ pantylines but about three times more absorbent.
Taking good care of yourself can help with parenting
As well as enhancing your sense of wellbeing, there are practical reasons for mothers to get outside and work on their fitness. For instance, getting out of the house and going for a walk can calm a bored and cranky baby or send an over-tired bub to sleep. Being fit makes it much easier to get through the days when you are sleep-deprived. The healthier you are, the less likely you are to be laid low by colds, flu and other ailments that can make it harder to take care of baby and/or children. 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 means you’ll have the energy to play with them and even teach them your favourite sports. They’ll love having a ‘fun 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, strap that baby into a front pack or tuck her into a stroller and get yourself out there for nice walk in the fresh air. Build up slowly – there’s no rush – and enjoy yourself!
For more information see Parenting .