This post was provided by Kiddies Kingdom.
The pressure of becoming a parent can be quite daunting and having a brand-new little bundle of joy in your life can very quickly take up almost all of your time, energy and love. It’s completely understandable that exercising, amongst other things, will always take a backseat as you begin to experience the life of parenthood, but you may be surprised to hear there are a fantastic range of benefits to gentle exercise as a new parent. Children’s retailer, Kiddies Kingdom outline the many positive outcomes of exercising with a newborn.
Research suggests that some of the lowest rates of physical activity demographically can be found in women with young children, and whilst it’s entirely understandable that the exhaustion of everyday life can take over as a new parent, it’s key to avoid these habits continuing past the point of recovery to ensure a healthy lifestyle. Whilst this may seem worrying at first glance, it’s also been brought to light that not all new mums are ever truly informed of the critical importance of exercising after giving birth, which could explain the low rates of exercise in this demographic. Rest is, of course, a hugely important part of the recovery process, and whilst the pressure to “bounce back” should be shunned, gentle exercise can have a fantastic array of health and healing benefits, and new mums should be educated on this.
Lynsey Love, Maternal Mental Health Awareness fighter and campaigner says: “During pregnancy, your body will have undergone many changes, and it’s important to keep this in the forefront of your mind when focussing on the recovery of your body. Giving exercise the correct time and focus can benefit new mums immensely.”
So, what are the benefits of exercising as a new parent?
On a physical level, beginning to exercise after the trauma of birth can have a range of benefits. Gentle exercise, such as walking, can help to begin to restore muscle strength and firming of the body postpartum, as well as improving cardiovascular fitness overall. It’s extremely important to condition abdominal muscles where possible, to bring back all important core strength. Perhaps contrastingly to the connotations attached with exercising, undertaking physical activity can also have the ability to make you less tired, thanks to its energy raising properties.
Aroosha Nekonam, personal trainer at worldwide gym provider Ultimate Performance added: “Providing you consult your doctor or midwife before starting any exercise after giving birth, it can really assist with building strength and confidence back. Weight training, in particular, can help restore muscle strength, promote weight loss and improve heart and bone health.
As well as the more obvious physical benefits of exercising, physical activity substantially increases feel-good hormones such as serotonin, dopamine and a range of endorphins. By supporting strong levels of these particular hormones, new mums are more likely to be happy and healthy, both mentally and physically, with some research even suggesting an improvement of mood and even a reduction in the risk of postnatal depression. Not only this, but these same feel-good hormones also have the ability to encourage and enhance the all-important bond between new mums and their babies.
Aroosha continues, “When it comes to getting started, try easing yourself in, two to three days a week of 30 minutes would be adequate and then gradually build. If you were already very active before and during pregnancy, you may be able to do more sooner – again always consult your GP beforehand.”
Some light exercises to get you started
- Try to walk whenever you can instead of using the car. Not only is walking great cardio but the combination of walking and pushing a stroller is a great way to rebuild your strength.
- A little further down the line, when your baby is at the developmental stage of sitting up, try a few sets of squat and curls. This particular activity can be performed whilst attending to your baby, simply do this by holding your baby outright, squat down as far as is comfortable and as you return, curl your baby towards you.
- Working on your core is key postpartum and the plank is one effective exercise to try. Take the time to place your baby safely and comfortably in front of you whilst you plank, to also encourage bonding time.
Not only does exercising benefit the parent in many ways, it also has the ability to act as a good example to children, as parents look to encourage their little ones to be more active. By incorporating regular exercise into your weekly routine, the entire family will benefit from a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle, which in the long run is something you’ll certainly be thankful for.