After a few months of newborn snuggles, taking care of your new baby, and spending a lot of time at home — you may have the urge to get back to the gym.
However, getting back to the gym postpartum may seem daunting in several ways. First, you may have questions about when you can even start going to the gym again. Second, you may be worried about going to the gym and working out with your new postpartum body — what if you hurt yourself or start leaking pee?
We want to ease your mind about going back to the gym postpartum — here’s all the information you need to know about a safe, easy transition back to the gym.
When Can You Begin Working Out Postpartum?
Returning to the gym after having a baby isn’t instant. Instead, it’s a series of events that helps you and your postpartum body adjust to small movements before you hop back into your workout routine from before or during your pregnancy.
Follow this general guide to slowly help you prepare for getting back to the gym postpartum. Remember that every woman’s body is different, so these are just general timeframes. What works for you may not work for another mom — and that’s okay!
After delivery, you shouldn’t be doing any exercise at all. Instead, focus on getting sleep, connecting with your baby, eating nourishing foods, breastfeeding, and wearing supportive clothing, or a belly band, to support your muscles. Supporting your muscles is especially important if you have diastasis recti.
After the first few weeks postpartum, focus on incorporating small, intentional movements into your routine for the next month or so. During this time, focus on deep belly breathing, walking with your baby, and any small ways to incorporate basic mobility into your day.
You should have your postpartum follow-up appointment with your medical provider during this timeframe. We recommend scheduling a Discovery Session with our team at Moment of Truth Physical Therapy. During your evaluation, you should know if your body needs more rest and small movements or if you can incorporate exercise into your routine.
Once you’ve been cleared to begin working out postpartum, start slowly and gradually increase your movement. It’s wise to start with basic core exercises, mobility exercises (for tailbone & back pain), and basic cardio like the elliptical and walking on the treadmill.
As you get more comfortable, you can incorporate planks, bicycles, jogging, and more into your routine. If you feel comfortable and aren’t leaking pee, you can incorporate squats, shoulder presses, and stair climbing into your workout routine.
Which Phoenix & Peoria Gyms Have Good Childcare Programs?
One of the most significant barriers to getting back to the gym for moms is finding someone to watch their baby (or other children) since many gyms won’t take babies under one year old.
If you are in Phoenix or Peoria, Arizona — Mountainside Fitness accepts children under one for up to two hours of free childcare. Life Time Fitness also has an excellent childcare program. Not only will you get a great workout in, but you can enjoy some “me” time while trusting your baby is in good hands too!
Postpartum Exercise Red Flags
Even if you follow the workout plan listed above, you may have some health complications if you go too hard, too fast. If you notice any of the following when you are working out, stop the movement causing the pain immediately and schedule an appointment with your provider.
- Lower back pain
- New or increased vaginal heaviness or pressure
- New or increased bleeding during or after the activity
- New symptoms, like urine leakage, gas, or unusual bowel movements.
- Difficulty recovering after a workout
Remember, you’re burning about 500 calories a day just by making breastmilk. You may need to take it slower if you’re having trouble recovering after a workout. Exercise is vital for your health, but deep breathing, mindful stretching, and walking may be what you need while you recover. Listen to your body and go from there.
How Can Moment of Truth Physical Therapy Help?
Often, during your six-week postpartum appointment with your provider, you may be cleared to exercise but still deal with issues like leaking urine and inflammation. We encourage you to also schedule an appointment with our team at Moment of Truth Physical Therapy.
During your appointment, we check for diastasis recti and how well you can engage your core and then give you an action plan that includes manual therapy and exercises to help you get back to the things you want to be doing, like working out.
We also offer physical therapy, massage therapy, and yoga for pregnant and postpartum women. If you’d like to get started with Moment of Truth Physical Therapy in Peoria, Arizona, schedule your free discovery session today.