Postpartum Workouts: Harder Than You Think

After months of being physically limited by pregnancy, I was sure that I’d want to jump right back onto the fitness wagon. Boy, did I underestimate the physical toll of having and taking care of a new baby!

Even though I may be out of shape, I have a new respect and awe for my body. It is mind boggling to me that I made and birthed a little human. And then everything snapped back to where it is supposed to be (for the most part). 

I’m not terribly concerned about getting rid of a little pudge or losing the 12 or so pounds I’ve got to lose. Although I must admit that it would be nice to fit back into all of my pre-pregnancy jeans (not just my bigger ones), I have admittedly taken it easy on myself. I wanted time to recover. I wanted time to just stare at my little bundle of joy. I wanted time to sleep. So I haven’t felt at all guilty about taking time off from my regular workouts. And I haven’t been totally lazy as you can see from my postpartum progression:

Day 1.After the little one arrived, all of my bones were sore and it was hard to stand fully upright, never mind walk the mile through the hospital to the NICU. I took advantage of my husband and the hospital wheelchair and hitched a ride there that first day. (C-section mamas especially need to remember to take it easy when getting back in action—it’s major abdominal surgery we’re talking about, so follow doctor’s orders when it comes to rest and exercise!).

Day 2. Even 12 hours postpartum my achy body was loosening up. I started my first exercise regimen: The long walk to the NICU. It was slow going, and I had to tell my hubby to slow the freak down a time or two, but it felt like an accomplishment. And a workout!

Day 3. My husband, thinking nothing of it, made me take the stairs. I did with no problem, saying that I’d be back in my pre-pregnancy jeans in no time.

Day 5. Feeling better by the day, I started walking a bit…to the drugstore or the post office—10-minute round trips.

Weeks 2-5. I’d walk to run errands, but the majority of my exercise came from heading up to the second floor to change diapers a million times a day or hauling laundry up and down the stairs. Also, lugging strollers and a car seat around are definitely keeping my arms working.

Week 6. After my postpartum doctor’s visit, I fit in my first exercise walk, which served a dual purpose of calming a crying baby and working up a sweat. I was surprised at my sore pelvis the next day, but my doctor was correct that the ligaments are still recovering from holding the weight of pregnancy and the process of giving birth.

Week 7. I continue walking and strollering and start thinking a little more seriously about increasing the intensity. Sleep deprivation wins, and I think “What’s one more week?”

Week 8. I mowed our very small yard, and my lungs were burning. I think that means I need to get back into the swing of things.

I’m definitely feeling the workout itch. I’m ready to get sweaty. I’m ready to feel that soreness from a good workout. I’m ready to get out into this beautiful fall weather and get my workout on. I’ll let you know how it goes! —Erin

Photo Credit: peasap


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