Typically, it is said that you can resume exercise after sign off from your doctor between 6-8 weeks. However, every birth is different and it’s important to listen to your body rather than assuming that you’re ready simply because you have reached 2 months postpartum. It’s worth noting that getting back to exercise at this stage should not mean high impact exercise (such as HIIT, weights, boxing, spinning or running etc) and generally overexerting yourself in an effort to get back to your pre-baby weight and figure.
Instead, it is crucial to help your body regain its fundamental strength and stability, which means focusing on core and pelvic floor power and building overall strength. Not only will this help with realigning postural changes caused through pregnancy, breastfeeding and carrying your newborn but it also helps with muscle memory to pull the abdominals back, reducing the post pregnancy tummy bulge. Which let’s face it, can be one key area of concern after giving birth.
However, there are some simple but brilliant exercises available to kick start postnatal fitness. Below are four postnatal-safe exercises which will help reconnect and re-educate muscle memory to strengthen and tone preparing your body for those slightly more intense workouts:
These small but effective exercises are great for activating the deep core muscles along with the pelvic floor. Pelvic tilt exercises are brilliant for pre or postpartum (particularly the latter) as they help to re-educate and strengthen those important deep stabilising muscles which will help stabilise the pelvis, creating better posture and alignment, which in turn will also help with lower back pain and any other postural ailments.
This is a great exercise to mobilise the shoulder joints whilst challenging your neutral spine and rib cage control (closure). By maintaining a connected pelvic floor and core whilst you perform this exercise you will challenge your deep abdominal connection and allow your arms to move independently. This helps with mobilisation of the shoulder and elbow joint and increases strength around the shoulder girdle.
One of my favourite exercises to mobilise the spine whilst working the deep abdominals, glutes, and thighs. When performed correctly, this exercise is one for regular use to tone and strengthen in more places than one! It can be performed during pregnancy and postpartum with adaptations if required (smaller movement and less elevation) although this exercise is for everyone.
Kneeling Leg Lifts
Although they may look harmless, leg lifts challenge core connection whilst strengthening the glutes and legs. During pregnancy, the posterior chain (back of the body) weakens as the body adapts to allow for the growing baby, so these are great at keeping the bottom toned and help to stabilise the pelvis. Postpartum and for many women and men (!), it is essential to build strength in this area as we often overcompensate using the quad muscles instead of activating the glutes.