Consistent exercise is the key to helping new moms maintain both physical AND emotional health. Why? In those first weeks after birth, fatigue is common (if not constant), even if you’re able to achieve hours of sleep. Pregnancy takes a toll on your body and mind, and bouncing back to your normal self without exercise is not likely.
The physical benefits of exercise are obvious and proven. But what about the mental & emotional benefits?
Numerous studies prove exercise stimulates your levels of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine– brain chemicals that play an important role in regulating your mood. Boost your morale and feel great by working out to release endorphins, as well. Endorphins consist of a large group of peptides. They are produced by the central nervous system and the pituitary gland. Since endorphins act on the opiate receptors in our brains, they reduce pain and boost pleasure, resulting in a feeling of well-being. Endorphins are a chemical messenger that help relieve pain and stress, and result in better sleep.
How do you realize these benefits while taking care of a little one?
Generally speaking, it’s safe to begin exercising a few days after giving birth barring a difficult delivery or c-section, but many new moms are hesitant to visit the busy gym chains, and time/childcare is also a huge factor during that first year. You can get back in shape with or without a trainer or the gym:
- Walking is one of the easiest ways to drop pounds after giving birth– no equipment required. Whether you stroll or speed-walk, your body and mind will benefit.
- A weighted jump rope will help you burn several calories per minute and can be used almost anywhere. Watch TV, listen to music, take it to the balcony or driveway.
- Fitness experts consider the squat one of the top exercises to help almost anyone burn fat, lose weight, increase flexibility, and gain strength. As a versatile exercise that will give you a full body workout regardless of ability, skills or fitness level, proper squat form is important. An exercise board is a small investment to help you achieve your goals quickly.
- Cycling is a healthy non-weight bearing exercise and can even be done safely with your newborn. Mountain bike, road bike, or stationary bike, the calories will fall off and your lower body and core will benefit.
Whatever your desired fitness level, get moving today and start feeling healthy as early as tomorrow. Remember, if you had a C-section or a complicated birth, talk to your health care provider before starting an exercise program.