life of
dr. mom

Postpartum Exercise

Getting active for the first few months post-delivery was hard. It was difficult to find the time between breastfeeding, pumping, keeping the house organized, and taking care of our new precious babe. Prior to having Madi, I went to the gym 4 times per week doing free weights and cardio. After having Madi, the thought of going to the gym was not only daunting but not feasible with all the new time that was spent looking after Madi.

I wanted to stay active and knew I needed to get out of the house to do some form of physical activity. I have counselled numerous women postpartum on the benefits of regular exercise/walking. Research studies from the NIH have shown that “Postpartum physical activity can improve mood, maintain cardiorespiratory fitness, improve weight control, promote weight loss, and reduce depression and anxiety.”

But here I was 2 months postpartum not listening to my own advice. I kept making excuses for myself — I’m too tired, I have to do some laundry, it’s too cold outside. I knew I had to make myself a goal. I wanted to walk 4-5 times a week for at least 30 minutes per walk. After a few weeks, I started finding extra time that for walking that was there all along:

  1. When a friend came to visit, instead of sitting for a cup of tea, we would go for a walk with Madi in the stroller.
  2. When my husband came home early from work and the weather was nice we could catch up on our days going for a family walk.
  3. When I was feeling lonely and bored, instead of turning on the TV, Madi and I went for a walk.

Regular walking early postpartum helped me not only feel physically better, (I started dropping a few pounds) it made me feel happier. Madi is now 21 months and I am able to get back to my pre-pregnancy exercise routine, but for the first 12 months, walking was my favourite (and the most feasible) form of exercise and my daily emotional/energy booster.

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