Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Running Postpartum: How to get back without hurting yourself

Every time I have a baby I feel like I start back at level 0 with running and exercise. Let me start by saying that I may not be the model of the typical "I just had a baby and can't lose the baby weight". For the most part my body bounces back pretty quickly with all 3 kids so far. So this is NOT about weight loss, this is more about getting my stride back and getting my routine back and regaining my running muscles back and restrengthening my core.

Lets be real here for a moment, women's bodies are amazing, they take 10 months (40 weeks) to grow and support another human life, your organs shift and take new places, your rib cage expands, your core muscles separate and you then give birth to this new life. So if you don't feel like you can go running 5 days postpartum, THAT IS OK!

Then once we have had the baby we are healing a wound inside us the size of a dinner plate. Yes I see you measuring that with your hands right now. Oh and we are then feeding this new little life with the milk we are producing. So our bodies are doing a lot!! Here are my tips on running postpartum.

Be easy on yourself!
Don't feel like you HAVE to get back to running, go back when you know you are ready. If you want to wait till your 6 week visit with your midwife or doctor to make sure you don't have diastasis recti, that might be wise. Any damage you do is harder to repair as opposed to just waiting for your body to recover. 

Enjoy the 'baby moon'
Your little squishy baby is only a newborn for a few weeks, you can't get that time back. The pavement will always be there, your running shoes aren't going to wither away. But your newborn baby will be little and need you for such a short time, enjoy it!! Cuddle, nurse, sleep and be a mom. Running can wait. 

Find your core...its in there somewhere
Strengthen your core muscles before you lace up your shoes. Your pelvic floor and core muscles have been through  A LOT! They need some help going back into place, some good tips on that can be found here

Do a plank everyday for just 1 minute a day to help regain your core. There are a TON of other exercises to do, but start out small. If the baby is napping you can plank for a minute, then do whatever you wanted to do. Sleep, eat, take a shower... ahh the simple things in life...

You know.. squat!
For those pelvic floor muscles, I love the quote from Ina May Gaskin “Squat 300 times a day, you’re going to give birth quickly.” 
So true!!! Granted you already gave birth by this point, what she is saying it build up those pelvic muscles and they will do their job. Post birth we can't see them like we can our flabby stomach or stretch marks on our thighs. But the are so very important!! You don't want to worry about running and realizing you can't control your bladder, or worse.

A great article I found on squats and how to do them propperly is here

Stop Doing Kegels: Real Pelvic Floor Advice For Women (and Men)

So, don't be intimidated by those moms who go running at 5 days postpartum, they are not you! You only have this baby once enjoy it. When you do go back to running take the baby in the stroller or leave them with dad, up to you! Just make sure your core and pelvic floor are tightened then hit that pavement with the confidence that you just gave birth to a baby so you can do anything!!!

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