The entire Rashti Women’s Care team are excited to announce our partnership with this week’s guest blogger, Natasha Freutel, owner of Fit Mama Santa Barbara. Natasha has 10 years of experience in the health and wellness industry. As a personal trainer she will help you look and feel great inside and out so you feel happy, strong and confident to take on each day. Her knowledge of the human body and various conditions makes her an ideal fit for women struggling with exercise.
Congratulations! You just went for your 6 to 8 week check up, and were cleared by your doctor to start exercising again! For some people this may be great news, for others starting to exercise may be a far away plan.
Physical activity is great for new moms on many levels. It can help combat postpartum depression, improve energy levels and help you cope with the stressors of being a new mom. Exercise also aids in weight loss so you can get back to feeling like yourself again and avoid problems related to obesity and excess weight gain later in life.
Postpartum exercise can be fun and rewarding if you keep these 5 tips in mind:
1. Start Slow and Listen to Your BodyReturn to exercise postpartum should be a slow and gradual process. Always start with walking and core activation exercises. Once you have done this for a few weeks, start to incorporate some strengthening activities. Too much, too fast can be harmful to your joints and ligaments after baby.
If you are new to exercise or are having pain and discomfort, seek help before starting an exercise routine. Women’s bodies can change after baby and it is important to be mindful of any limitations and not jump right back into an intense pre-baby workout regime.
2. Workout With Your Child With Babywearing ExercisesIf you are finding it challenging to put your baby down, try doing a babywearing workout while wearing your baby in a supportive carrier. Exercises appropriate for babywearing include bodyweight activities such as squats, lunges and wall sits. Use of a resistance band is best for strengthening exercises as you should never lift a weight over your head while babywearing.
Avoid any high impact activities such as jumping or jogging while babywearing and always follow manufacturers direction to ensure your baby is safe in the carrier. Babywearing exercise is best for infants over 6 months old, but younger babies can participate in passive low impact exercise as long as they have good head control. Find a babywearing workout class led by a knowledgeable professional or check out an online program you can do easily at home!
3. Diastasis Recti can Limit What Exercises are Best for You
Diastasis Recti is when your abdominals separate during or after pregnancy. Some women experience a large gap along their midline that not only affects the appearance of the abdominals but can also cause long-term problems such as incontinence, pelvic floor dysfunction, and low back pain. Seek out a healthcare or fitness professional who is skilled in working with women with diastasis recti as they can evaluate and recommend a treatment plan.
You can heal Diastasis Recti with core exercises that target the transverse abdominis and deep core muscles. Certain exercises such a crunches, V-sits and front planks can make it worse and lead to the ‘mommy pooch’ appearance months or years after baby.
4. Find accountabilityFinding an accountability partner, program or fitness app that you love is your first step in reaching your goals. Join a Mommy group in town for a weekly walk or have a gym buddy who won’t let you bail because you are behind on your laundry. Exercise classes are ideal for those who like to be social and meet other people in the area. Being part of a community is important for new moms and will help increase your confidence and keep your accountable to your fitness goals.
5. Seek Professional HelpHiring a personal trainer after baby may be the best decision you ever make. Postpartum can lead to poor body image, injuries and fatigue, which may affect overall self-esteem and wellbeing. Everybody needs a cheerleader and a certified personal trainer who can address specific goals and keep you accountable may be for you.
If getting out of the house is challenging hire a professional to come to you so you can workout at home and save the stress of packing baby up to get out of the house. If you prefer to escape for an hour, meet your trainer at the beach or head to the gym for some stress relief instead.
Working privately with a professional will help you reach your goals faster and keep your accountable to your workouts and proper nutrition. They can also address any lingering injuries, pain or problems and ensure you aren’t going to injure yourself attempting exercise on your own.
There are many different forms of exercise after baby, and you too can reap the benefits. If full workouts seem impossible, start with just 5 minutes a day and work your way back up to doing more. Something is better than nothing! You got this mama!
Natasha FreutelOwner of Fit Mama Santa Barbara
Natasha is a licensed Occupational Therapist and Personal Trainer and has been working with clients of all ages and fitness levels for the past 10 years. She lives with her husband and baby in beautiful Santa Barbara, California.
Her background in Kinesiology and Rehabilitation has provided her with the most rewarding career she could imagine, and she loves helping others reach their health and fitness goals.
Her personal fitness philosophy emphasizes the importance of working towards goals that are important to you so that you can experience the highest quality of life possible. Whether you achieve this by going to the gym, eating healthy, playing with your kids or doing activities with friends, movement is the key to lifelong wellness. Find her on Instagram @fitmamasb or check out her blog for her latest post about fitness, nutritional and overall wellness.