I really wanted a baby but I was scared of losing my self-care routines once he arrived. One of the things that I do to take care of myself is work out; I love the way it improves my self-confidence, the tone of my body and my health.
I loved carrying around my little boy and I felt really beautiful throughout my pregnancy. I gained a healthy amount of weight but was looking forward to my body being all mine. (Ha! I am breastfeeding so it’s not quite mine yet!).
The Waiting Game!
Before I started working out postpartum I felt bloated, sluggish and not my usual energetic self.
The first 2 weeks after giving birth I had to take it easy. After about two weeks, walking became my main form of movement. After six weeks, I got the green light to work out again. YES! I could finally SWEAT. Heaven. But it was soooooo hard to leave my sweet boy at home while I worked out (even though he was in good hands with his loving papa!)
While it was hard for me to leave my baby, I kept thinking about these four amazing benefits from exercising postpartum. I want to share them with YOU so you can be motivated and inspired to get moving!
Benefit 1: Feeling Amazing!
When I first started working out postpartum, I was insecure about my little belly (showing a new body in public!) and afraid of leaving the house after such a huge transition.
But once I started working out, the sluggish, bloated and lethargic feelings had vanished. They were replaced with feelings of empowerment, strength and a nice energy boost.
Contrary to what you might think, working out actually gives you more energy. I welcomed this in the early postpartum months when my sleep was disrupted several times a night doing 30-45 minute feedings (and just about dying!).
Exercise also releases endorphins which make you feel oh so good! I missed this, especially in February and March (the worst of the winter blahs) during my six week postpartum period.
Benefit 2: Daily Detoxification
When I was finally able to work out, I was able to sweat which made me feel amazing! And finally I could move my body without a parka on.
The skin releases waste products and toxins via sweat – a form of detoxification. Once these wastes are released they lighten the load on the body and make you feel better. The sweating also gives your skin that nice glow!
Benefit 3: Immense Immunity
When you move your body you help circulate your lymph (a fluid). Lymph circulation essentially translates to improved immunity!
The lymphatic system parallels the cardiovascular system except it has no pump (the cardiovascular system has the heart). In order for the lymph to circulate, it needs us to move and jump (i.e. exercise). The lymph’s job is to pick up bacteria, toxins and waste products throughout the body. This mixture gets filtered through our lymph nodes and any threat to our immunity is destroyed. Awesome!
Benefit 4: Losing the Extra Baby Weight
Working out gives you nice muscle tone that can boost your metabolism, however, exercise is really only 20% of the weight loss equation.
It is recommended that you only lose about 1 pound per week postpartum until you reach your healthy weight. This is especially true if you are breastfeeding as you don’t want a sudden drop in milk production.
While this is definitely a valid reason to workout, nutrition plays an 80% role in weight loss. I am not one for counting calories in my food or at the gym. I advocate for being in tune with your body’s nutritional and physical needs and not pushing too much during this sensitive time (i.e. to the point of starvation or exhaustion).
If you are eating real food (no processed crap) then your body will get back to a healthy weight effortlessly.
I am now 6 months postpartum and I make sure to get to the gym most days of the week. I’m not advocating for just exercising but this is what works for me. It is my ‘me time’. While I struggle with mommy guilt while away, I know that taking care of my health makes me a better mom so I do it for my son’s benefit too 🙂
How about YOU?
Do you love working out? If you are a new mom how are you integrating time at the gym/moving your body with mommy duties? Are you paralyzed by mommy guilt or do you make time for yourself? I would love to know in the comments below.
SHARE this article with any moms struggling to get to the gym, motivation is always helpful!
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To a powerful postpartum period,
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