Motherhood is draining, specially in those early months of caring for your infant. But embarking on a healthy diet and exercise regime will not only give you the stamina to get through those seemingly endless days, it should help improve your overall mood as well.
But before you start any exercise regimen, ask your physician or other healthcare provider. If you exercised regularly before giving birth, and feel well enough, you might be able to start six weeks postpartum or earlier. Once you’ve got the thumbs up from your doctor, here are some easy ways to incorporate exercise into your new life with your baby—and shed those extra pregnancy pounds that may be weighing you down as well.
If your doctor says “YES” …….
1. Get on foot: You can start building your daily activity level by walking. With your baby in the stroller, start off slowly with a 30-minute walk a day and work up from there. Consider squeezing in some extra exercise by strapping your baby in a front carrier to accompany you on simple errands. A dog is another great motivator to get outside with your baby every day for a walk.
2. Exercise with other moms: Fitness programs geared to moms and their babies are getting more and more popular.
3. Workout at home: If you’re not ready to venture outdoors for some exercise just yet (or the weather is just too lousy), incorporate daily activity at home. It can be running up the stairs, dancing around the living room with your baby or finding an exercise DVD to use while your infant is sleeping or occupied. Squatting with your knees bent and back straight to pick up objects around the house is also a good way to strengthen your thigh muscles and prevent from damaging your back.
4. Watch your nutrition: Make sure your diet is low in fat and high in vegetables, fruits, lean meats and whole grains. This is essential in fueling you towards a healthy fitness level post-baby. If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll need extra calories and liquids to keep producing milk and stay hydrated. Talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider to get advice on a recommended calorie intake that will help you get back to your pre-baby weight.
5. Keep colds away: No one feels like exercising when they’re wheezy and congested. Wash your hands frequently to help keep colds and other viruses away from you and your baby. Also, get as much rest as possible. If you are congested, a natural sea water solution administered through the nose to clear the nasal passages may provide some relief.
Don’t push too hard: Have realistic expectations about weight loss and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get your pre-baby body back in record time. Many women are anxious to get their bodies back post-partum, but it’s more important to nurture the baby and that’s where they should spend their energy. “It took 40 weeks to get into the shape you are in and you need to give yourself at least 40 weeks to get back to where you were—or better.”
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