After delivering a baby, many moms are excited to start whittling off the baby weight. However, they may delay starting an exercise program due to questions about when they should start and which exercises are safe. The easiest way to answer these questions is to listen to your body.
Many times moms feel up to exercise within a few days of delivery. Other times; especially in the case of a C-section, a mom can be out of commission for quite a while. If you did have a C- section I would recommend only light walking and daily activities until you have been cleared by your doctor. If you did not deliver this way, you may resume activity much faster. I would start out with low impact aerobic exercises such as walking or the elliptical trainer. Once you are able to do this comfortably for at least 30 min, you can start experimenting with other activities you like.
For weight training, the upper body should not be too much of an issue. I would be a little more cautious with the lower body though. I would start with body weight exercises such as squats and walking toe touches. I would then add shallow lunges and increase the depth gradually based on comfort levels. Once these are comfortable, I would move to weight bearing movements and machines. Keep in mind that due to the pregnancy your joints are more loose and relaxed. Pay very close attention to form and avoid jarring activities.
Stomach exercises should be added in with caution. Although I would expect a small amount of discomfort at times, I would not want to see any sharp or lasting pains. I personally started doing crunches 10 days post delivery but only to the point of a light burn. You can start with light abdominal exercises such as pelvic tilts and crunches. As the exercises become easier over time, add intensity and duration.
If you exercised during your pregnancy you will probably be able to resume normal exercise much faster. However, if you did not exercise while pregnant or are new to exercise, you must start and progress slowly. Taking your time will help you build quality muscle strength and lasting weight loss. Going too fast can cause burn out, injury, and overtraining. Most important of all – enjoy the experience and make it fun!