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Postnatal exercise for mums

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Real mum's tip


I found that walking at a brisk pace combined with breastfeeding worked wonders, and I got rid of my extra baby weight and my mum tum pretty quickly.

Bukola Olofinjana, mum to Kemi and Segun

Now that baby’s born, rather than staying cooped up indoors, get yourselves lots of fresh air – and get back in shape while you’re at it. Here’s some inspiration…

Get outside

It’s understandable that time-pressured families jump in the car or onto the bus instead of walking everywhere. Now you’re a mum, you may find that looking after your baby tends to keep you housebound, too. But the effect of sunlight on our mood is well known, with researchers finding links between levels of sunlight and amounts of the “feel-good hormone” serotonin the body produces*. So it’s worth trying to have an hour outside every day.

Gentle exercise for new mums

If you haven’t done any exercise for a while, build up gradually. Also, if you’re a new mum, you’ll have to wait until after your six-week check before you get really active. Your joints will still be vulnerable to injury because of the effects of relaxin, the hormone that helps your body become a bit more stretchy in preparation for birth. The effects can last for five months, or longer if you’re breastfeeding.

On the plus side, you’ve just gone through the toughest workout of your life, you will have better circulation and heart and lung function, and your leg muscles will have strengthened to carry the extra weight of your baby. Now, exercise will speed your postnatal recovery and help increase your energy levels.

Find out more about when new mums can start exercising and ideas for what to do.

Walk your way to happiness

What’s the best way to enjoy that lovely, invigorating fresh air and get some exercise too? The easiest is to walk further and faster than usual. The Royal

College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists reports that new mums who exercise can experience a lift in mood, reduced anxiety and more energy as well as all the physical advantages  – worth remembering if you’re finding it hard to get motivated. Just head for the park rather than the high street – that’ll be better for your bank balance too!

Why walking is so good for you

  • Aids digestion
  • Improves your blood pressure and heart rate
  • Strengthens your immune system
  • Makes you take proper deep breaths.

Change 4 Life has great ideas on getting walking – and starting lots of other activities too.

Try swimming

Many pools have mother and baby swimming sessions – the water supports you making swimming the perfect low-impact weightless exercise, and your baby learns to be confident in the water. It may not be warm enough for a session in an outdoor pool yet, but there’s nothing like heading into a sunny afternoon after a refreshing splash about in a pool.

Join a gym

If being active again really fires you up, you might even want to join a gym. Not sure how you’ll get on? Why not exchange your Clubcard vouchers for a trial membership.


*Source: The Lancet