How To Safely Work Out After Having A Baby, According To Sam Wood
Once you’ve had a baby, getting back to your pre-pregnancy fitness might feel like a top priority. But you can’t just jump back into your old workout routine. Building your fitness back up after giving birth takes time and care.
Sam Wood, who has over 17 years experience as a personal trainer and who created the 28 by Sam Wood program and app (an at-home program that includes nutrition, workouts and mindfulness) has recently added some pre and postnatal elements to his program. And lucky for us, Sam (who you may also recognise from his successful stint on The Bachelor Australia) has given us the lowdown on how to exercise after childbirth. So if you're a new or expecting mum, it's time to take notes!
When is the best time to start working out after having a baby?
“You need to wait until your 6-8 week checkup before returning to exercise and of course should only get back into workouts once you’ve been given the all-clear from your doctor,” says Sam. “With that being said, this does not mean you must work out the day you are given the thumbs up. When and how you return to exercise should be entirely driven by you when you are ready. Caesareans or complications during pregnancy could very well mean you start back later and that’s ok. The one thing that you should start doing as soon as you are able to is your daily pelvic floor exercises as starting these as quickly and doing these as consistently as possible is really important.”
Do you have to ease yourself back into exercise slowly after having a baby?
“Absolutely. No matter how fit you were prior to getting pregnant or how active you were during pregnancy- you will not be able to go hell for leather when getting back into your workouts,” Sam explains. “This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get back to how fit you were pre baby, it’s just important to acknowledge the huge physical change that your body has been through during pregnancy and to take baby steps every week to get back to where you once were, pardon the pun.”
Are there certain types of exercises you should avoid when you’re first getting back into exercise after having a baby?
“Yes there are. Every pregnancy is different but we ensure with our 28 post-natal program to avoid any movements that are high-risk until you regain strength, stability and confidence in your body. Certain core exercises should be avoided, especially if you have abdominal separation so you should always check in with your GP who will be able to give you specific advice on what to avoid,” says Sam.
What parts of your body should you focus on working out after having a baby?
“Pelvic floor. This exercise is one that all women have no excuse not to do because you can do it anytime, anywhere! Try to get started on this the day after childbirth and do them every day- you will be so amazed at the difference this makes! Squeeze your pelvic muscles and hold for 5 seconds, five times every day. Work with your doctor or physio to make sure you’re strengthening your pelvic floor correctly,” Sam explains.
What would be an ideal postpartum exercise routine?
“There is no ideal routine as all pregnancies are different,” Sam says. “Once you have your doctors ok, your body will respond really well to slow and controlled strengthening exercises. You should focus on pelvic stability, working on developing a strong back and strong core. Gentle cardio that increases in intensity over time will complement this nicely. Walking with your baby is a great place to start.”
What about women who don’t have anyone else to mind their baby or any time to leave their baby to work out? What can they do?
“This was a real driving force behind my decision to launch a pregnancy and post-natal program,” says Sam. “Time is a huge barrier to most people, let alone those with a little one at home. Like Snez, most new mums want to spend as much time with their baby as possible and even if they may want some time to do things for themselves, like exercise, this often just isn’t possible. Home workouts, like my program, make this possible so that mums can have some ‘me-time’ without needing to pay for a babysitter or spend time away from their baby. Coordinating a short workout while your baby sleeps or sleeping while your baby sleeps and doing a very gentle workout together can be a wonderful way to regain strength and energy and is another bonding opportunity for you and your new child.”
If you could give any advice to mums getting back into exercise after having a baby, what would it be?
“I think the most important advice is that you don’t compare yourself to anyone or feel pressured to rush. Listen to your body and make sure you are following a program or routine that is safe and works for you,” Sam says.
Sam Wood is the founder of the 28 by Sam Wood program and the 28 App. He is launching an 8- week summer body challenge where a lucky winner will receive a trip to Bali for 4 people. You can find out more at www.28bysamwood.com
How did you get back into exercise after having a baby? Have you tried the 28 by Sam Wood app?