We love taking questions from readers, so when I saw this question in my inbox, I knew I had to respond as I know there are numerous women out there in the same boat. Plus, with the start of kindergarten TODAY, and a first birthday to contend with last week, I wasn’t even sure what I was going to write about until I saw this:
My name is Joanna P. I had my little guy about 9 months ago. I needed a C-section due to emergency reasons, and I wasn’t fit before getting pregnant. Is there anything out there that I can do to get into shape?? I’m desperate to get into shape so I can keep up with him! I tried doing a couple programs on the Coach by Cigna but a few hours later and the next day I felt like I pulled something where I had my C-section … not a pleasant time at all.
Thank you much!
Congratulations on your baby boy! First of all, you’ve taken a big step already by realizing that you want to get into shape to keep up with your kiddo — and by already diving into a program to get active. That’s huge, and excellent motivation. (Nothing will wear you out like a toddler!)
You say you weren’t in shape pre-pregnancy, so it sounds like you’re a beginner and just getting into fitness. Anyone who is just starting out — and particularly women who have had babies in the recent past — should get clearance from a doctor that they’re healthy and recovered enough to exercise. If your feeling that you pulled something hasn’t improved, definitely hightail it to the doctor to make sure you really didn’t pull something.
If you get the all-clear, the answer is YES! There are tons of things you can do to get into shape. It is never too late! One of the most important things I tell beginners — particularly busy moms — is to not worry about fitting in hour-long sweat sessions. Remember that every little bit counts and the most important thing when starting out or getting back into fitness is to do it frequently to make it a habit or reestablish a habit. If you can only fit in 10 minutes of strength training during a nap, do it and be proud of that. If you manage a 20-minute walk with the baby, awesome! Strap the baby on your back and do some squats for five minutes. Once you start making it a habit, you can work on going a little harder, longer or more frequently.
As for activities I recommend, you can’t go wrong with walking. It’s a great way to increase your cardio endurance and get your muscles back to moving regularly. Plus, you can do it while pushing your kiddo in a stroller and you can do it anywhere so there are no excuses! I’m also a fan of swimming and water aerobics because it’s gentler on the body, so if your body still isn’t feeling completely recovered, it’s a great strength and cardio workout that isn’t as hard on the joints. Postpartum DVDs are perfect to specifically target muscles that are weak post-pregnancy (think core), and pregnancy workouts are actually a gentle way to ease back into fitness too. Search our site for ideas too, and our book also has lots of 10-minute workout options that fit into anyone’s schedule.
No matter which workout you choose, be sure to listen to your body. Workouts should feel challenging, but not painful. Likewise, you’ll likely feel sore the next day or two, but you shouldn’t be in pain.
Hope this helps and good luck. Keep us posted on how it goes, mama!