Just because you've had a baby doesn't mean you must stop running and become unfit. Wendy gives us some top tips for running with your baby to help get you back in shape.
You probably didn’t really feel like the ‘old’ you
If, like me, once you had a baby, you were heavier than you wanted to be. You probably didn’t really feel like the ‘old’ you either.
Okay there is the baby weight but also wobbly skin, aching knees/ back/ sore boobs from feeding and then a little person that constantly needs something from you.
Getting outside is a brilliant way to feel better because of the all-around benefits of fresh air and vitamin D for you both, exercise for you and sleeping time for baby.
Even a walk around the block can reset both mine and my children’s moods for the day.
Celebrities that bounce back to size zero must have nannies, 12 hours sleep, a personal trainer and a chef. None of which I had! 9 months on and 9 months off was a more reflective picture of how my body changed after both my daughters. So, what’s the advice on when to return to running?
I asked Women’s Health Physiotherapist Sarah Crosby from the Crystal Palace Physio Group on her expert opinion.
Expert Advice on when to Return to Running
Begin pelvic floor muscle exercises as soon as possible after the birth of your baby
0-6 weeks: Begin pelvic floor muscle exercises as soon as possible after the birth of your baby, no matter the type of delivery that you had. As soon as you are able, start gentle walking and build up gradually to start conditioning your body gently to exercise.
6-12 weeks: You can begin doing some resistance type exercises or bodyweight exercises as long as you are symptom free! Such as squats and lunges.
Incorporate your pelvic floor exercises into your resistance exercises. If you have a local Pilates class now is a good time to resume this but please do make the teacher aware that you have recently had a baby as some exercises may not yet be appropriate.
12 weeks +: Around now you might feel ready to start running but many women won’t either so please listen to your body!
If you are breastfeeding then you will still be producing relaxin and these hormones can make it more challenging to return to running, as your tissues may still be more lax. Some women prefer to wait until they stop breastfeeding before they begin running. Click here to read an article on breastfeeding and running which you may find useful.
When it comes to making life easier for yourself at around 6-9 months you can start buggy running. This age is based on a manufacturer's recommendation so varies by model and is relating to the baby’s ability to hold it’s head up when moving at speed.
Having a buggy that’s suitable for running means that you can fit a run into your everyday life
Having a buggy that’s suitable for running means that you can fit a run into your everyday life. I used to run to the library, post office, parks and now I do nursery pickups with the buggy. It’s brilliant to be able to run in the day (when it’s light!) and also not have to rely on anyone for childcare.
Running buggies can handle fields, if you are walking a dog, and even work on sand on holiday. When you think about a gym membership, a running buggy works out cheaper over the 3 years even if you only use it a few times a week. I can still run with my 5 year old.
all over workout using your core and arms as well as the normal running muscle groups
Running with a buggy is an all over workout using your core and arms as well as the normal running muscle groups. Incorporating proper stretching and strength work helps all runners, but especially those returning to running, stay injury free.
Using the time up until six months to work on your muscle strength is really smart.
The mum’s boot camp style classes (like Buggyfit) don’t run with buggies and focus on building up the core so are a great option in these first 6 months.
When you are going out on your own, start power walking with your buggy, then incorporate some periods of running (like run for 3 mins walk for 1) and just increase the running intervals. Don’t worry about pace.
Getting out in the fresh air and your heart pumping is what counts. Before you know it you will be living in ‘activewear’ for the odd opportunity you will be able to get out for a run!
Photo Credits:Amanda Smith Photography