This week on our blog we are joined by Caitlin McNickle from Lil Helper to chat about 3 ways to start your postpartum fitness journey. As many of us know, there is a lot of talk about when it’s “ok” to exercise after having a baby - some moms exercise just days after giving birth, where others are encouraged or choose to wait at least 6 weeks. Every pregnancy is different, every birth is different and every mom is different. We are big fans of listening to your body, listening to your doctor and ditching the notion that you need to “get your body back” (a phrase we wish people would ditch in 2022)
Once you are ready to incorporate exercise postpartum, here are 3 ways to start your postpartum fitness journey! Hint: we aren’t giving you a bunch of “8 MINUTES TO A TONED CORE!!!” B.S. just some real, honest-to-goodness, FUN, postpartum exercises that you may not have thought of before.
Ready to Get Active?
With my 3 year old and 1 year old underfoot, it can sometimes feel impossible to find time to squeeze in a workout. And until very recently, I had no interest in it anyways. I am a firm believer that the only person’s weight that matters after your baby is born is your baby’s. That first year, I am focused on sleep and play and nourishment. My body did an amazing thing, and there is zero need to ‘bounce back’ (whatever that means) by that arbitrarily set 6 week postpartum appointment. But my youngest is done breastfeeding, my menstrual cycle has returned, and I am getting a reasonable amount of sleep. So it’s time to focus on self-care time for me and one way I do that is through fitness. Here are my top 3 ways to focus on fitness with young kids underfoot.
1. Dancing It Out
I want to be very clear on one thing-- you are perfect.
Your body is incredible.
Fitness doesn’t have to mean a “workout.”
It means moving your body in any way you enjoy. My absolute favorite way to move my body is through dance. I try to play music all day because I enjoy it and I find that when I sing and dance, my body and mind feel so good. In fact, studies show that dance can improve cardiovascular health, balance, strength and mood all while challenging your brain and enhancing cognitive function.
I am not doing a beautiful choreographed dance. More often than not, I am jumping around like I’m trying to catch a mosquito and singing for my kids. They think this is the most hilarious sight ever (they can’t stop laughing) and they usually join in.
Dancing is such commonplace in our home that I often catch my one year old shoulder shimmying in the grocery store and I have to remind my 3 year old to focus on her dinner rather than busting moves at the table. Those moments make my heart explode with happiness and I try to absorb every second of it before it’s gone.
2. Get Outdoors
Postpartum exercise doesn’t have to be confined to the gym or indoors! It could be walking the dog, shoveling snow, a trip to the park, pushing the kids on the swings or a stroll around your neighborhood. Getting outside, fresh air, and sunshine time is key - It motivates me to move, and it is not only a great way to get some sneaky exercise (I walk everywhere I can), but it is also incredible for mental health. According to the American Psychological Association, time in nature can improve our mental health and sharpen our cognition! Nature nurtures after all.
Especially in the winter months, it can seem like a chore to load the kids up and go, but once I’m out, it is always worth it. All you need is the perfect stroller and you are good to go - if you haven’t already check out the new Bēbee Lightweight Stroller from Bombi. It has all your must-have features and is made from recycled materials!
Here are some great ways to get outside this winter:
- Ice skating
- Going to the park
- Tracking animal prints
- Go on a wildlife winter scavenger hunt
3. Mom And Me Swimming Lessons
The beach or the pool is made so much easier by the Lil Helper wet-dry bag!
My greatest source of joy. I might hate every second leading up to it (that first time putting on a swimsuit after baby can feel heavy), but once my kid and I hit the water I am in heaven. Holding my smiling little one, feeling comfy and focused on them, it is perfect. All you need is the right gear to make it easy.
Lil Helper has all you need to make a trip to the pool with your little one a breeze. From reusable swim diapers, to towels with secret pockets, to bags with space for your keys/wallet + wet gear afterwards. It’s your one stop shop to make swimming lessons great!
Bonus, swimming is a great low impact exercise, so an excellent way to ease back into fitness.
A quick note: Working out does not make you more worthy or beautiful. Your body is perfect. You are perfect. You are worthy and beautiful in any size you are wearing. Your body is a vessel that carries you day to day. Don’t forget to thank it. Let’s also remember that our clothing sizes do not define us. We are all worthy of love even if we sat on the couch all day watching TV with our kids.
What are some of your tips and tricks for sneaking in some postpartum exercise? Do you include your kids?
In the comments, tell me your favorite thing your body did for you today.
I’ll go first; Today, my body allowed me to babywear my one year old around the house when all she wanted was to be held. She is teething and cranky and my body gave her comfort. And that is awesome.