my 3 fav

ways to exercise after having a baby

{article published on Hawaii Sport Magazine – Nov/Dec issue}

Exercise was always a priority in my daily routine, especially running. However with the arrival of my tiny-wonderful-irresistible baby, my priorities have shifted. I stopped running when I was 4 months pregnant, because the bouncing feeling on my stomach got uncomfortable, and also I was feeling that my joints were less stable probably due to the influence of relaxin and other pregnancy hormones. So I kept doing lighter, easier exercises, such as walking and aqua fitness classes.

Now my baby is 7 months old, and this summer I have run short and easy distances now and then. However, I feel that my body is not 100% ready to fully run yet. I feel that I have “loose packages” floating in my core, and my hips and groin are extremely tight. I did some research and I came across the term “pelvic rehab”, which is a therapy that can be very helpful for postpartum moms. So I talked with my doctor and he diagnosed me with: pelvic griddle and abdominal muscle instability and weakness, more specifically iliofemoral ligament sprain of the right hip. Wow! That’s why running was a little bit uncomfortable. So the doctor referred me to physical therapists.

Physical Therapy

You might find it strange that I am calling my physical therapy sessions one of my favorite ways of exercising. To be honest, it is not my favorite, but it is definitely the one I need the most at the moment. The exercises are reasonably simple, but they take mental concentration and they can be physically more exhausting than just plain running. The exercises showed me how weak and unbalanced my body is right now, not just my pelvic area, but my gluteus, core and legs. So for the past three months I have been learning how to relax muscles that are tight and strengthen muscles that are weak. My goal is to be able to return to exercise for the long-term. I don’t want to return prematurely and then experience a string of injuries later.

My two cents: If you are not feeling 100% after childbirth, talk with your doctor, and schedule an appointment with a pelvic floor physical therapist.

Swimming

That’s the one exercise I did through my whole pregnancy and the first one I started to do once I was clear to exercise again. The benefits of swimming are countless: it is a complete aerobic workout, tones muscle, and is friendly on the joints. The first day I jumped in the pool after four months with zero exercise, I swam 250m in slow motion, and I felt incredibly good! Now I am swimming a little more than 250m and a little faster. But that doesn’t really matter. The distance or pace right now are not priorities like before, I am just happy to get in the water and move my body.

My two cents: Make swimming a family affair. Ask your partner to watch baby while you swim, and then you can watch baby while daddy swims and narrate to your baby how wonderful swimming is!

Ocean Run

At least once a week I “run” in deep ocean blue water, while teaching the ocean run class. If you ever tried our class you know that the 45 minutes running in the ocean can be just as hard as running on the road, minus the impact on your joints, and plus the challenge of maintaining your body upright while fighting the water resistance with your arms and legs. It’s the perfect way to keep the feeling of running without hitting the pavement.

My two cents: Try it for yourself one day! I promise you will love it!

As I said, my priorities have changed. My baby Sky is my number one, two, and three on my list right now. Be there when she wakes up, breastfeed anytime she wants, nap with her every chance I get, and play and hold her as much as I can are the most precious things. But making time for exercising everyday allows me to be a happier and healthier mom, wife, daughter, friend, etc. Some days just 15 minutes is all I can get to exercise, and I take it and make the most out of it! Because it’s worthwhile every time.

some dreams are worth sharing….

Mariane

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