Before my pregnancy I was really into fitness, and particularly in the lead up to our wedding two years ago. I did a mixture of HIIT, running, spinning and yoga. Postpartum I did struggle with what exercise I could do as I now noticed that I had diastasis recti (split stomach muscles).
I attended physiotherapy, which was really helpful as they told me which exercises would be best for me to do to strengthen my core muscles. Now that I had been given the “all clear” to start exercising again and I knew what I could do, I didn’t hesitate!
At about six months post-natal I really did suffer with a mix of emotions that I struggled to control. I’m not sure what brought on these feelings, possibly coming to the end of our breastfeeding journey? Adjusting to my new postpartum body? I’m not sure, but I felt like I was looking and listening to myself from a bird’s eye view, and I just wanted to shake myself and tell myself to stop behaving like I was. I just felt like my emotions were on high alert, and any little thing would upset me, making me feel completely irrational and upset too frequently. I knew it wasn’t me as such, but I couldn’t control these emotions and hormones, particularly how they made me feel. I felt like somebody else and I didn’t know myself anymore. On the plus side, I found that running actually made me feel better mentally. One evening when my husband came home from work he suggested that I try going for a run to see if it made me feel better, so off I went. It seemed to burn off this anxiety and adrenaline that I had been struggling to cope with. The first week I ran five times and I started running with the pushchair, which was a challenge. So we soon invested in an actual running buggy – the out n about Nipper Sport. I had asked around other mums that I knew had running buggys and they recommended the out n about. We then looked into their products and felt that the Nipper Sport was the best one for us. It took some getting used to, as the front wheel is fixed and it is outwards facing, whereas I was still used to being able to see Freya in the pushchair. But now I would definitely recommend it for any mums and dads looking to keep fit but struggling to because, if like me, you have a very active little babe who doesn’t tend to sleep much in the day! It’s a great way to exercise without waiting for them to have a sleep or relying on a babysitter. When you’re ready to head out on a run, you can!
Freya seems to quite enjoy it as well, as you can see! As I mentioned, it is outwards facing so there is a lot for her to see as we are moving along. The harness is really simple to use and like most other pushchairs and high chair harnesses. There is also a support rail and a newborn insert, although this fits well now and Freya is six months, so I’m not sure how well it would fit if you had a petite baby. It also comes with a rain-cover and a shopping basket – so I even incorporate it into a trip to the local shops. I definitely once got all the way home and realised I’d left my (paid for) shopping in the shop. Baby brain or too focused on my running…?!
I know a lot of mums and dads get back into the gym pretty easily after having children, however I just found that if I could incorporate exercise into my day with Freya then I was much happier. Although it was only an hour or so, if I didn’t have to be away from her then I didn’t want to be.
Since getting our running buggy I am feeling a lot more like my old self and seem to have this freedom now to be able to exercise again. For anybody thinking about getting a running buggy then I would say just go for it! Even if you start with a power walk and slowly build up. I use an app called Strava to record my runs, which is free to download and really easy to use. It is a good way to track your progress.
We also go to a lot of local park runs, which I found really helpful when I first started running again as it is an organised event that is timed, with so many lovely marshals and supporters to help cheer you on.
I’m so happy that I’ve found an exercise that is flexible and fits in with my new mum life. It has helped to give me my confidence back.
What postnatal exercises have you found easiest?