Exercising after 6 week check
When you feel ready you can get back to regular cardiovascular exercise. For most women this will be around the time of the 6 week check.
Make sure you invest in a good sports bra and pair of trainers. Try to get a bit hot and sweaty 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes. This could be in the gym, jogging (maybe with your pushchair), a fitness DVD, cross training, cycling, swimming or brisk walking. Couple this with active choices (e.g. stairs rather than lift) and lots of running around after baby and the extra pounds will soon melt away.
Be a bit cautious with high-impact activities if you are fairly new to exercise as a pregnancy hormone called relaxin will make your joints a little more vulnerable to injury for a few months after your baby is born. Build up and progress gradually.
In addition to cardiovascular exercise try to do regular resistance training using some light weights. This will help you build lean muscle, which burns more calories at rest – how awesome is that?! It will increase your metabolism and really sculpt your body. Focus on lower body and tummy exercises, but make sure you work your whole body in the course of a week. Do this ideally 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes, bringing your total exercise in a week to 3 hours (1 and a half hours cardio and the same with weights). Fit this in, in whatever size chunks work best for you, 10 minutes here and there if you like!
I know it sounds hard, but if you build it into your lifestyle, you’ll look forward to your exercise! Still not sure what to do? The 3-Plan will give you simple effective resistance exercises and some ideas for simple cardio if you can’t get to the gym. You can make active choices to make exercise part of your everyday life; it doesn’t have to always be an ‘extra’.
9 months on, 9 months off (but you might not need that long!)
You need to be realistic and patient with your goals. There is also no getting away from the fact that during pregnancy your body undergoes a massive transformation and getting back into shape is a challenge that requires a great deal of dedication and sustained commitment on your part.
The celebrity new mums we see in magazines don’t have a magic wand, but they do often have real dedication to health and fitness during and after their pregnancies. Consistency is the key; little and often is better than loads then nothing for long periods. And keep pushing yourself as your body recovers – real results require effort so don’t cheat yourself.
You can look even better than before you got pregnant (I promise!) Be fit, healthy and confident for your new family and you will all benefit.