It's 3 a.m. The baby is crying for the fourth time since "bedtime" at 8 p.m. You've spent the last 3 weeks sleeping in hour and a half increments. All your waking hours are consumed by your newborn. You are exhausted, stressed, and overjoyed.
Sound familiar? In the first months of your new baby's life it may seem daunting to include any physical activity in your daily routine let alone the 150 minutes of aerobic activity and 2 days of muscle-strengthening activity recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
However, physical activity can lead to more energy, a better mood, less stress, and a faster recovery. And, even though you might feel like you don't have enough energy to move, you may already be doing more physical activity than you think.
Consider adding these aerobic activities to your routine:
- Household chores (e.g., sweeping, vacuuming, and doing laundry)
- Walking your baby in a stroller
- Walking around the room holding your baby to soothe
- Swaying/dancing with baby
And these muscle-strengthening activities:
- Yoga or Pilates
- Lifting your baby
- Pelvic floor and core exercises
Here are a few important tips to consider after your doctor has given you the go ahead to start working out again:
- Start Slow. Pregnancy and childbirth cause a lot of changes to your body. Physical activity may feel different and uncomfortable. Start slowly with gentle activities like walking to give your body time to adjust.
- When in Doubt, Ask Your Doctor. If an activity is painful or uncomfortable, it is better to talk to your doctor than to risk injury. Checkups are a great chance to talk to your doctor about what activities are safe and which activities to avoid.
Move Your Way, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
This article was written by Rose Kroeger, UNL Dietetic Intern.