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You did it — you had a baby!
As you adjust to postpartum life, you might be feeling eager (or, you know, not) to get back into a fitness routine. Whatever your feelings are, there’s no denying that your new bundle of joy now runs your schedule — and that means you’re likely to be returning to fitness at home.
Luckily, there’s no shortage of at-home fitness apps, postpartum programs, and equipment to help you create a regimen that works with your new momhood.
The timeline for starting a postpartum fitness routine depends on two main factors: your readiness to begin and your doctor’s sign-off.
You might feel ready in a few days, weeks, or even months — there’s no one way to approach a return to fitness after you’ve completed the most challenging, incredible workout of all (we’re referring to childbirth, of course).
She says, “All pregnancies and deliveries are different, so it’s always a good idea to get your doctor’s clearance before beginning any postpartum exercise program.”
If you were a total fitness junkie pre-pregnancy, you might be eager to jump back into your old routine. But it’s crucial to be patient with your body as it heals after childbirth.
Sarah Bradford, a pre- and postnatal expert and founder of Luna Mother Collective, stresses the importance of building a strong foundation. She explains, “Taking the time to first rehabilitate your core and build up a foundation of strength will get you back to the workouts you love faster.”
Other important things to consider:
- Stay true to you. “It’s important to listen to your body and choose exercises that help you feel better,” says Virden. That means if you love yoga, start there. If cycling is your favorite way to sweat, hit the bike. Just be sure to modify your workouts to accommodate your healing body.
- Start light to finish strong. Begin with light workouts and progressively build up in terms of intensity and duration.
- Hit the (pelvic) floor. Virden also highlights the importance of doing a pelvic floor program. She explains, “This can help restore better strength, elasticity, and responsiveness in the pelvic floor. It also helps to improve posture and boost energy.”
- Monitor your body closely. After each workout, notice if you experience any discomfort or pain. Avoid exercise if you have vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, or pain in your pelvic region. Talk to your doctor if you have any pain or bleeding after exercising.
We researched the most ideal postpartum exercises and looked for items that would support these types of fitness routines. To find the highest quality, easy-to-use equipment, we researched products, read reviews, and took advice from postpartum fitness experts.
Plus, many of the items we chose are small enough to carry with you on daily outings or weekend getaways.
- $ = under $20
- $$ = $20–$60
- $$$ = over $60
Virden says if she could pick just one piece of exercise equipment for postpartum women it would be a quality stability ball. She explains, “Pelvic tilts and circles on the ball are some of my go-to exercises. They also help relax the lower back and tone the abs.”
Even beyond the postpartum period, you can use a stability ball to develop coordination, flexibility, and balance — it can even double as a desk chair. Check out the different size options that are available depending on your height.
Ready to roll? Here are 20 stability ball exercises to get you started.
Virden also recommends this Gymnic weight set, which allows you to adjust the weight by filling them with sand or water. She points out that using the weights filled with water can add an element of instability, which helps improve joint stability, balance, and coordination.
When the weights are empty they don’t weigh a lot, which makes them convenient for travel (although they don’t fold).
Designed to hold its shape over time, yoga bricks or blocks are soft yet supportive. Not only can a yoga block help you to move deeper into stretches or assist with stability during balance poses, but it can be used as a prop for core-strengthening exercises as well.
Bradford says, “You can use a yoga block during postpartum core exercises to help isolate and stabilize the pelvis and relieve symptoms of symphysis pubis dysfunction.” To engage your inner core and pelvic floor, she recommends squeezing a yoga brick between your knees during a glute bridge or wall squat.
Try out these core-strengthening exercises that use a yoga block.
Super versatile, you can use resistance bands for exercises to build strength, stability, and mobility. The varying resistance strength levels make them suitable for a wide range of exercises and fitness levels. Bradford recommends using resistance bands to activate your glutes before your workout, which she says plays a crucial role in stability.
She explains, “When your glutes are weak, it can lead to overactivity of the lower lumbar spine, quads, hamstrings, and hip flexors. Adding a resistance band to glute work can help to activate and strengthen them, which can aid in day-to-day movements such as carrying your baby, lifting the car seat, and getting up and down off the floor.”
Ready to give it a whirl? Try out these three moves that use resistance bands to strengthen your glutes.
You can use core sliders to improve your balance and stability during low impact core exercises. They’ll add a challenge to your existing routine and give you the chance to try out new exercises. The double-sided discs work on carpeted or hard, smooth floors.
Bradford recommends using sliders to do deep core and stability movements. She says, “Placing a sliding disc under one foot during a reverse lunge creates a new element of challenge and recruits different muscles than doing the exercise normally.”
In addition to reverse lunges, try out a few of these 31 slider moves. Pro tip: Lower body slider moves are a great starting point, as the core exercises are rather challenging!
If you want to splurge on at-home exercise equipment, the Peloton bike is a fantastic investment. Cycling is a great option for low impact cardio that still burns lots of calories. And Peloton’s community and competitive leaderboard can help to motivate you into staying on track.
Bradford says, “Peloton offers such an amazing variety of fitness and movement classes and is a great way to stay active at home.” Plus, since you’ll likely be on an inconsistent new baby schedule, you’ll be able to take live or pre-recorded classes at any hour.