What I have learnedMarch 9, 2018
One of the things we hear most often at the studio is how difficult it is to return to exercise after having a baby. I hear you! Returning to exercise, for whatever reason, after a significant break can be tough. It is about finding a way to re-create a habit that was previously well established but accepting that this is a new chapter and the new routines you establish will be different.
Before your baby arrives it can be easy to start imagining how your new exercise regime will pan out once you have given birth, but this kind of planning can often put a lot of pressure on new mums. In your new baby filled world, where tiredness and physical exhaustion prevent even the simplest things being achieved. It is easy to begin to feel like a failure if you are not keeping up with where you thought you would be. It just adds to a feeling of overwhelm.
After my first child I struggled mentally to accept that things take time, but this time I have planned my return to exercise with a clearly defined goal which is to help my body get stronger and move better. This goal is so important to me, that it also happens to be our motto at the studio! I plan to be stronger by the end of the year than I was before I was pregnant. By defining what I want it has helped me more clearly lay out how I can get there and a few simple changes in attitude have made my postpartum exercise routine more manageable. I wanted to share these with anyone who is struggling to return to exercise after an extended break as they are three simple things that can make the difference between quitting and returning to fitness.
Make exercise a habit
My first aim is create a new habit. However it fits into your new life, you need to make exercise a routine. Schedule your time for exercise in the same way you would schedule in feeding the baby, it’s non negotiable! By treating the post baby part of my life as a new chapter. I find it easier to start afresh with my routine and drop the comparisons with my previous exercise routine. In the same way I know Angus will need feeding, I know my body needs exercise for both my physical and mental health. I know by making myself stronger physically I will be better able to cope with everything. Scheduling your workouts in this way means it’s a non negotiable time, it’s a need rather than a luxury
The second thing I have found very helpful is to monitor my progress. Keep going. Find a buddy, record your activities or take measurements of how your body is changing! However you do it, I find making yourself accountable can be a really positive and encouraging thing. Whether your exercise buddy is there to support you in real life or is there online encouraging you, the comradery of an exercise buddy can be a massive help. For me I find recording my activities and noting my progress is a huge boost that keeps me going.
And the third is to enjoy, to appreciate that this is my time, alone and doing what I love. It’s my few moments peace in a hectic schedule and it’s so important that I look after myself both mentally and physically. It’s a chance for me to clear my head and for me to work towards my own goal of getting stronger.
The lack of time and a lack of energy are definitely the two biggest things I struggle with. But by having my schedule and goals I find I am making better progress this time around and finding it easier to stick with it. What’s the biggest thing you are wrestling with in your return to exercise, whether it be post baby, post injury and of just after a break? Share your thoughts in the comments below and let me know what has worked for you.