Why You Should Think About Exercise After Pregnancy
There’s no shortage of reasons why exercise is good for you: It keeps your bod toned, your heart healthy, your endorphins up. But even then, it can still be hard for plenty of people to find the motivation to hit the gym. That challenge becomes even greater if you’re a new mom who’s just given birth, and now spends her days and nights looking after the little bundle of joy. But exercise is just as important for new moms as it is for everyone else — if not more.
In 2017, Reuters published one study explaining that exercise is actually an effective tool at combating postpartum depression. According to the head researcher, Celia Alvarez-Bueno, the positive effects of exercise on mothers’ mental health were even noticeable in women that hadn’t shown signs of depression. She wrote:
“We expected that physical activity could reduce postpartum depressive symptoms. However, we were pleasantly surprised when we found that exercise after pregnancy also reduced depression among the women who didn’t have diagnosable symptoms.”
And what’s good for the Mama is good for the baby: Babies whose moms hit the gym or engaged in exercise around the house also saw healthier early development, relative to their mom’s mental health.
Maria Jauch, BECYCLE member and new mom, has been coming to BECYCLE religiously since her son Joshua was just six weeks old. For her, she says working out post baby has made her feel "so much better both physically and mentally." She knows how golden 45 minutes can be as she mentions, "having 45 minutes just for me, to get lost in the music and intensity of a spin class and do something just for myself has been really important post partum. Some days, if I've had a lot of feeds the night before and I don't feel like leaving the apartment I consider cancelling the class but I have never regret a class and always feel better for going. Exercise gives me energy and more motivation for marathon feeding sessions!"
If you’re worried about intensive core exercise being detrimental to your tender reproductive organs, OBGYN Steven Domnitz from New Jersey’s Chilton Medical Center told Self Magazine that, on the contrary, core exercise is great for strengthening the pelvic floor and actually helping your uterus recoup.
So how can you tell if it’s time to get back to the gym after having a baby? Well, that all depends on how you’re feeling. Lauren Streicher, MD, also told Self Magazine:
“We generally tell women, 'Wait six weeks [after giving birth] to start exercising,’ but that’s not based on anything [specific]. I say that if you feel like you’re ready to work out two weeks later, give me a call and we’ll discuss it.”
The bottom line is, if you feel up to it, double check with your doc, and do what feels right for you! Your body — and baby — will thank you for it.
If you feel ready, come try a RIDE class at BECYCLE with childcare offered on Tuesdays at 9:45am and Fridays at 10am.
And if you're on the fence about it, just read Maria's personal testimonial on the childcare here at BECYCLE below. She is a super mom after all!
"I've been going to the childcare spin classes since my son was six weeks old, started gradually and worked up to a few times a week plus an occasional yoga or barre class. I like the mix between the different classes, each offers my body and mind something different, from hill climbs and sprints in spin to a chill yin yoga class. Having a childcare class twice a week means I can both go to the gym independent of my partner and not have to worry about the timing of feeds. I find the community at Becycle so welcoming and have always felt at home nursing my son before or after a class. It has also been a great way to chat with other mums and the babysitters have been so fantastic they have even also babysat for me at my home. Thank you Becycle!" —
Article written by Genevieve Vanvoorhis