5 Ways to Break a Sweat Postpartum Without Running

If you’re a postpartum woman, and your doctor recently cleared you for exercise, you’re probably itching to get your body back, get a good workout in, and sweat. 

One of the popular ways to achieve that is with running, however, too often, too soon women start running before their body and pelvic floor are ready to sustain such intensity and impact. I recommend my clients hold off from running until they are five months postpartum. I know that sounds like forever and a day a way, especially for women who love to run, but your pelvic floor needs time to heal. 

Reminder, your PF muscles don't bounce back right after having a baby. 

They've actually been stressed, stretched, and weakened during the nine months of pregnancy and the act of labor. Even a C-section can cause trauma to the pelvic floor. High intensity exercises like running can only cause more trauma and damage to those already weak muscles.

So what do you do instead?

When it’s too soon to hit the pavement running, here are alternative options to get your heart rate up and break a sweat postpartum.
Swim, Swimming, Lap Pool, Cardio, Postpartum, Exercise

1. Swimming: If you have access to a lap pool, dive in! The idea of getting into a swimsuit so soon after having your baby might dissuade you, but don’t let that factor your decision. Own it. One piece ( or two-piece) and all! Swimming is a major calorie burner and it's pelvic floor friendly. It’s also a high intensity workout with less impact on the joints while also improving your core strength, stability, and it increases your metabolism.

2. Stair Climbing: For any woman who thinks she lost her butt because of pregnancy here is one way to get it back. Build your booty, tone your legs, and improve your cardiovascular system with this lower body burner. You’ll work your calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, and even the core and hip flexors. Make it a total body workout by adding in upper body exercises like chest presses against a railing or perform my personal favorite, I-Y-T, for an upper back strengthener.

Stair Climbing, Cardio, Stepper, Stair Workout

3. Row Machine: This is another low-impact, total body toner! Work the legs, hips, back, core, and arms with every pull. It’s up to you how difficult you want to make it, but consider increasing the intensity with resistance for an added challenge and help burn extra calories.

4. Cycling: Need some extra motivation with a group class? Hit up a cycling studio or spin class at your gym. If you push yourself you can burn between 400-600 calories in one, 1-hour ride. Classes are usually packed with riders of all fitness levels, have a great atmosphere, and instructors play killer music. You’ll definitely leave on an endorphin high, dripping in sweat. Soul Cycle anyone?

5. Walk: If the above exercises aren’t your style, or you don’t have access to a gym, studio, or local track/stadium, walking is always an option. There are so many benefits to walking, but two main takeaways are it can be done anytime, anywhere and it’s easy on the joints. Make it more challenging by incorporating hills to work your glutes as well.

Try incorporating some of these cardio ideas into your weekly postpartum fitness program, and include pelvic floor exercises too, and you’ll not only burn calories and sweat, but allow your pelvic floor to heal safely and prepare it for more rigorous forms of training down the road.

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