Postpartum running is a great workout for mothers post-delivery. Running will promote weight loss, enhance your cardiovascular fitness, strength, and endurance, and improve your mood.
How to Begin Running Postpartum
Before beginning any workout program, be sure to get the thumbs-up from your doctor. With your doctor's permission, you can usually begin mild walking and stretching immediately postpartum if you had an uncomplicated delivery. At first, walk for ten to fifteen minutes per day, three times a week, and then gradually increase walking time up to thirty minutes per day and five days per week. If you have had a complicated, traumatic delivery, a caesarian section, or an episiotomy, you will need to wait at least six to eight weeks depending on your condition.
New mothers who are also new to running must start slow. Grace Lazenby, celebrity trainer and co-founder of Itrain.com, recommends beginning with a run-walk program. For example, walk for five minutes; then run for 5 minutes and repeat. Begin to build up stamina, endurance, and strength in order to avoid injury.
Postpartum Running Gear
To begin running postpartum, you only need a few items: running shoes, a sports bra, a watch, and a heart monitor. You may also want to bring an mp3 player as well as a water bottle on longer runs in order to stay hydrated.
New mothers may also want to try stroller fitness occasionally to maximize time with their baby. Stroller fitness is a program that involves walking or jogging with your baby in a fitness stroller. This is a nice way to let your baby experience the outdoors.
If you are nursing, remember to stay hydrated, especially if you are breastfeeding. Nursing moms need extra fluid, and running can dehydrate. Also, be sure to pump your breast milk before running. If your breasts are full of milk, this may add to your discomfort, especially if your breasts are tender.
The important thing to remember is that if you were a runner pre-pregnancy, be patient and realistic with your fitness goals. Try your best not to compare your performance now to your performance before pregnancy. With time, your workouts will improve, and you will get back on track.