Mommy Myths: The Skinny On Postnatal Fitness

By Mary Beth Knight, Chief Fitness Director, StrollerFit Exercise with Your Baby and Mommymuscle

Any mother knows that moms need muscle! As chief fitness director for StrollerFit and mommymuscle, it’s my job to help moms regain their pre-pregnancy bodies while building the energy and strength they need to care for their families. I know it’s hard to fit exercise in between everything else you have to do, and it’s easy to convince yourself that it just isn’t worth the effort, especially in those first months with a newborn – but it truly is one of the very best things you can do for yourself and your family. Here are some of my favorite postnatal fitness mommy myths, and why you should ignore them.

The pregnancy belly will disappear after the baby is born. I wish this were true! For some women it does disappear quickly, but those are the lucky ones whose genetics played a big role in not only their pregnancy but also in their postpartum months. Over time the swelling of the abdomen decreases and your body returns to a non-pregnancy state. Once the uterus is back to its normal size, the rest of the pooch is essentially added weight gain, droopy skin and sagging muscles. A postnatal fitness workout like StrollerFit or its mommymuscle mom and baby fitness program will zap that tummy back into shape.

My abs will never be flat again.

Everyone can tighten the muscles back up. It takes work and know-how, but once you follow through the muscles will respond and get very close to their pre-pregnancy size. They might be even better!

Nursing moms should not work out.

Totally false! All moms should work out unless the doctor gives a good reason not to. Moderate physical activity is recommended for everyone. Nursing moms do need to make sure they are eating enough calories and drinking enough fluid to support milk production. Add 10 oz of additional non-caffeine fluids for every ½ hour you are exercising. Breastfeeding moms also need to pay close attention to alignment and form and should seek a professional’s help to make sure they are on the right track. Make sure you’re stretching out the chest muscles and strengthening the muscles of the upper back. This will help regain posture, keeping those shoulders back and chin lifted. Proper support is critical, so all nursing moms need to be fitted for a sports bra.

Your feet change only during pregnancy but not after.

A woman’s foot changes during pregnancy and can change even more afterward. Have your feet re-measured every six months after pregnancy for 18 months. Proper footing will help you avoid heel pain and calf discomfort. Whenever you get your child’s foot measured, get yours measured too!

It is not possible to like your body better after pregnancy.

Everything you do prior to pregnancy, during pregnancy and post-pregnancy has an effect on how you feel about your body now. You can learn to love it! When you treat it right through diet and exercise it will love you back and the results will be amazing.

Chasing after kids and housework are workout enough.

If only it were true. Housework and keeping up with the little ones will not protect your bone mass or make your heart and lungs stronger. It may help burn some extra calories, but the truth is we must exercise regularly to earn a healthy strong body. Consistent workouts – including both strength training and cardiovascular efforts – will help you feel better every day while performing all those motherly duties!

I will have more time tomorrow, the next day, or maybe next week.

There’s no time like the present! Whether you squeeze in 15 minutes now, 15 minutes later, an hour here or there, it all adds up. More calories going out than coming in will get that weight off and keep it off. And when you put off the workout, you put off taking off the weight. About the Author: Mary Beth Knight is Chief Fitness Director for StrollerFit Exercise with Your Baby and its mommymuscle line of mom-and-baby fitness products and DVDs. For more information on how you can get your family on the path to a fit and healthy lifestyle, or to find a StrollerFit class near you, visit www.strollerfit.com and www.mommymuscle.com. The content provided in this column is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, consultation, treatment or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition before beginning a new exercise and nutrition regimen.

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