Post pregnancy exercise may seem daunting. Sometimes, the decision to start an exercise program of any kind can seem like a huge step in itself. Particularly if you’ve just had a baby or you haven’t exercised in a while.
We all know how important exercise is to our overall health. We know it not only helps the body but our mind and emotional wellness as well.
Indeed, you could have a thousand personal reasons to start post pregnancy exercise regimes such as:
– losing weight
– losing your post-baby belly
– fitting into old clothes
– feeling good about your appearance and/or fitness level
– liking what you see in the mirror
– feeling sexy again and regaining an interest in sex
– feeling attractive
The list goes on and is as individual as you are.
Yet even if we have a bunch of great reasons to exercise, we can still fail to get to the starting block. Too many thoughts flying around that can stand in our way and prevent us from trying. Doubts, time constraints, worries if the effort will be worth the result- it plagues even the most determined woman.
Here are some of the reasons we’ve heard – and even used ourselves- to avoid exercise after birth in the past:
– I’m sooooo tired
– I barely have the time for everything I need to do now
– It seems too hard
– I don’t have the energy
– I’ve let myself go too far and now I’m scared I’ll never be able to get back from here
– I’ve never gelled with exercise in the past so how can I do it on a regular basis now?
– It’s too expensive to eat healthy
– There are so many options these days, I don’t even know where to begin to find out what works
… And the list probably goes on from here too, right?
You are not alone
If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because it is. A lot of people face the same challenges when it comes to exercise and fitness.
You might be asking how anyone gets started on the path to a healthier, stronger, fitter self.
Sometimes it’s because they’ve reached the absolute depths of despair and feel like they can’t get any lower. They simply can’t face the person in the mirror any more. Or they want to rediscover themselves from a fitter, healthier time.
Perhaps their doctor has said if they don’t make changes they’ll have serious health issues moving forward. It’s not just blood pressure, heart issues or the strain a lack of exercise places on the body that drives these changes. Changes in toilet habits, gut health, mental health and diabetes can play a role in giving some of us the jump-start needed.
Maybe it’s just as simple as a big event coming up in their life which they want to look and feel good for. The desire to look great for a wedding picture, high school reunion or to be able to play with the kids can be powerful motivators.
But how do you get motivated to do something when you’re feeling so terrible about yourself? How do you take yourself away from what you know and break long held habits? What do you do if you don’t have any of these external factors motivating you?
The secret to success is two words: Just start.
I’m not talking about starting at maximum intensity workouts. Or telling yourself you’re going to exercise for an hour every single day. Realistic goals will help you overcome your fears and concerns easier than setting the bar high. Post pregnancy exercise should never be a punishment!
Be kind to yourself.
Aim for the littlest win.
It might be 5 or 10 minutes of core exercises, just 3 times a week. If that’s achievable, just go for it!
Do that for a couple of weeks and write on the calendar how you feel on those days after doing something in the form of exercise. You might just put a smiley face on the calendar or a motivating word to describe how you’re feeling. Cheer yourself on with words like “energetic”, “exhausted”, “happy”, and “proud”. Find whatever works for you.
Forming a healthy habit and making the impossible seem possible can be as simple as a few short words and small actions. Post pregnancy exercise or being a mum who exercises doesn’t have to be a big undertaking.
Always remember- the journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step. Without a doubt, the thing you have to do is just start.
Somewhere. Anywhere. No matter how big or small. Start doing a little of something with realistic goals and frequency. You’ll soon gain a sense of achievement. And from there, the power to do a little more.
Your new attitude: I can do this
The first step is making small changes to your lifestyle. It’s about figuring out what will fit into your life.
But never sacrifice the fun. Long lasting change comes from enjoyment. Make sure what you’re doing makes you happy.
Yes, it might be hard work – but you have to have some interest in doing it so you’ll want to stick to it. You also want to feel a sense of achievement from what you’re doing.
It’s all about re-programming your mind. The aim is to put yourself in a position where you know anything is possible. And you know you can achieve it with effort over time. Make sure you’re motivated to achieving your goal. And that your goal inspires you to move forward by breaking it down. The word done applied to any task is incredibly powerful.
So what are you waiting for? Press play on the road to health.
And JUST START!
No matter how big or small those first steps are, the most important thing is to go forward. Forget what’s behind you and just look straight ahead – to your healthier, stronger, fitter self.
Want more motivation? Check out the Body Beyond Birth YouTube channel for simple post pregnancy and birth exercises. Or join us on the Body Beyond Birth Facebook page to share your fitness journey.
Forget feeling alone. Join a community of women who know exactly what you’re going through.