When You Can’t Run… But You Can Walk
I am 5 weeks postpartum right now. Usually, most doctors do not clear you to exercise until you are 6 weeks out for a vaginal birth or 8 weeks for a c-section. Based on this, I should be cleared at the 6 week mark. However, my previous doctor in Chicago did let me start exercising at 4 weeks after my first pregnancy because I ran the entire nine months. I thought about asking my current doctor if this would be okay again but I decided I against it. I’ve made the decision on my own to NOT really dive into exercise until I am 6 weeks out because I want to lessen the chance of any injuries and just not rush into it so much this time. I want to give my body the appropriate time to heal.
But just because I am not cleared for regular/vigorous exercise doesn’t mean I can’t do anything to get my body back into shape! Since I hit 4 weeks, I have started slowly adding in some exercise. I have been doing some planks to strengthen my core and even lifted a few light weights while sitting down. Basic (but effective) stuff.
The other main thing I have been doing is walking. Some people view walking as not an effective form of exercise and that is wrong. Walking is a great form of exercise! It’s also good because it’s relatively low impact and you can do it anywhere. I have a treadmill at home so I have actually been using that for a lot of my walks because 1) it’s so hot and 2) it’s hard impossible to get my toddler to sit in our double stroller with the baby so that I can go on a walk with them. Instead I just end up repeatedly asking her to not go into the street and stay on the sidewalk with me.
So, the treadmill it is unless my husband is home and I can go outside (by myself!). I started out by just doing a slow, casual walk for a mile. Then I have gradually built up to 2 – 3 miles. I have started walking a little faster and even adding an incline. Then I’m going to add in some slow, easy jogging for just a few seconds during the walk. I really try to listen to my body too. Giving birth is a BIG deal for our bodies and we shouldn’t take it lightly. If I start to not feel right or too exhausted then it’s time to stop. I admit this can be hard for me since I really can’t wait to just get out there and pound the pavement but it’s necessary for my health.
I also stay very hydrated by drinking a lot of water and watch for bleeding. If any bleeding happens (which luckily it hasn’t yet) then I know it’s time to stop.
Although walking doesn’t provide that same exact “outlet” I get from running, it does help tremendously during this time. It gives me time to be alone (well, sometimes) and provides a way for me to feel like I’m getting back to myself again. It also does help with weight loss and can be just as effective as running in terms of that. So don’t discount getting out there for a walk! You’re doing more than you think.
Luckily, my 6 week appointment is approaching and I can get more advice and clearance from my doctor. I am really looking forward to getting back to regular workouts and running but I know it will take some time to get there and build back up.
Either way, please remember to consult your physician before doing any type of exercise postpartum. The doctor’s orders should always come first!
I want to encourage you to follow along in my health journey through what I learn and experience. I hope there is something you can take away from Fit Busy Female that inspires you to start taking control of your health and feeling better every day.