New Year, New You–Easy Exercises To Get Back Into Working Out
Finding time to work out as a new or expecting mom
We’ve all seen how quickly a single missed workout can turn into a full-on exercise hiatus. The more time passes, the harder it is to find the motivation to get moving again. But, if you’re reading this, you know how important it is to push through those feelings and embrace a new workout routine.
Whether you’re still expecting or busy adjusting to life as a new parent, regular exercise can help reduce stress, boost your mood, raise energy levels, promote heart health, and improve sleep quality. During pregnancy, working out can also help relieve discomfort, prepare your body for labor, and reduce your chances of developing gestational diabetes.
It’s never too late to start giving your body the love and attention it deserves (aka regular physical activity). So, let’s talk about some of the easiest ways to get back into working out after taking a break.
Ease back into working out with bodyweight exercises
Here are some of our favorite beginner exercises that can help get your blood pumping and get your body used to moving again:
Squats and lunges: They’re famous for their booty-boosting powers, but squats and lunges are really whole-body exercises. While you feel the burn in your legs and glutes, your back and abdomen muscles are hard at work stabilizing your body. Just make sure to use the correct form for your squats and lunges!
Push-ups: This classic exercise is an excellent workout for your arms, abs, and chest while still engaging your hips and legs. If you can’t do a full push-up yet, you can do a modified version—lower to your knees when doing push-ups on the ground or do standing push-ups against a sturdy wall.
Planks: Planks work every part of your core, which can help protect you from exercise injuries down the line. If isometric holds sound like torture, try passing the time by introducing tiny movements into your plank, such as adding leg lifts or rocking back and forward on your feet.
Walking: The perfect compliment to bodyweight workouts, walking is a great way to add exercise to your day without putting too much extra strain on your muscles. For the most benefit, try walking as fast as you comfortably can or switching between brisk walking and leisurely walking.
Swimming and water workouts: Swimming is a safe and beneficial form of exercise and a low-impact way to stay active throughout all three trimesters of your pregnancy. Water helps support the extra weight while allowing you to exercise all the major muscle groups without putting as much pressure on your joints, unlike running or jogging. However, you should ensure that the water is no more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit and is clean to avoid risks of any water-borne illness.
If you like a bit of direction in your workout, you can find tons of free beginner workout videos online. Variety is the spice of life and is an essential ingredient to any long-term exercise practice. Aerobics, yoga, dancing, weightlifting, swimming—try it all, and have fun with it!
Remember, talk with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise program, especially if you’re pregnant.
Setting fitness goals
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends the same amount of exercise during pregnancy and postpartum: at least 150 minutes (two and a half hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. That’s a good goal to target, but it’s okay if you need time to work up to it.
When exercising again after a long break, you may need to start with five to ten minutes of exercise a few days a week. As your brain and body get used to the added physical activity, you can start increasing the length and intensity of your workouts. Any exercise is better than nothing!
Working out is an act of self-love that comes with a long list of physical and mental health benefits. As you get back into your practice, remember to listen to your body and try not to push yourself too hard at first. Instead, focus on finding exercises that you enjoy. When you like working out, you’re way more likely to stick with it long enough to start seeing results!
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Please note: JunoDx.com and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.