7 postpartum fitness tips for servicemembers
Congratulations on the new addition to your family and welcome to motherhood. Your body has been through something amazing and you may not feel comfortable in your postpartum body. That’s perfectly normal. As a new mother, you need to take care of your baby, but it’s also important to take care of yourself. When it comes to getting back into shape, pace yourself and follow your doctor’s orders.
Life with a new baby might mean getting a little creative with your workout, but you can still find ways to reach your fitness goals. After all, your body did grow a human, which basically makes you a superhero, as far as we’re concerned. You probably already know, a healthy diet and regular physical fitness are keys to healthy weight and meeting military fitness standards. But, here are seven more tips to help you embrace fitness after a pregnancy:
1. Check with your doctor. There’s a reason this tip is number one on our list. Every pregnancy and delivery is unique, and your doctor can best address your individual health concerns. Make sure you have the go-ahead from your healthcare professional before you resume your fitness routine or start a new one.
2. Set realistic goals. Even though you’re probably anxious to be back at your pre-pregnancy fitness level, it’s important to be realistic about your progress. Set challenging, but achievable goals. Don’t hesitate to make adjustments to those goals as you go.
3. Start slowly and build up. Jumping back into an aggressive fitness routine too quickly could result in bodily injury. Instead, try a routine that builds intensity as your body gets used to exercising regularly again.
4. Find ways to get active with your baby. A brisk stroll, while your baby is strapped to you in a carrier or lounging in a stroller, can be a great way to establish your fitness foundation. You can also check for local baby-friendly activities in your area, like a “Mommy and Me” yoga class. Your Military and Family Support Center, and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Program can provide you with get-fit resources on the installation and in your community.
5. Don’t do too much, too soon. Listen to your body and slow down if it feels like you’re doing too much. One sign that you may need to cut back on your physical activity is your post-delivery vaginal discharge - called lochia. If the discharge becomes pinker in color, or flows more heavily or restarts, call your doctor as soon as possible.
6. Maintain a healthy diet. Eating right will keep your energy up and help your body adapt to your new exercise program. The Defense Commissary Agency website has recipes and great information on planning and sticking to a healthy diet.
7. Check out your branch’s fitness program. Each service branch has a postpartum fitness program. Check with your unit fitness coordinator/physical training leader or fitness facility to see what specific postpartum training your installation offers. You can also check out the Army Pregnancy and Postpartum Physical Training Program through the Healthy Living section of the Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine.
Above all, remember to follow the advice of your doctor, and seek out a professional health and wellness coach for a customized exercise program. Getting in shape after such a momentous life change may seem difficult, but consistency and hard work can go a long way. Trust us: You can do this.
For more military family resources, visit www.militaryonesource.mil.
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