Using an elliptical to get back into shape after giving birth
The elliptical is one of the most complete home fitness machines. Most importantly, it reproduces natural body movements, enabling you to regain your figure with ease. It’s an excellent choice for getting fit again after pregnancy!
Training without trauma
Pregnancy and childbirth can take their toll on a young mother’s body: muscles, joints and tendons can all undergo some rather harsh treatment. So to resume exercising after your baby’s birth, you need to follow some rules to make sure you’re treating your body right.
First, you should complete a period of perineal reeducation, also known as pelvic floor rehabilitation. It’s essential that you re-strengthen your pelvic floor, which supports the weight of your organs and can become distended during pregnancy. Then, during your postnatal follow-up, get the go-ahead from your health professional (gynecologist, physiotherapist or midwife) who will make sure that you’re physically ready to start working out.
Also remember to be reasonable and listen to your body. If you are tired or if you have pain (joint, muscle or other), it means it’s probably too early to resume exercising. Don’t just set an arbitrary date. It’s also not a good idea to simply copy what you did after a previous pregnancy, or rely on the experience of a friend, because each pregnancy is different. Recovery time can last anywhere from 8 to 15 weeks.
Finally, choose the right way to restart training!
Determine what kind of activities suit your goals
Your choice of activity is important. Post-childbirth, your pelvic floor is still fragile, so you need to exercise in a way that avoids any heavy impact. For example, you can forget about jumping rope!
You need an activity that you can gradually increase in intensity, aligned with your progress. Last but not least, choose something that suits your tastes and your desires. The best activity is one that will put you in a good mood - something you’ll enthusiastically look forward to doing.
That being said, motivation won’t be enough on its own. You need to be able to fit your workouts into your already busy schedule as the mother of a newborn. Between baby bottles, diapers, naps and playtime with your baby, you won’t have a lot of time to go to the gym. The solution? Get a home fitness device and exercise at home. That way, you can take advantage of every free moment. When your baby sleeps, for example, you can get in a quick session: seize your moment! You can try an exercise bike or an elliptical, or even a treadmill (rowing machines are too demanding on the back to be the first machine you use after pregnancy).
Ellipticals: the most natural way to train
Among your home fitness equipment choices, the elliptical is particularly conducive to a smooth reentry into the world of fitness. It’s got a lot going for it:
- It reproduces natural movements and generates no impact
- It goes easy on your joints, which have been weakened by pregnancy
- It distributes the weight of your body evenly on both your legs, and works your muscles in a balanced way, without needlessly twisting any parts of your body, and sparing your back
- It’s easy to use: you really can’t make a false move or adopt a bad posture
- It enables you to start slowly, and gradually ramp up to go at your own pace
Better yet, an elliptical machine offers a truly complete training, combining a cardio workout to increase your breathing capacity, weight training, and muscle strengthening for the entire body. Your lower body (glutes, hamstrings, tibial muscle, calves, quadriceps, etc.) will get a great workout, as will your abs and back, not to mention your arms. Your biceps are engaged when you pull the handles, while triceps take over when pushing them back. Even your pecs get a workout. Soon, you’ll have regained that body of a goddess you had before you were pregnant!
Make progress by keeping to your schedule
After pregnancy, don’t get hung up on setting goals and planning out your progress. Stay in tune with what your body is telling you, and move at your own pace. But try to train regularly: don’t go a whole week without climbing on your elliptical, for example. A session every two days would be ideal.
The first sessions should be particularly light. Gradually increase the difficulty and duration of your workouts only when you begin to feel your body regaining its flexibility and energy. It is best advised as well to do some gentle stretching after your workout.
One last tip: don’t take lightly your choice of fitness machine. It needs to be stable and solid, and it must encourage fluid and loose movements to make your workouts comfortable. So take advantage of your baby's next nap, and visit NordicTrack’s site to learn more about our ellipticals. Compare different models to understand their various features and choose the one that’s right for you. You’re going to spend hours on your elliptical, so you better like it!