The Checklist, Steps And Exercises You Need To Get Running Again Post-Baby
By Lucy D'Aguilar, Fit & Eats
May 7, 2018
We all hear that running is like therapy, which is true for a lot of people. After having a baby, what could be better than taking 30 minutes to yourself and running out all your tension? I’m not here to be a buzzkill, but there are a few steps you need to take before hitting the tarmac postpartum. Even if you are an avid runner, there are still some hurdles to face first.
First of all, the six-week post-baby checkup is not the be-all and end-all. Your ob-gyn or midwife will be checking for a number of things including the health of your uterus (whether it has returned to its original position) and that your cervix has closed. However, they do not check the integrity of your pelvic floor muscles or for any symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction — all which can be made worse by running.
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Follow This Checklist Before You Begin To Run
If you answer “no” to each statement, then delay starting and seek help from a pelvic floor physiotherapist.
- I don’t leak urine at any point during the day or night.
- I don’t feel pain in my pelvis or hips (including during sex).
- I have mastered my core breath.
- I can create tension in my linea alba.
- I do not hold my breath during exercise.
- I can fully relax my pelvic floor and abdomen (no holding in your belly!).
- I have been doing core re-training post-pregnancy.
- I am at least six months postpartum and/or have been cleared by a pelvic floor physiotherapist.
Visit your friendly pelvic floor physiotherapist — even if you answered “yes” to the questions above, some issues can be asymptomatic and running could cause more issues along the road. During this appointment, they will check the health of your pelvic floor muscles and surrounding muscles such as hip flexors/stabilizers as well as abdominal muscles (to name just a few of the things they do). This is by far the MOST important step in your postpartum recovery and should not be missed!
Complete these exercises to prepare your body for running. I would advise completing two to three circuits using as little rest as possible. Start a few weeks before you want to start running to build up strength.
- 20 deadlifts to forward lunges (alternating legs)
- 20 weighted squats (pick a weight suitable for your level that’s not too light)
- 20 lunges to hop (alternating legs)
- 20 lunges with a step and knee up (10 on one side then switch)
- 20 single leg glute bridges on the stability ball or couch (alternating legs)
Don’t just assume that because your doctor or midwife has cleared you for exercise at six weeks that your body is ready for running right away. Rebuild your strength and retrain your core before hitting the pavement. Focus on a gradual buildup of exercise and ensure you are building a strong foundation.
That being said, happy healthy workouts, mamas!