After my babies, I slowly reintroduced myself to running. It is not only a great way to burn calories but you can do it with or without baby, anywhere, anytime, and without having to brush your hair or change your stained t-shirt. Sounds great already! Celebrities like Reese Witherspoon, Jada Pinkett Smith and Halle Berry have all been reported to shed their baby weight with the help of running. Granted, not all of us have the luxury of a personal trainer and tons of time and energy to train for a marathon to get us back into shape. The good news is that you don’t have to.
We asked personal trainer and fitness expert Megan Tank how to start (or get back into) running after having a baby and these are the tips she gave us:
- You don't have to do a marathon to become fit. You can actually run one mile a day and that is just as/if not better than training for a marathon. Running a mile will prevent injury and will leave you with time for the rest of things you have to do in life. A short 10 minute run can help add years to your life and you reap similar heart health benefits!
- If you are unable to run a mile right now, that's ok! Try walking it first and then once that seems easy, do a walk/run, then more running less walking, until you are running the whole mile. See this post for more about interval training.
- Next, try to challenge yourself and do it faster or add some hills.
When re-introducing your body to exercise, stretching also becomes important for injury prevention. According to Megan the top three muscle groups to stretch after a run are:
- hamstrings - feet hip width apart and slight bend in knees then fold forward from the hips
- quadriceps - stand on one leg and bend your other leg holding onto your foot, and
- calf stretch - put the bottom of your foot against a wall and slightly lean forward.
She suggests holding each stretch (on each side) for 15 – 30 seconds.
If you are not convinced that running is for you but you are interested in incorporating cardio into your life, see this post about exercising postpartum for some great suggestions.
While most healthcare professionals will give their ok to begin exercising six weeks postpartum, it is always recommended that you consult your heathcare provider about what’s best for you. For more about exercise postpartum, read this Q&A from Dr. Pam.
Megan is an experienced personal trainer and has worked closely with physiotherapists to assist clients with rehabilitation. Megan has a degree in Kinesiology and obtained her 200hr Yoga Teacher Training from Open Source Yoga. Her broad range of experience and holistic approach to living a healthy lifestyle helps clients achieve their health and fitness goals.
Megan is passionate about helping people find the type of physical exercise they like to do. She believes that this inspires a new mindset and encourages people make time for the type of physical activities they enjoy. Working out doesn't always mean joining a gym - - and many things can be done at home, outside or at work! Megan has creative ways of training clients outside of fitness facilities, with little or no equipment. She has developed gentle, moderate and intensive training sessions to suit the specific needs of her clients, including those of us with rigid time constraints.
Megan is focused on ensuring clients have proper form when exercising to prevent injury and help them get the most out of the exercise. She brings a balanced approach to nutrition and fitness, including clean eating, moderation and working the right muscle groups for best results. Her workout sessions that integrate strength, cardiovascular fitness, core strength and flexibility into singular exercises for several muscles have proven to be very effective for her clients.