Physical exercise during postpartum recovery

The first six weeks after giving birth is when the body undergoes the most dramatic changes because it begins to readjust back to its pre-pregnancy state. In this article we explore all the aspects to keep in mind so that future or new mothers can have an ideal postpartum recovery and return to their exercise routine without danger.

The postpartum recovery process begins immediately after childbirth when the uterus begins to contract repeatedly. Loquios (which contains blood, mucus, and placental tissue) also begins to deflate and discharge little by little for about four to six weeks.

The pelvic floor also begins to gradually regain its strength during this period. Breast size also increases and they feel much heavier as the milk accumulates due to increased hormone levels which, in turn, increase the blood supply to the milk production area.

In addition to this, you may also experience back pain, postpartum depression, anaemia and urinary disorders, as well as physical fatigue due to the demands of motherhood or lack of sleep caused by the new family member.

Returning to exercise after childbirth

A gradual recovery is essential for a smooth transition to motherhood, with the goal set on achieving maximum well-being rather than on increasing aerobic fitness fitness or losing weight.

In fact, muscles stretched during pregnancy may require up to nine months more to return to their original shape and be completely renewed and with a certain degree of functional strength. In addition, it should not be forgotten that breastfeeding requires adequate rest and a good diet, so that goals should never go short term towards aesthetics.

However, the benefits of long-term postnatal exercise will be very important for these aspects, to the point that all postnatal mothers should be aware of the advantages and establish a regular exercise routine of some kind as soon as they feel prepared both physically and mentally.

Some of these benefits are:

  • Faster healing and energy recovery to cope with the demands of motherhood
  • Reduction of stress and depression (postpartum sadness) through a greater sense of well-being
  • Return to pre-pregnancy shape and strength levels in a shorter time.
  • Weight loss and reduction of body fat.
  • Increased strength and endurance.
  • Improved posture and flexibility.
  • Stop osteoporosis and increase bone density.
  • Strengthening of the abdomen and pelvic floor muscles.
  • Develop a new social circle of friends and healthy, sporting people who will benefit you and your baby.
  • Reinforce self-esteem and the idea that you are a healthy woman.
  • Improve self-confidence.

Cases not recommended for postpartum exercise

It should be borne in mind that there are several cases in which returning to exercise after childbirth is not recommended. For example, when the levels of fatigue or exhaustion are high, when the perineum remains unhealed, in the case of persistent vaginal bleeding, if you have anemia, or if you have developed mastitis, ie inflammation and infection of the sinuses.

There are a number of considerations that must be addressed when determining the right time to return to a regular exercise routine. Whether or not you are a first-time mother, being ready for exercise will depend on several individual factors, which should be determined in conjunction with the gynecologist or obstetrician.

Many mothers are advised to wait until six weeks before starting an exercise program and getting approval from their midwife. However, some mothers, especially those who have exercised regularly before and during their pregnancy, may be allowed to exercise again 1 to 2 weeks after the baby’s arrival.

The type of delivery can affect the return to the exercise routine.

The type of delivery, either by vaginal section or by cesarean section, will affect the rate of recovery. A mother who gives birth through a cesarean section will be recommended to have much more supervision before she is allowed to return to any form of exercise.

In most of these cases, any type of exercise should be avoided at all during the first three days, as well as no heavy lifting movements during the first six weeks. Your doctor may suggest several exercises to help your recovery and reduce the risk of blood clots, which can be done during this period.

On the other hand, in a vaginal delivery in which an episiotomy is performed, it may be necessary to put some stitches so that the wound can be sutured and avoid small losses. These stitches may be uncomfortable and painful even while the wound is healing and may interfere with the baby’s care.

Although certain pain medications are available, it is important to take short walks and have frequent breaks to help the recovery process. On the other hand, starting pelvic floor strengthening exercises 24 hours after childbirth can help reduce discomfort and pain.

However, before returning to exercise, you should make sure that the stitches are largely or fully healed and that you are not experiencing any significant pain.

Physical exercise, Good idea to lose weight

Is it a good idea to exercise to lose weight? In principle, the answer should be yes, without a doubt. But not just any physical exercise and any form of exercise will do. In our Blog we talk about physical exercise on top of a bicycle.

It’s the sport we master and we’re most interested in it. That’s why we talk about food and the energy needed to ride a bike. We have also talked to you about fasting training, nutrition and cycling issues that are necessary when we consider training. Today we talk about losing that with the sport of cycling.

Losing weight with physical exercise

Physical exercise combined with a balanced and specific diet is perhaps the best way to lose weight. Our body creates energy from different substances. Glucose, amino acids, proteins, and fats. How much of each of them is consumed with exercise depends mainly on three issues:

  • the type of exercise we practice,
  • the duration of the exercise session,
  • and the intensity of the exercise.

For example, the more intense the exercise, the more glucose is consumed. As we have already spoken in other entries the glucose that we burn comes partly from the glycogen stored in our organism. This glycogen is stored in the muscles and liver.

This substance is the first source of energy, when the amounts of this substance are running out, our body begins to pull other sources. The fats and proteins of the muscles come into play. The problem with this phase is that fatigue is increasing and the high intensity of exercise cannot be maintained for long.

The longer the exercise, the more fat we consume. It will depend as much on our weight as on the distance covered in the exercise. The more weight the athlete has, the more energy he or she uses for the same exercise.

Cycling and weight loss

Being overweight is one of the consequences of the kind of life we lead. A sedentary life in which everything goes very fast. We make use of fast food on working days, we do not have defined schedules for meals. Finally the daily hustle and bustle does not help, then we spend many hours sitting.

As much in the working day, as in the displacements to the work center. If we add to that possible organic imbalances that lead to the accumulation of fat, overweight is a reality. When overweight is an obvious problem, we usually try to put a brake on it.

The problem is that we have let it pass a lot. And then when we put on we want to lose all the weight gained, in the shortest time possible. If you think this is fast and simple, stop reading. We are not going to deceive you this overweight is not lost as fast as it seems to be gained.

An example in a demanding cyclist of about two hundred kilometers or six hours of pedaling, a well trained cyclist can lose a hundred and fifty grams of fat. If that person needed to lose six kilos in a year, he would need to do about forty similar tests during the year.

It’s not every week that we can put in equivalent sessions, right? It is also true that a trained person does not usually need to lose six kilos of weight. In outings of about seventy kilometers we can lose about fifty grams more or less. That distance is within the possibilities of a wider range of athletes.

With two or three sessions a week we will be in the order of one hundred and fifty grams of loss. At the end of the year we could be close to a weight loss of six kilos. But no matter how much we do this physical exercise, if we do not accompany it with a balanced diet we will not be able to maintain that weight loss.

Tips for losing weight while doing sport

We already know that when we practice sports with sufficient intensity and duration, we lose weight. However, if at the same time we do not implement a diet and healthy habits in terms of nutrition that loss is impossible to maintain over time.

Having this clear there are a number of guidelines or “good habits” in terms of food that will help us and a lot. For example, the relationship between total calories and different food groups is something that must be taken care of. So things of the total calories the carbohydrates should be fifty-five percent. Fats cannot be above thirty percent. And protein by fifteen percent. As for the amount of food will depend on the intensity and duration of exercise, as well as weight control that we carry.

Carbohydrates must be complex carbohydrates, which contain starch, fibre, vitamins and minerals. These substances enter the anaerobic metabolism of which we have already spoken. They will give us the calories we need.

These complex carbohydrates are those given by pasta, cereals, vegetables and fruit. Other foods that a sportsman’s diet should include are those rich in vitamin D, E and C, and folic acid. From dairy, fish, cereals, legumes, vegetables, fruits such as pineapple, kiwi, citrus in general.

Vegetable oils, cereals, peanuts or egg yolk. Foods that have calcium, such as dairy products, nuts, and vegetables. Iron found in meats, liver, and cereals. Others that have Selenium and Zinc, such as shellfish, nuts, cheese and meat.

Physical exercise involves the loss of fluids via perspiration. This loss drags mineral salts and carbohydrates. Therefore, the intake of drinks containing these compounds is not only recommended, but very necessary.

Before the long sessions you should eat foods with a lot of carbohydrates and little fat. The truth is that it is complicated that the same diet is good for everyone. Each organism responds differently to each food, and we must remember that eating should not be something traumatic and yes something that we want. We would give you one last recommendation, look for a sports nutritionist if you are losing the fight with overweight.