New mums have so much to deal with, on top of being sleep-deprived and learning how to create a routine with a newborn, it’s no surprise that the thought of even trying to fit exercise into your new routine can be an overwhelming one! Incorporating movement into your life again when the time is right may in fact may help you feel like yourself again, aiding in getting a better night’s sleep, giving you an energy boost and reducing stress levels. We sat down with Clique co-founder, Carena, to talk to her about her exercise journey as a new mum and to see what advice she has to the new mums out there in the Clique community.
Getting back into an exercise routine after having a baby can be difficult. As a new mum yourself, can you tell us about your experience? When did you know it was the right time to start exercising again?
My experience was an interesting one, as we went into lockdown about two weeks after I gave birth to Emily. I wasn’t that worried about getting into an exercise routine to be honest, but to get out of our little house and get some fresh air was great for my mental state so I’d often put Emily in the pram and go for walks (we live in the country so mostly just up and down our long driveway!).
Your body goes through a lot of changes when you have a baby, what type of exercise did you start out with that was gentle on your body?
After my obstetrician approved me starting exercise again (at about 6 weeks after birth) I started out with a postnatal pilates class. The class focused on building up the strength of your pelvic floor and internal abdominal muscles, both of which suffer during pregnancy and birth. The classes do seem very simple at first, but they are really all about concentrating on activating these muscles without others taking over, which is harder than it seems! Postnatal classes are also great as you can usually take your baby along with you, and no one minds if they get fussy or you need to stop to tend to them.
“I loved wearing my CLIQUE light compression tights right through my pregnancy. I went up a size in the third trimester but I love the way I felt ‘held in’ and supported when I had a tummy, and post baby they offered great support as well.”
We all know being a mother means that you don’t have the same routine or time that you used to have and you’re often sleep deprived! How have you dealt with this and what have you done to help you get back into a routine?
I’m still trying to get back into a routine to be honest! You just have to do what works for you and your schedule, and don’t stress too much if you can’t make it work for that particular day/week! Some days having a rest is much better for you than getting steps in or a sweat up.
We all know about the benefits of exercise, did exercise help you adapt to becoming a new mum?
Being able to go for walks with Emily was a welcome break from the day to day stress of being a new mum. I had a bout of hormone anxiety for about eight months after having Emily which I had never experienced before, and being able to take some time out was incredibly helpful.
Where do you get your motivation to exercise from?
I find that I am more energetic when I exercise regularly, so it is important to me to do some form of exercise when I’m feeling flat. I don’t look at exercise as a punishment, so I always do things that I enjoy like going for a walk, yoga or Pilates. I also love horse riding but I haven’t done that since before I had Emily as my tailbone was broken!
What would you like to say to new mums that may be starting back on their exercise journey, do you have any top tips?
- Make sure that your primary care physician or midwife has given you the okay to get back into exercise
- Exercise for the enjoyment of it, not to “shift baby weight”
- Start light, or with a postnatal class that your baby can join you at
- Don’t be in a rush to get back to where you were before baby – you may end up causing unnecessary damage. Sometimes it is a mental struggle if you were fit and strong before you were pregnant, but it’s not a race, and you will get back there eventually!