Pre & Post Natal Fitness with Nikki JohnstonJul 12, 2023
Movement is medicine! Dr. Sarah Lea and Nikki Johnson, mom, certified personal trainer, and pregnancy to postpartum fitness coach, discuss the best ways to approach pre and post natal fitness, from both a physical and mental perspective. They also share their personal pregnancy and postpartum fitness journeys!
At its core, fitness is just movement - and movement is an essential, unavoidable (and pleasurable) part of our existence! The thought of “exercise” in pregnancy and postpartum can seem intimidating, so one helpful approach can be to think of perinatal fitness less as training but rather as preparing for this physically demanding event by rebalancing strength and tension within the body. Working with a pelvic physiotherapist in conjunction with a trainer, even one or two sessions, is a helpful assessment of the kind of changes your body may be undergoing and therefore the type of exercise it needs. Sometimes a pelvic floor requires relaxing, and not strengthening, for labour. If you struggle with the thought of exercise in your pregnancy journey, working with a pre-and-post natal fitness professional can really help lessen the sense of intimidation. Try thinking of it as movement curated by somebody who has been there, done that, and tested it!
Another helpful tip is to remember that doing some fitness is better than none at all! We all have busy lives and sometimes all we have is 20 minutes. Consistency is more important than the length of your workout! Also remember that time for recovery is important. When it comes to the postpartum period, Nikki recommends the 5-5-5 Protocol right after birth; spending 5 days in bed whether that is breastfeeding or just bonding with baby, 5 days near bed, and 5 days with gentle movement around the house. We are not as fragile as some may feel during that time, but not pushing too hard too soon is key. The same can be applied for returning to running postpartum, which can be a rather strenuous activity on the pelvic floor. In recent years, a more normal return to running protocol has been developed, including exercises that test your readiness.For more information on returning to running postpartum tune into our episodes on Exercise During Pregnancy & Postpartum and Returning to Running after Cesarean Birth.
And always remember - every body is different!
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