Many new mothers want to establish a routine running habit to lose excess baby weight, gain more energy and take some time alone for themselves. Postpartum fitness is the perfect way to get the body back into shape after pregnancy. Lack of sleep, a fussy baby and a hectic routine can leave mom feeling exhausted. Running can give postpartum women both short- and long-term benefits, including an efficient workout that will help the day go more smoothly, better sleep habits, a boost in confidence and weight loss. Here are five reasons to strap on some running shoes and get fit.
1. It’s convenient
Many mothers find running on a treadmill can provide many health benefits and find it convenient for a busy lifestyle. Mom can fit in brief exercise routines while the baby is napping or asleep in the early mornings or night hours. Running on a treadmill is also easier on the body, especially the knees. Even a few minutes of postpartum fitness is better than no exercise at all. If a babysitter isn't available come workout time, turning on some music and allowing the baby to watch can help new moms fit exercise into their daily schedule.
2. Boosts mental agility
Running has been proven to improve attitude and create a general sense of happiness. This is often due to the rush of endorphins that create euphoria, referred to in the fitness world as a runner’s high. For this reason, running has been used for centuries to reduce fatigue, minimize tension and stress and reduce or eliminate the effects of depression.
3. Sheds baby fat
Many new moms decide to begin running in order to lose baby weight. Running is one of the best cardio exercises to help burn fat. It can be done to lose anywhere from five to 50 pounds or simply used to manage one's current weight. Running burns more calories per minute than most other cardiovascular exercises, coming in second only to cross-country skiing.
4. Improves health
Running on a regular basis helps postpartum women improve their general health. It not only aids in weight loss, but running can also raise HDL – or good – cholesterol, reduce the risk of developing blood clots and encourage lung capacity by up to 50 percent. Running also creates a higher amount of lymphocytes (white blood cells) that help ward off disease.
5. Reduces disease
Postpartum exercise has several major advantages that can help drastically reduce the risk of developing various illnesses and diseases. Running decreases the risk of breast cancer, stroke, diabetes, hypertension and osteoporosis. It can also help reduce the risk of heart attack by lowering blood pressure and strengthening the heart. Running is often prescribed to patients as part of their medical regimen due to the many benefits it provides.
It takes persistence and hard work to get back to a pre-pregnancy weight but it's possible. Postpartum exercise can seem overwhelming at the beginning, especially with a newborn, but it is possible to fit running into a chaotic schedule. Running post-baby is key to providing new moms with the energy to help take care of their families.
Holly is a stay-at-home mother who recently welcomed her third baby. She enjoys yoga, competing in marathons and blogging on behalf of Sears and other brands she trusts.