When can I run after giving birth? A PT has a weight
FCalm-loving new moms are often eager to get back to their favorite hobbies once they’ve had enough time and energy—and feel physically ready. You may be wondering, when can I run after giving birth? Traditionally, having a doctor confirm 6 weeks postpartum was considered the green light to return to any and all types of exercise.
But postpartum physiotherapists now say it may be too early to return to something as impactful as running.
”A lot of women go to their healthcare provider, get those six weeks checked, and be told they’re fine and can get back to running, and then they get injured or later they will be traumatized in life. results,” says women’s health physiotherapist Emma Brockwell, co-author of Back to the Postpartum Guide to Running. “I don’t think there was any consideration of allowing them to recover their body to return to impact over a longer period of time.”
Because running puts three to four times your body weight through your system with each stride, stepping back on the pavement too soon can lead to musculoskeletal pain, urinary incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse. . While six weeks used to be the standard waiting period, experts now recommend introducing runs only gradually after you’ve passed a series of tests — this usually doesn’t happen until three to five weeks. six months after birth.
“Your body has changed dramatically. A lot of muscles have become weak, and like any major injury, it takes time for the body to return to that state of readiness,” says Brockwell.
Make sure you can pass these five checks before you hit the road.
1. Do you have any of these symptoms?
While it’s best to see a pelvic floor specialist, women can check themselves out by checking for the following symptoms:
- urinary or bowel incontinence
- Urgent urination or defecation is difficult to delay
- Heaviness or bulging sensation in the pelvic area
- Lower back pain or pelvic pain
- Decreased abdominal strength and function
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms—or just general discomfort—your body still needs more time to recover.
2. Is your body ready for action?
Before you start running again, it’s best to test your body with less impactful exercises. Can you do each of these without pain, heaviness, drag, or uncontrollability?
- 30 minutes walk
- Balance on one leg for 10 seconds
- Jog in place for one minute
- Jump on the spot
- Transition limit
Assess whether you feel comfortable walking, swimming, or cycling to assess your strengths and weaknesses. Brockwell suggests, “Do some low-impact exercise for a few weeks and regain some of your strength.
3. Are your major muscle groups strong enough?
Brockwell recommends starting a strength program the first week after giving birth but keep it light from the start. These can be gentle Pilates and bodyweight-only exercises like squats and lunges. Weight can be added gradually over about three to six weeks. (But if lifting weights is painful, hold on a little longer.)
“It’s about constantly checking and listening to your body to make sure it’s tired but not sore when you do these exercises,” says Brockwell.
To make sure the major muscle groups are prepared for running, you can do 20 reps of each of the following exercises:
- Lifting calves with one leg
- One-legged bridge
- Stand on one leg
- Side leg lift
Also very important? Pelvic floor exercises.
“’Initially, just ‘little and often’ whether you are lying on your side or sitting down and nursing your baby. Over time, it’s about trying to do pelvic floor exercises in an upright position, which is better suited to running. Ideally, make sure you can do the hold for 10 seconds, for 10 repetitions while standing,” says Brockwell.
4. Have you rested enough?
Rest and sleep are imperative for recovery—however, one baby can lead to months of sleeplessness. “Women need to ask themselves if they are getting enough rest to meet their running needs. Also provides good energy and good moisturizing,” says Brockwell.
Are you constantly dragging and feeling like you need caffeine to function? Then your body won’t be able to handle the physical stress of running. Sleep deprivation in athletes has been linked to an increased risk of injury, impaired general health, and increased stress. Insomnia can also slow down muscle repair after exercise.
5. Do you have the right equipment?
While you may spend a lot of time worrying about what your child will wear every day, don’t forget about yourself. If possible, buy a sports bra that fits personally for support rather than compression for increased comfort. More and more active momswear brands like Sweat & Milk sell supportive leggings and nursing tops.
Feet can grow during pregnancy, so your old shoes may no longer fit properly. Get supportive shoe advice from an active store.
“It is these little things that can make such a difference to your integration getting back to work and making it so much more comfortable,” says Brockwell.
And if you’re considering going with a stroller, go for a dedicated stroller with five-point baby harnesses, fixed front wheels, hand-operated brakes, rear wheel suspension, pneumatic tyres, three gear and wrist strap. BOB and Thule are both commonly recommended brands. (Though note that strollers shouldn’t be run until your baby is six to nine months old to protect her neck and spine.)
Your next steps
Even if you pass all of these tests, you still need a bowel exam. “Even for women with no symptoms, giving birth can be quite stressful. So it’s a case of [asking yourself], Do I have enough strength to go back to running?” Brockwell said.
When you feel ready, start with a gradual walking program: Start with a brisk walk with one- or two-minute intervals of running at an easy pace. Gradually increase the number of runs you are doing with longer and longer intervals as your body feels ready.
Continue to pay attention to how you feel and step back or stop running altogether if you feel heaviness, grogginess, urinary incontinence, or moderate to severe pain. Mild musculoskeletal pain (no more than 3/10 on the pain scale) that goes away quickly after running is fine.
And to make sure you’re getting enough rest to recover properly, increase your sleep quota by aligning naps with your baby’s sleep schedule. And make sure to rehydrate properly (especially if you’re breastfeeding).
Running can be a great mental health tool for new parents, but waiting until your body is ready will ensure that it doesn’t backfire.
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