By Kerri Kibbey
You’re exhausted. You just had a baby. You have too many things to do. You don’t feel like working out. The baby is sick. The baby is not cooperative. Your clothes don’t fit. It’s nap time. Any of these excuses sound familiar? Being on bed rest was one of the most challenging things I have done in my life. The doctors tell you to lay down for weeks on end. Returning to exercise after bed rest can be quite difficult.
After several years of fertility treatments and 2 invitros, I finally was pregnant with my son. This was such an exciting time, until at 22 weeks I was placed on full bed rest. After he was born, returning to exercise was difficult. Just when I was starting to feel strong and healthy (took almost a year) I found out I was pregnant again. I was surprised, this was not planned, nor did I even believe I could get pregnant on my own. Now I was scared. I knew the road that may lie ahead for me and this time I had a toddler to worry about it. Again at 22 weeks I went on bed rest. After my daughter was born, I had to jump back into life with both feet! I had a toddler to chase, play dates to keep, a husband that was always traveling and no family around to help, not to mention the daily household chores. A toddler doesn’t understand you just had a baby, he doesn’t understand that you lost all stamina and strength during your bed rest stint. He’s just happy his mommy is back.
Returning to exercise this time was different. I was exhausted. I went from doing absolute nothing on bed rest to chasing an 18 month old toddler and taking care of a newborn. I needed the exercise just for the shear stress release factor. I needed to get my energy and stamina back. My schedule was all off, you just don’t fully appreciate the multiple child juggle until that second baby comes along. I was wreck, I was trying to do all that I did before second baby and I couldn’t. It took me a while to figure out a new routine.
We knew how to work out pre baby, but it’s a whole different story post baby. And it can be a completely different challenge post bed rest. But there are ways to do it. Here are 8 ways to find the new, healthier you after bed rest (always talk to your doctor before beginning a new workout regimen):
- Do a little something active each day. Walk down your street, walk through the mall or just get out of the house. It’s important for your mental and physical health to do something active. Take it slow. Go a little further each day, build that stamina.
- Schedule working out into your day. I make a list each day of “things to do.” I’m more apt to workout if I have it on my list and schedule it into my day. You are NEVER too busy to workout. Health should be your number one priority each day. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day, just make sure you schedule it back in for the next day,
- Join a mommy and me group. There are so many workout options available that you can do with baby. Stroller Stride (Fit4Mom) incorporates baby and toddler in their full body workout groups. Plus this is a great way to meet other moms. Or try a baby and me yoga class. Start now and teach your child the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
- Join a gym with childcare. Find a gym that you are comfortable in, maybe one that offers classes that fit your schedule. Check out their childcare, with and without your child. Ask around for gym/childcare recommendations. There are so many options you will be able to find one that works for you.
- Join an online training group or find a personal trainer. Facebook has become an incredible tool to find personal trainers that you can utilize from the comforts of your own home. After I had my second child I found a trainer that taught out of her home garage and a few friends and I started working out with her. We were able to bring all of our children and they played while we endured a fabulous sweat session.
- Turn exercise into “me time.” Before I was able to place my children in preschool I would wake up early and go for a run. This was my time for myself and I started my day feeling awesome, because I had already got my workout in.
- Sign up for a race. We signed up for a family 5K before my daughters 2nd birthday. I am not a runner, but I was starting to feel stronger and wanted to switch things up. We loaded up the kids in the double stroller and ran a 5K for a great cause. My husband even waited for me at the end so we could cross the finish line as a family.
- Involve the whole family. I’m always trying to find races and activities my children can run to stay active, I love the High Risk Hope Tot Trot because the 3K is family friendly. It’s a simple 1.8 miles that EVERYONE can participate in. We have new moms, families, and toddlers that sign up. The best part is it the track is a figure 8 so you can do all 1.8 miles or cut it short and only finish half. This is such a great way to get back out there and get active after being on bed rest.
Returning to exercise after bed rest is difficult. You can do it! Exercise is great for the mind and body. Take it little by little and eventually your stamina will come back. Set goals and you may even find yourself feeling better about your body post baby than you ever did pre baby. I endured two stints on bed rest and feel stronger and healthier than ever. It’s been 5 years since my son was born, it’s taken me a long time to get here and it wasn’t easy. I just ran my first 10K and couldn’t be prouder with how far I’ve come. But YOU will get your strength back and you WILL be better than before. You are a bed rest mom, you are #NICUstrong! Empower yourself, be a new, healthier, happier YOU!