Congratulations! You’ve just given birth and have a lovely bundle of joy. We know swimmers after giving birth that hop straight back into the pool like they never left, but for others the routine can be a struggle. With less time and less energy, it can feel discouraging when you have to stop and rest more frequently. While it’s not easy to get back into your swimming routine after giving birth, exercise is important. Here are some of our top tips to help you get motivated to return to swimming after giving birth.
Your doctor will provide the best medical advice about when you can safely start swimming after giving birth, so make sure to follow that before getting back into the water. Every woman’s body is unique and will respond differently, so do not be disheartened if you are not back in the water as quickly as others. As a general rule of thumb, you should wait until your six-week check-up before returning to skilling, as this will allow your body to appropriately heal before entering the water. It will provide enough time for vaginal bleeding, called lochia to stop. When the vaginal discharge stops, it signifies that your body is recovering properly.
What are the benefits of swimming after giving birth? Swimming is a great form of exercise that works out all the muscles in your body and is a low-impact exercise that helps improve physical and mental health after giving birth. It can contribute to weight loss and toning your muscles. For mental health, it can be a form of stress relief and helps decrease the effects of postpartum depression.
If you swam before pregnancy, it is great to get your body and mind back into a familiar routine. Even if you are new to swimming, the benefits for your health are rewarding as it will help elevate your mood and energy levels.
Exercise should be made a priority, as it will help you feel more energetic, and the health benefits justify the time investment. In order to get back into exercising, here are some tips:
Hold yourself accountable, and put it into your schedule just like any other appointment, and don’t let yourself cancel unless you have a really good reason to.
Swimming may not be enjoyable at first if your physical health has deteriorated a lot. Create some positive motivation by promising yourself to get a reward! Maybe a little treat after each workout or a new swimsuit, or even watching your favourite TV show afterward. Allow yourself to be rewarded for your exercise and workouts to help get motivated for the next time you visit the pool.
Do you want to lose the baby weight? Get back into swimming? Swimming for a little me-time? Identify why you want to swim and set some manageable goals for you to reach that can help motivate you as needed. If your overall objective seems overwhelming, break it down into smaller goals to tackle each week to reach your goals.
If you feel like your exercise routine is becoming repetitive with the same exercises time and time again, try bringing some variety to it! Work on different swimming strokes, alternate your swimming routine with some dryland training or playing other sports. Keep your routine fun, exciting, and explore new ideas!
We tend to create our own goals, so make sure to think of yourself as a swimmer and not an ex-swimmer, you can practise visualisation exercises of yourself completing the swim, and remember all of your favourite swim experiences from the past and remember the positive emotions that brought you to the sport to begin with.
On one day, you’ll have more energy than the next day. That’s okay! Any exercise is better than none, so don’t worry if you can’t do your full-body workout. Don’t feel bad if you have to skip a day because your energy is low. What’s important is to develop healthy habits and lifestyles. It can be easy to get focused on caring for your family and put your own needs last, we get it. But exercising, along with eating healthily and finding ways to manage stress, are more important than ever now that you’re a parent.
While the first weeks of postpartum might feel challenging as a new parent, it is important to keep in mind the benefits of exercise to not only your body, but your mental health. As your energy levels improve, and you begin getting back in shape, you will be in a great mindset to take care of your new baby and yourself!