How to Return to the Gym After Child Birth

Pregnancy fitness blog photoBody of Misinformation

Exercise after childbirth is great for promoting mood stability and keeping your energy levels high.  If done the right way, increased physical activity can expedite the healing process, stave off depression and keep you positive and proactive in balancing and managing your new lifestyle.  One major challenge that women face, however, is finding ways to get back into the gym and build an effective and feasible workout plan.

Consulting With Your Doctor

Women will typically need between four and six weeks to recover from the birthing process, before they are physically ready to adopt and maintain stringent workout routines.  Talking with your physician will help you to determine when is the best time to start aggressively working out.  Fortunately, new moms can rely on professional fitness trainers to help them establish workout plans that are best reflective of their new needs.

Muscle Memory And Pregnancy Fitness

If you are serious about reclaiming your pre-pregnancy physique, the best time for maintaining a solid and consistent workout plan is during your actual pregnancy.  Prenatal yoga and Pilates classes abound.  Remaining consistent in your workout plan throughout pregnancy will increase muscle memory, whereby the various muscle groups retain their tone and definition after childbirth and the process of returning to pre-pregnancy fitness levels is greatly simplified.

After The Baby Is Born

It is always a good idea to consult with a personal trainer after having had your child, especially if you are attempting to traverse the delicate line between weight loss and offering your child optimal nutrition through breast milk.  Not only can your trainer show you different workout strategies for slowly rebuilding core strength and promoting gradual fat loss, but this individual can also give you nutritional tips that will ensure that you are giving your body all that it needs for the ongoing process of milk production.

More importantly, trainers emphasize gradual, healthy weight loss.  This will allow you to adopt a plan that is in line with your body’s ability to recover after pregnancy.  Rather that implementing strict and calorie-deficient diet and exercise plans that will throw the metabolism into starvation mode, women who work with trainers can instead, use this time to pamper themselves, improve their overall health, regain systemic balance and boost their metabolic functioning.

Taking Classes 

There are a number of low-impact and even non-impact exercise programs that ladies can engage in.  In addition to minimizing the stress that is placed on the joints and bones, these activities also help to foster optimal spinal alignment.  After carrying excess weight for several months, many women suffer from pinched and compressed nerves, especially compression of the sciatic nerve.  Putting the body back in motion and engaging in activities that lengthen, elongate and realign the spine is therefore ideal.  Thus, the best place to start a new post-natal routine is often in beginning or intermediate yoga classes, especially those classes that have a post-natal focus.  There are also water-based exercise classes that help to loosen sore stiff muscles and serve as the perfect introduction to physical fitness training for women who did not workout before or during their pregnancies.

Using Equipment And Building Strength And Endurance

Women will find that there is an incredible range of gym resources for every level of fitness.  Thus, as they increase in flexibility, strength and endurance, they can look forward to high-energy Zumba classes, training with fee weights, cardiovascular equipment and innovative weight machines and systems.  There is also an extensive array of children’s programs available, for keeping little ones occupied throughout their various stages of development.

How to Incorporate Swimming into Your Workout

swim blog pic 1Did you know that swimming can help to shave off pounds while providing a great cardiovascular workout? In fact, swimming can also help build endurance by the sheer fact that time in the pool is more easily sustained by most athletes than time on the track. This means that you can burn calories by working out for longer periods of time, and have more fun in the process!

Swimming, regardless of experience level or age group, can be your primary workout or year-round complement to your regular, physical-fitness regimen. Aside from the cardiovascular and endurance benefits that swimming offers, most pools are open year-round, which translates to staying in shape during the off-season and avoiding any unsightly, post-holiday weight gain.

Cardiovascular Workout 

Swimming consistently and using the proper technique provides an unparalleled balance between a sustainable cardiovascular workout and endurance training. Swimming is such a good cardiovascular and aerobic workout because it requires a constant supply of oxygen to the body’s muscles vis-a-vis long exercise times. Because swimming can usually be sustained for longer periods of time than running or other higher-impact workouts, staying active in the pool can help burn more calories and sidestep the harmful effects of stress, per any sustained aerobic activity.

Physique and Cross Training

Swimming is said to promote the growth of lean, long muscles. These lean, long muscles actually complement dense and compact muscles that are created through weight training. Aside from building both muscle systems, coupling swimming with other forms of cardiovascular exercise helps ensure that you keep your figure while keeping your metabolism high – the lean, long muscles bolstered through swimming can keep metabolism and the body’s calorie-burning mechanisms high.

Working out in the pool increases muscle strength and allows for a year-round cardiovascular workout. In addition, swimming can give your body a break from higher-impact workouts, such as weight training or distance running. By crafting a workout regimen that couples different muscle systems and levels of impact, you can be assured of improving your physique and even sidestepping injury. Athletes who grind away on the track all day are more prone to injury and exhaustion than athletes who incorporate swimming and other low-impact exercises into their routine.

Increased Core Strength and Flexibility 

Swimming helps to enhance core conditioning as it uses different muscle systems at the same time. That said, about three-fourths of a swimming workout comes via the muscles in the upper body, so incorporating a fin or kick-board regimen can ensure that you’re using both upper and lower muscles during your time in the pool. Also, just the fact that swimming involves an upper and lower workout sets it above running in some respects; swimming can usually be sustained longer than running, which suggests swimming could burn more calories over the long haul.

Working out in a heated pool relaxes muscles and facilitates stretching and flexibility. As an added benefit, swimming after a weight-training regimen that burns lactic acid at a high rate can ensure that toxins are flushed out of your system. Flushing out toxins can help prevent next-day soreness, which means you can be back in the pool and burning calories in record time!

How to Get Back Into a Fitness Routine

running couple closeMany people find themselves suddenly realizing that they have lost themselves. Life gets hectic, children are born and you become busy. One thing that suffers is your health and fitness, unfortunately. Making sure that you take care of yourself is an important part of taking care of those that you care about. Getting back into a fitness routine is one of the toughest tasks you might face and it may require a little work. There are several things that you can do to ease back into a fitness routine without feeling like you are climbing up a mountain.

Find Time

The first thing you want to consider is how much time you have to devote to a fitness routine. This will help you find a routine that fits your lifestyle and prevent you from failing by trying to cram a fitness routine where it simply won’t fit. Even if you are going to devote one hour every other day, you can be on your way to a fitness routine that will give you excellent results.

Find Motivating Choices

Remember that a fitness routine doesn’t have to mean weight lifting or riding an exercise bike. You might find that there are other forms of exercise that fit your needs and will be exciting for you at the same time. You might want to consider signing up for a fitness class where you can build relationships while you are working out. This is a good way to develop an accountability plan. It is often easier to go to class and work out if you know someone else might be looking for you. It is also easier if you are doing some exercise routines as a group and experiencing the ups and downs together.

Exercise for Stress Release

Many people find that using their workout time or fitness time as an escape and stress reliever is the best way to commit to doing it each day. Making your fitness outing a reward instead of making it something of a chore is the best way to get yourself into the routine of getting the job done. Look forward to your routine so that you can get the benefit while making sure that you don’t feel like you are punishing yourself for being out of shape.

Make Commitments

Another important part of getting back into a fitness routine is making sure that all of those around you, such as your children, your friends and your spouse, realize that you are going to be doing this. Mark it on your daily planner and on the calendar on your refrigerator. Write it in ink so that everyone knows you are unavailable during these times and this is not a time when you will work out if you have nothing else to do. It is an appointment that you are responsible to keep.

Reward Yourself Positively and Consistently

Rewarding yourself for every step you take, especially in the first 30 days, is vital to sticking with it and getting a routine going. The first week will be the most difficult and will be when you are making the workout a regular part of your routine. Take the time to appreciate every step forward you make, whether it is going through your fitness routine for another day or losing another pound. Every bit of progress forward is going to help build the momentum you need to stay strong.

Easing back into a workout routine is not an easy task, but you will be rewarded for the effort. Find the time, make the commitment and refuse to give up.

5 Common Stretching Mistakes We Make

Stretch blog pic 2When you are motivated, it is easy to want to rush right into something. This is true in life as well as in exercising. But skipping the stretch before you work out can not only have you in pain later, but also seriously injure your muscles. Stretching your muscles before you get started also improves your performance and endurance while you work out. In order to get the most out of your workout, you should avoid these five common stretching mistakes.

1. Skipping stretches all together. Many consider a warm up enough and skip stretching all together. But a warm up is only part of getting ready to stretch. Often times, people have a hard time fitting their workout into their schedule and don’t want to waste any of that time doing stretches. But stretches increase blood flow and flexibility that actually increase the benefits of your workout.

2. Over-stretching and ignoring pain. You should be listening to your body, not ignoring pain. While stretching and exercise should push us outside our comfort zone, real pain is your body telling you that you are doing something wrong. It can also lead to you being in pain for days to come that causes you to miss future workouts. Over-aggressive, forceful, and abrupt stretches all defeat the purpose of stretching. Ease into stretches slowly and with control to gain the benefits.

3. Stretching the wrong muscles or isolated muscles. Just stretching an isolated set of muscles, such as your abs or hamstrings does not give you a full stretch. It is important to stretch your whole body, not just isolated parts. It’s also important to understand stretching, as you may think you are stretching one, but it’s another. It’s best to either consult with an expert or do some research to find the right stretches for your goals. Completing a balanced, focused stretching routine that gives you the benefits you are looking for is important.

4. Rushing through the stretches. Many treat stretching like a race, rushing through to the end of them so they can say they did them. However, the essential part of stretching is to ease into it and hold it for the full count to obtain the stretch. Make sure that you get the full stretch, with each repetition try to go a little bit further, but stop before you over-stretch. For static stretches, each one should be held for 20 seconds or more. Slow down and give your body time to adjust to the stretch each time.

5. Just breath. Not just in stretching, but in many exercises, one of the biggest things people forget to do is breath. As you stretch, don’t hold your breath. Instead, remember to calmly breath in and out, releasing tension as you breath out. Holding your breath actually causes your muscles to tighten and resist. While slow, deep breathes encourage relaxation and releasing of tension. This adds to the overall benefit of stretching.

With today’s hectic world, stress and tension are common. Taking a break and stretching at least twice during your day and before workouts can greatly reduce your stress levels and improve your health. Stretching should be considered a bonus rather than a chore that needs to be done. The feeling of being looser and more relaxed can benefit not only your workouts, but your life.