It’s natural for the female body to change during pregnancy and after birth. Mothers – new or old – know the struggle of getting back that toned body they once had. While it may be easy for some, it’s not the same for everyone, is it? It takes time and hard work, and we understand it all too well. In hopes of helping you get back into shape, we have decided to help you know more about functional training as we are positive it will help you in your fitness journey.
Understanding Functional Fitness
When we talk about functional training, we mean the types of exercises that allow you to move much better in your everyday life. It’s not just about working one muscle at a time but about making all your muscles work together. Functional training is perfect for post-pregnancy fitness as it gives you the chance to rebuild your strength and get your body into shape.
Benefits of Functional Training After Pregnancy
There are many benefits of functional training for women who have just given birth. Let’s take a look at some of them, shall we?
Improved Daily Functionality:
Let’s take, for example, Lunges. Now, new mothers may have tension in their diaphragm and ribs. When you do lunges, the stretches help you to reach up and relieve the tension. This can, in turn, help make it easier for you to carry your child or even strollers up the stairs. You can see how functional training can help you do your daily tasks and chores much easier. The best part? It’s not overly intense, so it supports your recovery without you having to overdo it. It’s a simple and comfortable way to get back in shape.
Core Strength and Stability:
Did you know that exercises like squats can make your core muscles much stronger? It’s true! This is particularly important for your recovery after having a baby because it supports your spine and pelvis.
Increased Pelvic Mobility:
It’s possible for you to experience limited pelvic movement after giving birth. You are not alone. Good news is that functional training can help in making you feel more comfortable and ease any discomfort you might be experiencing.
One of the most common concerns of a mother after giving birth is getting back the flat and toned tummy. Well, thanks to exercises such as squats, lunges, and hip flexor movements, it is quite undemanding to tighten up your belly muscles. When you work on strengthening your abdominal muscles, you can make your tummy look more toned, all the while achieving better posture.
Corrected Alignment and Posture:
Functional training mimics the way your body naturally moves. So, it’s the ideal workout to correct any posture problems that you might have encountered during pregnancy. Because the exercises are done gently, they help in gradually correcting alignment and postures.
Targeted Muscle Groups:
As functional training focuses on important areas like your abs, core, back-supporting muscles, diaphragm, glutes, and pelvic floor muscles, it will help you greatly in your overall being as well as recovery after giving birth.
Gradual and Gentle Approach:
The most progressive and gentle approach to fitness you will find after giving birth to a baby is functional training. With it, you can gradually and gently build your strength back up without overdoing it or hampering your recovery process.
Potential Mental Health Benefits:
It’s completely normal for some women to have postpartum depression or baby blues. Now, we all know that working out can do wonders for your physical as well as mental health. Functional exercises could help feel mentally strong by reducing the stress that comes with being a new mother. Plus, it will increase your energy level as well.
Read more: Exercises to Avoid for Shoulder Impingement
Precautions for Functional Training After Pregnancy
If you want to rebuild your strength or shed some pounds after you have recently given birth, it is imperative that you take it easy and not overwork yourself. So, there are a few things you need to be on the lookout for as you rejoin the world of fitness. Here are some of them:
Avoid High-Impact Cardio:
After giving birth, hormonal changes and breastfeeding can have an impact on your joints. So, you need to avoid high-impact cardio workouts as much as possible, especially if you have just recently given birth, as this can increase your chances of getting injuries.
Focus on Diastasis Recti Again:
It’s completely normal for your body to change after pregnancy, and this includes putting on a few pounds. Diastasis Recti is a condition wherein the two vertical muscles in your abdomen stretch apart and weaken, causing a post-pregnancy pooch. Generally, they heal on their own within six weeks to three months. If you want to speed up the healing process, you could try deep-breathing exercises for your belly and work on strengthening your pelvic floor. It would be best if you could avoid exercises like planks, sit-ups, crunches, and straight-leg raises, as they can make Diastasis Recti worse.
If you are into swimming, you need to bear in mind that for those who have just recently given birth, the chances of getting infection while you are still healing increase. So, it’s best you get the “All clear” sign from your doctor before getting back into the pool.
C-section is considered a major surgery. So, it goes without saying that you need to take it easy. Even if you want to workout right away, it’s best if you talk with your doctor and do it under the guidance of a professional fitness trainer.
It’s absolutely understandable to want to jump back into the world of fitness to rebuild strength and get back to your old self after pregnancy. We know all too well how important it is for mothers to take care of themselves physically and mentally while at the same time not overdoing it. Thankfully, functional training exists to make life much easier for women post-pregnancy. However, we do advise that you do it under the guidance of professional personal training, either in-person or through online zoom classes, in order to avoid injuries or hampering your healing process.