Your newborn is the best thing that happened to you and you are a proud mommy. Unfortunately, you may have also gained – besides a beautiful baby – a mummy tummy. You are not alone in the world and you probably know this already. One third of new mothers deal with the mummy tummy one year after giving birth, according to new research. Whether you were the sporty and active type before giving birth, it matters less.
What matters more is that if you feel the need to regain your shape and strengthen your body, some exercises are perfect to meet your fitness needs.
When you want to start an exercise program and lose mummy weight, the first thing you need to do is get clearance from your gynecologist. Losing weight after pregnancy can also include a diet, good sleep, a healthy physical training program, and some lifestyle changes and so on.
Moreover, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends new moms to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week, in daily sessions. Biking is such an activity, but it comes with some prescriptions. Today, we will discuss if riding a bike is a proper post-pregnancy workout.
Getting Clearance from Your Doctor
Giving birth comes with its fair share of swelling and discomfort in the genital and abdominal area. If you had a C-section, you may also deal with stitches and specific treatment. If you want to ride a bike as a post-pregnancy workout, you need to wait until your first post-partum checkup, which takes place at about six weeks after the delivery.
Usually, after a caesarian, you should wait at least eight weeks to engage in physical exercise, especially biking, but specialists agree that your doctor will be the one offering the best piece of advice depending on your personal situation.
Ease Your Way into Exercise
If you are a beginner in exercise, fitness, and workouts, you should start slowly. Experts from Mayo Clinic recommend you start with something simple – a daily walk. Since you should be active at least 150 minutes a week, you can walk half an hour every weekday. If you do not feel fully recovered yet, you can split the daily 30 minutes into smaller sessions, walking three times a day for just 10 minutes.
Kegel exercises and pelvic tilts are excellent if you want to strengthen and tone the pelvic floor and the abdominal muscles – especially the ones affected by the C-section.
As you regain self-confidence and strength in your body, you can start engaging in moderate intensity exercises. Biking is healthy and fun and you should do it only when and if you are ready. If you had a hard birth, complications, you needed stitches, and other interventions, wait until your OB/Gyn clears you.
Get the Right Bike for You
Even if you cycled before, you still need to check your old bike and see if it is a good fit for you. If you are an entry-level biker, an entry level mountain bike with a large comfort seat offering full support to your hip and pelvic area is the best choice you can make.
Besides the fact that a bike should be easy to handle, lightweight, and safe, you also should pay attention to its saddle, as it will make or break cycling for you. After pregnancy, you need to change your old saddle or buy a new one featuring a hole in the center and gel padding.
Giving birth changes your body and bone placement, especially in the pelvic area. For this reason, you need a bike saddle that is not too wide and not too narrow either. The best saddle is the one that allows you to rest your sit bone in the center of the seat.
You may also consider a men’s bike saddle with a slit in its center. In case you suffered an episiotomy, the slit middle design will allow you to enjoy your ride without feeling pressure and pain on the rear end.
Besides the gel padding of the seat – you can bring your own one if the saddle does not feature one – you should also place some seat pads or tubes on the saddle, to relieve any pain or discomfort. Alternatively, buy a pair of women’s padded biking shorts. The integrated chamois protects you from harm and inhibits the growth of bacteria. Wash the shorts after each ride.
Be Aware of Your Body while Cycling
In case you are comfortable with your new bike and feel ready to ride it, do not overdo it. Start slowly, with ten minutes of bike riding at a time. In case you feel any pain or discomfort, stop riding the bike. This is especially important if you received sutures after giving birth. Rupturing sutures will require an immediate visit to the doctor.
If you get tired, if you feel uncomfortable, if you feel your body is not ready yet for the challenge, do not push yourself. Your cycling days are just around the corner. In the meantime, you can continue working out daily to build strength and allow your body to heal.
Do not Neglect Warmup and Cool down
Even if you are an experienced cyclist, the first ride after you gave birth may lead to muscle sores and sprains. Before you begin a cycling routine, make sure you follow a consistent (moderate) warmup routine. Similarly, once you finished your workout, stretch a little and walk slowly for a few minutes to allow your heart rate to come back to normal and avoid any muscle and joints issues.
With the right bike, the proper care, and enough patience you can begin your post-pregnancy cycling workout with no worries! Riding a bike is helpful and fun, and once your child is at least one year of age, you can take her along in her special bike baby trailer or bike seat!