Monday, March 23, 2015

Postpartum Fitness Plans

Right now there's pretty much one thing I'm focused on: waiting to give birth. In an effort to distract myself from the excruciatingly overwhelming impatience that I am currently mired in, I took some time to think about what my return to fitness plans will look like.

Recently I've noticed this ridiculous trend where women expect themselves to go back to doing beastmode fitness things within two months postpartum.  Maybe I'm crazy or perhaps I'm just cautious, but that is certainly not my plan as much as I'd love to get back to running right away. I've already been injured twice due to poor posture, crappy proprioception and lame-o lax ligaments. It doesn't seem at all prudent to rush things when the elevated levels of relaxin can hang around in my body for quite some time. Relaxin is a fascinating hormone that helps a pregnant woman's pelvic ligaments, well, relax. You can probably figure out for yourself why that's important.

I've spent a lot of time researching postpartum recovery, fully intending to share my findings. Then I stumbled on this blog post by Karen Laing at A Little Fitter, and she's summarized the whole situation far better than I could have. If you're at all interested in postpartum recovery and return to fitness, it's a must-read.  So, as much as I miss running, jumping in Zumba class, lifting all the heavy things and generally enjoying physical activity, I'm going exercise my patience and caution first.

It took me approximately 40 weeks to expand enough to hold my full-term Peanut, I anticipate it will take at least that (probably longer!) to return to something that vaguely resembles my previous normal. I say vaguely because my main focus will (obviously!) be on Peanut. But because I believe that taking care of her to the best of my abilities requires me to dedicate time to taking care of my own body, I need at least a tentative plan.

The Plan (sorta, kinda)
  • Weeks 0-6
    • Light walking with my new walking buddy either in her stroller or the Ergo carrier.
    • Corrective exercises to focus on the TVA mind-body connection, conveniently these are the same exercises I learned from my first round of physical therapy.
  • Weeks 6-12
    • Continued light walking with my new walking buddy
    • Continued corrective TVA mind-body connection exercises
    • Return to Reformer 2x/week after being cleared and also discussing the possibility of diastasis recti with my doctor and if necessary, a return to physical therapy.
  • Weeks 12-18
    • Return to work which includes speedier walking with my lunchtime walking buddy, but continued walking with the Peanut
    • Continue Reformer 2x/week
    • Return to Zumba once or twice weekly, as scheduling and funding permits
  •  Weeks 18-24
    • And yet more walking!
    • Reformer 2x/week, corrective exercises and Zumba 1-2x/week
  •  Weeks 24 and up!
    • The Idiot's Guide to Running plan for 5K distances (I've always liked this better than C25K)
    • Corrective exercises (these never go away, ever), Reformer and Zumba