Saturday, February 27, 2016

Running and Fitness with a Newborn
(Click here for other posts in this series.)

One question I've been asked several times since Macie's birth is, "When can you start running again?"

My answer is a little conflicted.  

A little backstory:  I ran throughout my pregnancy.  I ran during the early weeks of morning sickness and right up until the day my water broke.  It boosted my energy level and stabilized my weight gain.  As I neared the end of the pregnancy, I tried to imagine how running would fit into my life with a newborn, suspecting the logistics would be tough.

For the first four or five weeks of Macie's life, I savored the break.  Even though I enjoy running, I knew my body needed rest and recuperation.  By six weeks, the desire to run returned, but I also started to face reality.  I may feel mentally ready to run, but I'm not sure my body is ready for it.  Despite staying fit during pregnancy, my back and lower abdomen are weak and achy postpartum.  My core needs strengthening before running will be comfortable or even advisable.

On top of that, my ideal time to run is early in the morning...but that's when Macie wakes to nurse.  She almost always goes back to sleep until eight or nine, but once I miss that early morning window, I need to use my time to manage breakfast, start school with the kids, or wash my face and hair!  I get a little sad when I realize a regular running routine is probably months away.  Aside from an occasional weekend run this spring, running can't be a priority for me in this season. 

I'm choosing to adopt the idea that a little exercise is better than no exercise at all.  Starting this coming week, I'm purposing to exercise in the house for 20 minutes at a time on 3 different days. I'm hoping that popping in a postpartum DVD (versus gearing up for the outdoors) will be easier to slip into my schedule.  I can exercise while Macie is right beside me and I can break it into smaller sessions, too, if she is fussy. 

Movement and health are my motivators.  Weight loss is not my goal and since breastfeeding burns 300-500 per day, I'm also focusing on high quality nutrition.  I can always find time to eat!  

Any tips for me?  
How can I strengthen my core muscles?  
Any experience with exercising or running postpartum?  
What are some nutrient dense snacks I can keep on hand?

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