The physical nature of mum-life.
If you’ve ever pushed a toddler in a pram with a baby strapped to you, or carried a child to nursery who refuses to scoot, held a crying baby for hours or run around oft play with a toddler…you’ll know that being a mum is physical work.
Lack of rest, all that LIFTING and holding the same positions for hours on end, takes its toll. However, being physically strong can help make your day-to-day tasks that little bit easier as a new mum.
The stronger you are, the easier life gets and that extra strength gives you that push to keep going when you think you’ve got nothing left.
Mood, wellbeing and confidence.
New mums can experience some real self-confidence lows in the postnatal period and postnatal depression and anxiety are common. Totally understandable given your whole life has changed and you might feel like you’ve lost a bit of yourself.
When you’re strength training progressively (ie. pushing yourself to gradually lift heavier) you’re constantly improving. This sense of achievement can feel truly empowering whilst the rest of your life is often on hold. That feeling of progression, despite whatever else you have going on, can provide a huge boost to your confidence and mental wellbeing. It also serves as a great reminder that you can still do (or will soon be able to do) all the things you used to enjoy postpartum (and maybe more).
Strength training can be a huge boost to both your mood and overall wellbeing as it releases endorphins (happy hormones) that promote happiness and contentment. It has also been shown to reduce symptoms of postnatal depression and anxiety and whilst not a cure, it can be a powerful tool to support your mental health and your ability to handle the demands of motherhood. It’s not easy!
Everything just feels better after a workout and you can really take that sense of accomplishment into the rest of your day!
Whilst fat gain is a normal (and healthy) part of pregnancy, it can leave you feeling less than confident in your postnatal bodies on the other side.
Strength training can boost your body image by switching the focus from how you look to what your body can do, giving you a whole new way of looking at your body.
From an aesthetic perspective, strength training is also the most effective way to change the way your body looks. As you begin to build muscle you will physically change shape as your body composition starts to change and muscle definition appears. Strength training is the most effective way to lose body fat and keep it off long-term because the more muscle mass you have, the more calories your body needs day-to-day (even at rest). This mean that as you get stronger your metabolism increases and you can eat more without gaining weight - great for long term weight management and enjoying your food!
‘Me Time’ or lack of...
When you train you may also be lucky enough to benefit from some additional time to yourself. As a new mum, particularly in the early days of feeding 24/7, you can easily go for weeks without any meaningful time to yourself, but this time too, is so important to our mental wellbeing and how we show up in the rest of our lives and how we negotiate being a mum.
Strength training, or indeed any type of solo training, allows you to switch off and focus on something else by yourself, you have an actual break and can return re-energised and ready to tackle the rest of your day.
Other highly important health benefits.
Both new mums (and indeed all adults), can experience a huge number of health benefits when embarking on a strength training program.
Improved aerobic function - strength training works your heart and lungs improving your fitness over time. Improved fitness = more energy to play with your kids!
Improved bone density - strength training reduces the risk of bone weakness associated with ageing (and breastfeeding) and can help prevent osteoporosis in later life. This is particularly important for menopausal women.
Improved blood circulation - Good circulation is important for our overall health and a vital part of healing from pregnancy and birth as nutrients for repair are carried in the blood.
Getting your life back.
Strength training is a key component to helping you return to activities you love safely. By strengthening your muscles and surrounding tissues first, you are thoroughly preparing your body for higher impact activities and reducing the risk of injury.
Life is about doing what we love and during the postnatal period we are often substantially limited in what we can do. Strength training can help you recover and get back to what you love more quickly proving a renewed sense of purpose and confidence in who we are.