Making A Return to Running Postpartum

Making A Return to Running Postpartum

Congratulations on becoming a mom! Whether it be your first time giving birth or your fifth, the effects of having a baby on your body can be extreme. Now that you’ve given birth, you may be ready to start working towards increasing your activity level again.

Mentally you might feel ready to get back to your prenatal running routine, but your body may not be. The recommended amount of time before returning to running and high impact activity is 3-6 months postpartum. However, you are encouraged to start off with a gradual workout progression and easier exercises to build up strength and restore normal tissue function.

Remember, each body is different and every journey to returning to activity after giving birth is different as well. Before you begin exercising after birth, pay a visit to a physical therapist.  A pelvic floor physical therapist will evaluate your core, hip and pelvic floor strength to give you helpful advice and exercises that can get you back to running sooner rather than later. It is especially important to have an evaluation with a physical therapist if you are exhibiting symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction, including:

  • Urinary and/or fecal incontinence
  • Urinary and/or fecal urgency
  • Heaviness or pressure in the vaginal area (usually associated with pelvic organ prolapse)
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Diastasis Recti (separation of abdominal muscles)
  • Other muscular or joint pain throughout the back, hip, pelvic region, or anywhere else in the body

It is always recommended that you visit a physical therapist before starting exercises, returning to running or other high impact sports and activities postpartum to ensure that you can safely return to activity.

However if you aren’t having any symptoms we have provided a few exercises to try and a general assessment of things you should be able to do before trying to make your return to running.

Before You Can Run, You Must Walk!

Before running you should be able to do the following without any symptoms. These include pain, leaking, heaviness, pressure, or doming through the abdomen.

  • Walk 30 minutes
  • Balance on each leg for 30 seconds
  • Single leg squat 10 times each leg
  • Jog in place for 1 minute
  • Forward bounds 10 repetitions
  • Hop in place 10 times each leg
  • Single leg running man 10 times each side

To build up endurance you can start walking as soon as 4 weeks after delivery. Start with 5-10 minutes at a time and gradually increase as tolerated. If you don’t feel ready at 4 weeks that is fine, sometimes the body needs more time to heal. In special circumstances your OB will recommend no activity until your follow up around 6 weeks postpartum. This is dependent on situations during the birth process and can be different based on vaginal or C-section delivery. Always follow your OB’s recommendation when it comes to returning to activity.

Exercises To Prep You For Returning To Running

Below are basic exercises to get you started on strengthening through the pelvic area postpartum. If you experience any pain, discomfort, or symptoms while doing any of these moves, contact a physical therapist as soon as possible.

  • Diaphragmatic breathing/transverse abdominis engagement
  • Supine bent knee fall outs
  • Supine Transverse Abdominal marching
  • Clamshells
  • Bridges
  • Mini squats/hip hinges
  • Single leg balance
  • Step ups

How You Can Set Yourself Up For Success During Pregnancy

Many women often ask us what they can do to prepare during pregnancy to make a return to running easier. We recommend staying as active as you feel comfortable doing during your pregnancy. Working on strengthening your core and glutes throughout your pregnancy can help to maintain strength.

Exercises to do during pregnancy

  • Walking
    • Aim to walk at least 30 minutes a day during your pregnancy
    • As your pregnancy progresses, walk as long as you feel comfortable doing so
  • Squats
    • Squats are great for prepping your body for pregnancy
    • Aim to do 10 squats for as many reps as you can
  • Swimming
    • Swimming is an awesome full body workout, pick a stroke that is comfortable to do to avoid stress on your low back
  • Yoga
    • Yoga is a great option for gentle exercise during all stages of your pregnancy

When in Doubt- Talk to a Physical Therapist

For more information on how to exercise safely during your pregnancy, contact a physical therapist that specializes in women’s health. Women’s health physical therapists are experts in helping women stay active and comfortable during their pregnancy and beyond. If you are feeling pain during or after your pregnancy, physical therapists are here to help.

You might like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *