Today, we’re going to talk about safely returning to running after giving birth.
It’s a common question, and understandably so – exercise is an essential part of our lives, not just physically, but mentally as well. However, as with any exercise after giving birth, we need to approach it with care and honour the enormous physiological process that has occurred to grow and birth your baby.
Firstly, let’s talk about some guidelines for a safe return to running after giving birth. In 2019, a team of expert physiotherapists published an evidence-based article (Goom, Donnelly, and Brockwell) that outlined the following:
- Wait until at least 12 weeks postpartum before starting running or high-impact exercise, and ensure you have been cleared by a pelvic floor physiotherapist.
- Start with walking, then progress to run/walk intervals before running continuously.
- Pay attention to your body – if something feels off, stop and reassess.
- Incorporate pelvic floor exercises into your routine to promote healing and restrengthening.
They suggested a postpartum woman should be able to complete the following exercises without pain, heaviness, dragging, or incontinence:
- Walking 30 minutes
- Single leg balance 10 seconds
- Single leg squat 10 repetitions each side
- Jog on the spot 1 minute
- Forward bounds 10 repetitions
- Hop in place 10 repetitions each leg
- Single leg ‘running man’ 10 repetitions each side.
Now, let’s talk about some tips for implementing these guidelines:
- Start with short walks and gradually increase the distance and intensity over time.
- Incorporate pelvic floor exercises, single-leg work, and glute-strengthening exercises into your routine.
- Take breaks as needed and listen to your body – rest and recovery are just as important as exercise!
- Remember, every woman’s body is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.