Saturday, September 15, 2012

An exercise in happiness :-)

If you glance at the Daily Mile widget off to the left, you will notice that I have returned to the world of regular workouts!  This makes me happier than I can put into words.  Pretty much since I got pregnant and quit distance running (and all running, after 16 weeks), I've been planning my fitness comeback.  I'm really proud of staying in shape during my pregnancy - I gained 37lbs, but I was attending Body Pump 3x and walking 4-6 miles every week up until the day before I went into labor.  However, I missed running, like a LOT, and couldn't wait to get back to it.  Nothing beats the feel of wind in your face, the alone time out in nature, the burning in your legs/lungs/butt.... etc.  :-)

As I've said before, I know that staying in shape throughout my pregnancy helped me immeasurably during labor and delivery.  My pelvic floor was really toned, so when I was pushing, I could feel the muscles working and direct energy where I needed it to go. I labored without medication, meaning that I was up and moving pretty much the whole time; Being able to stay on my feet for the better part of 11 hours, including one hour where I was doing squats every couple minutes during a contraction to cope with the pain, was a definite perk of staying in shape.  The mental conditioning really helped me as well - I was so prepared to "pace myself" during a long and grueling labor that I almost couldn't believe it when the handed me my baby.  I felt, in body and mind, that I could have handled a few more hours with no problem <-- I never thought I'd say that!

Now, seven weeks removed from the experience, I can also acknowledge that staying in shape during pregnancy has contributed to a quick recovery.  I mentioned in a previous post that my stitches never hurt - once the swelling went down in 2-3 days, I felt perfectly fine.  I went on a run two weeks postpartum and my body felt okay - strong, even.  I lost a lot of cardio fitness (my lungs were burning and I still wheeze my ways through runs, and my heart rate skyrockets quickly) but muscle-wise I felt similar to before.  I returned to Body Pump after 3 weeks for an easy workout, and now four weeks later I have bumped up to lifting my pre-pregnancy weight.

I'm also trying to get back into yoga, using videos on, but that's been tough both because I seldom have 30-minutes during the day without a baby strapped to me, and because I DID lose a lot of flexibility over the last few months.

Heading out for a walk with my little one
Even though I leapt back into exercise right away, it was definitely not easy.  My first couple weeks of runs were very discouraging - it hurt, having to stop and walk so often took a mental toll, and I didn't have a single enjoyable moment throughout an entire run.  Normally, I slog through the first mile or two and then reach a happy place, where my stride and breath fall into a natural rhythm, the endorphins hit my brain, and I feel like I could go on forever.  Last week during our group run, I found that place again for the first time since having my baby.  I ran in the last mile of that run feeling on top of the world, which I REALLY needed.  I haven't been cleared by a doctor yet, but I can say that I'm feeling 100% recovered from childbirth and confident that my body is up to achieving the lofty goals I have set for myself over the next couple of months.  More on those later!

How are YOU feeling today?

1 comment :

  1. Wow you are so lucky that you were able to get back to working out so soon! It took me until around 4 weeks to really start to feel comfortable with long walks and until 6 weeks to really start in on anything more intense and 7.5 weeks until I even started running! You are amazing!

    I kept up with my workouts from week 14-39.5 (then Edie arrived) with walks, strength and lots of yoga and I had an amazing med-free birth experience but my recovery process was much longer than I had anticipated.