Postpartum Fitness. Part 2

October 12, 2012

Designing a Postpartum Fitness Program

Some clients may want to take part in high-intensity workouts, while others prefer low-intensity workouts. Find out what your members want in a postpartum fitness program, and find experienced instructors who can design and implement programs using the exercise guidelines established by ACOG. In addition, consider requiring clients to bring permission notices from their physicians before proceeding with an exercise program to prevent injuries and reduce the risk of liability to your facility.

Following the four- to six-week recovery period, postpartum clients will need specific conditioning to strengthen their bodies to keep up with the demands of being new mothers. Cardiovascular training will be needed to build endurance and increase energy levels, while upper-body, lower-body and abdominal conditioning will be needed to strengthen muscles to lift and carry babies, prevent lower back pain and regain balance and flexibility. Exercises such as push-ups, seated-rows and triceps extension condition the upper body, while squats and lunges tone the lower body.4 Abdominal exercises such as pelvic tilts, curl-ups, head-lifts, shoulder lifts and leg slides help to strengthen the lower back and abdominals.2

Types of Classes. There are many different types of postpartum group exercise classes. Classes range from step aerobics to yoga to stretching, with many hybrid classes that include different types of exercises into one class. Many programs include the opportunity for clients to exercise with their babies, while others offer babysitting services so clients may work out on their own.

For instance, the Pacific Athletic Club in Redwood Shores, Calif., offers a Postnatal Fitness Training program that includes 70 minutes of step aerobics with strengthening, abdominal work, flexibility and cool-down. The class welcomes clients and their babies up to seven months of age, and allows clients to include their babies in the workout.

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