Summer is here, and that fancy jogging stroller is begging for some attention. I get it! But jumping back into running as soon as you get cleared for exercise from your doctor can be a bit too much too soon. Considering these three things before you hit the pavement will not only make your transition back into fitness more enjoyable, but they might ward off future dysfunctions or injury.
1. Check your Pelvic Floor
Find a post-natal fitness pro to help with strength building and seek an assessment by a pelvic floor physiotherapist before returning to exercise after baby. I can’t say this enough: “Check your Pelvic Floor Ladies!”. Once assessed and given the green light, it’s not all or nothing. We want to build bodies for life long movement. Lovingly and gradually ease back into your cardio routine to build up strength and stamina properly before overloading your body. A weakened pelvic floor and core will not be able to sufficiently support your internal organs while running. Alongside some awesome and safe strength exercises, try jogging small portions of your route and build from there.
2. Re-Train your posture and alignment
When starting a jogging routine you will want to consider the fact that your running technique will most likely be rusty and out of practice. Your weight has been shifted forward for months on end, and your ribcage has been flared up to make room for baby. Your posture and alignment will need to be re-trained before running. Slowly walking up hills will provide a good amount of cardio while shifting your body back into proper alignment. Bending forward from the ankles (called Ski Jump Running by Julie Weibe Pt) will assist you back into proper alignment for optimal pelvic floor use. Also, finding tight muscles and releasing them will aid in your alignment journey. Take it easy, and if you have issues or questions message me!
3. Choose your technique
Be mindful of the fact that most women will run with a stroller for the first time during their fourth trimester and this can be where biomechanical issues arise. The change in technique from running alone to running with a stroller will take some getting used to and feel different on your body. The favourite technique among women is holding the stroller with two hands. This can limit the upper body from rotation and obviously, the absence of the arm swing will feel difficult at first. We naturally slow down our pace when pushing a stroller, but have no fear, research says that your level of exertion will remain the same. Just be aware of aches and pains. Feel it in your low back? Maybe you are leaning forward from your waist onto the stroller. Try moving to a one hand grip and bring a little more rotation back into your upper body. Feel it in your knees? Leaking? Maybe you are landing heavily on your heels or your feet are landing out in front of your body causing impact.
Now get out there, have fun, take it slow, feel the sun on your face, work up a sweat and keep the mental benefit of some good old cardio. Seek out help from your health care provider if any of these symptoms arise:
-Bulging or heaviness in the vagina
-Pain in the low back, pelvic floor, knees, hips, neck or abdominals
Other Pro Tips:
#1. Drink tons of water to rehydrate your body before, during and after running
#2. Make sure babe is protected from the elements. Bugs, sun and wind can all be a little upsetting for your baby. Have covers and protective screens on hand.
#3. For older babies, make sure to pack LOTS of snacks and busy toys.
#4. Run without the stroller as much as you can. Our arms are designed to be moving freely during running and pushing a stroller can inhibit this movement. If you plan on continuing running well past the stroller stage, practice without when you can.
There are awesome post-natal fitness experts that can take a look at your form and provide some guidance, I personally LOVE doing running assessments. Call me if you are in the area 🙂 Have fun out there!
A good website for running techniques for the postpartum athlete:
Stroller Running Research: