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Remember safety first after baby.
Exercising three weeks after your baby is born may be the last thing you want to do, but in reality it may be just what you need. Postpartum recovery time varies from woman to woman, but if you were physically active during your pregnancy and feel up to some light activity, give elliptical training a try and get some much needed mommy time.
The elliptical provides a low-impact activity to help you resume an active lifestyle after giving birth. However, get your doctor's permission before you attempt any post-partum exercises.
Consider the Benefits
The benefits of postpartum exercise are numerous. Activity, such as walking, as soon as possible after delivery helps to minimize muscle wasting, improves circulation and helps speed up the healing process. The American Council on Exercise notes that returning to activity after pregnancy has been associated with a decrease in postpartum depression. Early exercise will also help get you on your way to your pre-baby body, although that should not be your primary goal in the beginning. The use of an elliptical will give you a low-impact way to work your muscles, clear your head and get your blood pumping.
Move It, Momma
It used to be set in stone that women not even consider resuming exercise until after the six-week postpartum checkup. Now, however, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, there are no published studies to indicate that rapid resumption of activities will result in adverse effects. If you had an uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery and you feel physically ready to resume elliptical training three weeks postpartum, go for it. If you had a c-section, you may need to wait a couple more weeks or at least get your doctor's approval before resuming activity.
Even if you were active throughout your pregnancy and you're feeling great postpartum, you can't jump on the elliptical and go all-out. Your body has recently gone through some pretty intense trauma and physical exertion, not to mention your activity level for the last three weeks has probably been minimal. The ACOG recommends resuming activity gradually. Begin with 10 to 15 minutes of low-intensity elliptical training several days a week. Gradually increase your workout time and your exercise intensity as your body continues to recover and your fitness levels improve.
Remember the Tummy and Tatas
Now that you've had a baby, your body is a tad different than before. For starters, you may notice that you have basically no abdominal support anymore, which can lead to back pain. It will take some time and some work for your muscles to regain their shape and strength. Keep this in mind as you use the elliptical - you may have to alter your technique a bit. Another change is your large, engorged breasts. The girls can cause some serious discomfort, especially during exercise. Wear a supportive sports bra, in some cases two may be necessary, to prevent unnecessary movement. If you're a nursing mom, feed your baby prior to your workout to relieve some of the pressure. Excessive exercise or very intense exercise can have an adverse effect on your milk supply if your calorie consumption is not adequate.
Slow it Down
At three weeks postpartum, your exercise goals should not be weight loss but rather as a way to de-stress and take care of yourself. If exercise becomes a source of stress, then it is probably doing more harm than good and you may want to back off. If you notice an increase in bleeding after it has started to taper off, this is your body telling you it needs more time for rest and recovery. Reduce the number of workouts per week or lower your exercise intensity.