After “How long before my diastasis is fixed?” the question I get asked the most is; “How long before I can go back to exercising?”. It doesn’t matter what you used to do before giving birth; CrossFit, running, lifting weights or yoga. If you were into your exercise before giving birth the chances are you’ll be wanting to get back to it ASAP after giving birth. And this is the tricky bit because that’s what people are actually asking me; not “when can I start exercising again?” but “when can I go back to doing what I used to do?”.
With all the talk about giving birth being around it “being natural” and “beautiful “ etc. etc. its very easy to forget that it’s actually quite traumatic on the body and it will need some rest. After the 2 or so weeks of no exercise at all you can start doing some exercises again BUT this won’t be anything like what you’re used to.
I know it’s frustrating but post-natal training is more like rehab than normal training and, as with all these things, life is all about priorities.
Identify your weaknesses first, wether it’s Diastasis Recti, pelvic floor problems or posture issues and then address them. You can’t build a castle on a shitty foundation.
So you start by doing your pelvic floor exercises and kegels. This is when you should start using the core breath.
Make sure you listen to your body, it will stand you in good stead if you do. Remember that the body recovers and gets stronger during rest, not when you’re in the gym and working it, and you want it to get stronger so don’t overwork it.
The next stage is all about getting your weaker areas strengthened up. If you have Diastasis Recti, or just a weaker core, this means getting that sorted and getting your core back to full working order. Doing that should be much more important than improving your personal best for a 10K. If you are suffering from back and neck pain due to schlepping a baby carrier around all the time then fixing that is much more important than completing “Badger” in a new time.
This should not be your first priority.
You can always work on those things later but you’ll find that life is much easier if you strengthen up your weaker areas. Obviously the whole “not peeing yourself when you sneeze” might also be nice.
Annoyingly there is no set time on how long the above takes, it depends on many factors; How much work you put into it, your eating habits, whether you get enough sleep or not and what your starting point is. I find most women can get back to doing their old style training after 4-6 months. You still have to be aware of how your body is responding to your training, and maybe take the odd extra rest day or two. But you’ll probably find that you’ll be faster and stronger than you ever have been if you get that recovery stage right.