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Postnatal Return to Running Guidelines

This week one of our Pelvic Health Physio's Liz Pavlovich talks us through return to running in the postnatal period.

Running may be a competitive or recreational activity which is enjoyable, rewarding and undertaken to achieve your health and fitness goals. During pregnancy and the postnatal period there are huge physical, emotional and lifestyle changes. We know exercise is beneficial for a healthy mother and baby, however the type and intensity should be tailored to her situation.

Here at PROmotion we would like your exercise journey to be fun, engaging, successful and enhance your mood and morale. At the same time as being safe for your pelvic floor and musculoskeletal system.

Your return to exercise after having a baby should begin with lower impact exercise based on an individual assessment with your Women’s Health Physio from six weeks postnatal. There is good evidence that low impact exercise should be the primary form of exercise for the first 3 months postnatal, with running and higher impact exercise to commence between 3 and 6 months postnatal if there are no pelvic floor or abdominal wall problems.

To be ready to run your body needs time to heal and regain strength after having a baby, every mother should have the option and access to a comprehensive pelvic health and muscular screening assessment.

Have you ever thought above how much force goes through your body when running? The research tells us forces coming back up through the body from the ground (vertical ground reaction force) are 3-4 times your bodyweight. It is unknown how much of this is absorbed through the pelvic floor muscles and organs, however given their central position and proximity to the ground, it can be assumed there is a significant amount of the reaction force on this area. We can provide exercises to prepare your body to be ready for these forces.

Gradual progression is the key to reducing risk and improving recovery. Small short-term goals are important for setting yourself up for success.

As a mother there are also other factors which may or may not be under your control. You should discuss these with your physiotherapist or trainer and have a plan as to how to manage these. We should consider how much sleep you are getting on average and also on a given night, hormone and breastfeeding status, rectus abdominus diastasis, scar mobility or pain, supportive active wear, risk of nutrient depletion or excessive exercise.

After all, running is time effective, helps you lose weight, gives you a ‘runners high’ or boost in the lovely hormone endorphin. Why not come and talk to us about your running goals or join one of our postnatal group fitness classes to start working on low impact strength work. Running is one of our favourite MOTIONS and we are all for a safe and confident return to your running journey, no matter if you are 6 weeks or 6 years postnatal.

Liz is available for Pelvic Health appointments Monday, Tuesday and Friday. She has a passion for women and men with pelvic health concerns returning to sport and exercise. She uses the combination of understand sports specific movement, pelvic floor muscle function and loads to ensure safe and effective rehabilitation. To book in call 9284 4405 or book online here.

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