Wednesday, May 10, 2023
By: Dr. Carrie Krug, PT, DPT, Owner and Director at the Core Physical Therapy & Conditioning
Returning to running after giving birth can be an exciting but daunting experience for many new mothers. While it’s important to give yourself time to heal and recover, running can be a great way to regain strength and feel like yourself again. However, there are important considerations to keep in mind to ensure a safe and successful return to running. In this blog post, we’ll address common issues women face when returning to running postpartum and provide a guideline and a couple of exercises to help you get started.
- Check with your healthcare provider: Before starting any exercise program postpartum, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider. They can assess your physical readiness and advise you on any precautions you should take before returning to running.
- Start slow and gradually increase intensity: Your body has gone through a significant change and may not be ready for high-intensity running right away. Start with walking, and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts over several weeks or even months. Be patient with yourself and don’t rush the process.
- Focus on strengthening your core and pelvic floor: Pregnancy and childbirth can weaken your core and pelvic floor muscles. These muscles are critical for running, so it’s important to strengthen them before returning to running. Exercises such as pelvic floor contractions, bridges, and planks can help.
- Invest in supportive gear: Invest in a good pair of running shoes that provide ample support and cushioning. You may also want to consider a supportive sports bra and compression shorts to help support your postpartum body.
- Listen to your body: It’s important to listen to your body and stop exercising if you experience any pain, discomfort, or bleeding. Remember that every woman’s postpartum recovery is different, and you should not compare yourself to others.
Here are a couple of exercises to help you get started:
- Pelvic Floor Contractions: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Inhale and relax your pelvic floor muscles. As you exhale, squeeze your pelvic floor muscles as if you were trying to stop the flow of urine. Hold for 5-10 seconds and then relax for 5-10 seconds. Repeat 10-15 times.
- Bridges: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Inhale and as you exhale, lift your hips up towards the ceiling, engaging your glutes and core. Hold for 2-3 seconds and then lower your hips back down to the floor. Repeat 10-15 times.
Returning to running postpartum can be a challenging journey, but with patience, dedication, and the right approach, it can be an empowering experience. Remember to listen to your body, start slow, and prioritize core and pelvic floor strengthening exercises. Above all, be kind to yourself and celebrate every step forward in your postpartum running journey.
Dr. Carrie Krug earned her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Duke University in 2005. She owns and operates TO THE CORE Physical Therapy & Conditioning, a clinic that specializes in Pelvic Health and Orthopedic Rehab. Each therapist at TO THE CORE specializes in women’s health. Dr. Rebecca Jankowiak, a physical therapist at TO THE CORE, works closely with postpartum mothers. Being a mother herself and an avid runner, Dr. Jankowiak has taken multiple running and gait analysis courses, allowing her to provide a comprehensive evaluation and treatment to postpartum mothers who aim to resume running. She brings together her expertise as a physical therapist, along with her personal experience as a mom and a runner, to offer a well-rounded and personalized approach to her patients. TO THE CORE offers one-to-one care and participates with insurance companies to ensure that high-quality physical therapy services are accessible and affordable to her community. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or to get assistance in safely returning to running. Contact us at www.tothecorept.com or 410.967.4691.