I’m 4 months post-partum now and 5 pounds away from pre-pregnancy weight, although my body composition is still different (i.e. less muscle). I started incorporating brisk walks when Jordan was 4 weeks old. Before I started walking, I was sitting around and not getting any exercise, and I felt like I was starting to get depressed. Not because I wasn’t in shape, but because I wasn’t moving. As soon as I started getting active again, it was like an instant positive mood change!
At 6 weeks, with the go-ahead from my doctor, I started jogging and now I try to jog several times a week. If you follow me on snapchat (@honeywerehome), you’ve seen me in action! You can read my ‘body after baby’ 6-week and 12-week updates here.
Cardio is any exercise that gets your heart rate up and increases blood circulation throughout your body. It’s important not only for helping lose weight, but also for stronger heart and lungs, reduced stress and even relief from depression and anxiety. You can get your cardio in in a variety of ways from biking, swimming, stairmaster, classes, videos, etc. but I prefer running because it doesn’t require any special equipment and you don’t have to go to a gym to do it. Even when you don’t FEEL like going for a run, when you’re finished you’ll FEEL a million times better!
Because my time is limited, I usually just go out my front door and do a 3-mile run.
While it’s true you don’t need any equipment for a good walk, jog, or run, a quality running shoe is so important. I’ve tried lots of running shoes over the years, but my new absolute favorite are the Nike Free RN Flyknit. Right now, you can try them for 30 days and if you end up not liking them, send them back for a free refund. But you’ll like them, I’m sure. The Nike Free technology lets the shoe flex, expand and contract with your foot during every step, which is what I guess contributes to that optimized fit so it moves with your foot naturally as you run.
When I run at home, I’m jogging on the street or sidewalk, and that can be really hard on your feet, ankles, knees, back, etc. But, when I started running in these shoes, I felt so much more cushioned. It doesn’t feel like you’re running barefoot or like most of my shoes that feel very protective, but more stiff, this shoe feels cushiony, but still very stable. It’s my favorite running shoe I’ve tried by far.
5 Tips for Getting Started Running
If you’re not a runner (yet!) or don’t enjoy it, I have some tips for you!
1) Along with a good running shoe, wear quality socks! You might not have thought this would matter, but I promise it’ll make a difference! When you wear socks that don’t breathe, your feet get all sweaty and it contributes to blisters and just an uncomfortable feeling when you run. You don’t want to be distracted during your run where all you can think about is how bad your feet feel, like when your shoes are rubbing the back of your ankle. Years ago I got rid of all the socks I didn’t LOVE to wear and now only go for the best. You don’t need that many, a few good pairs will last you a long time. Better to have a couple you love than tons you don’t.
2) Wear a good, supportive sports bra. Even if you’re not well-endowed, a good sports bra will keep the girls in check and make for a more comfortable run. #nobrainer You can find high support bras here.
3) Run with music! I know some people are purists and prefer the sound of nature and your own thoughts when running, but I swear by jamming out to some good tunes that inspire you to keep going. I plan to post my play list soon, so stay tuned!
4) Do interval training. By that, I mean run for a set time, then walk. You can start with just 30 seconds running and 2 minutes walking and repeat for 30 minutes. It’s a great way to get your heart rate up, then recover so you don’t get burned out. It also keeps things interesting, so it passes the time faster!
Another way of doing intervals is to jog one song, walk one song. Or play games with your landscape. You can run from one light pole to the next and walk the next two. I’m not a fast runner, but that doesn’t matter, it just matters that you get your heart rate up and it doesn’t necessarily take running fast to do that. A moderate jog can do it for you.
I promise you, you’ll feel so good when you’re done! AND you will start to see the benefits in how your body changes.
5) Just do it for 30 days! Even if you don’t typically exercise, I encourage you to just head out your front door and go for a walk! Get some fresh air, move, breathe! Try it for a month and see if you don’t look and feel better in 30 days! And hey, you can use the Nike 30-day trial as incentive. If you don’t like the shoes after 30 days, send them back for a full refund.