If you’re here, you’re probably already sold on exercise. You probably already know that exercise decreases your risk for type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, several types of cancer, obesity and becoming overweight, and improves your joint health (BTW to respond to anyone who says exercise wrecks your knees, take this as your license to tell them that sitting on the couch wrecks your whole body).
What you probably don’t know is that right after you have a baby, research shows that you are actually poised to gain more from exercise now than at any other time in your life.1 I know, you’re probably thinking, “Yeah right. I’m covered in spit-up, I slept 2.5 hours total last night, and it hurts to sit.” Let me explain.
You don’t need me to tell you that having a baby is a pivotal time in your life, if not the most pivotal time of your entire life. If you start an exercise program during a pivotal time in your life, that habit has more staying power as time goes on. Weave exercise into the fabric of your crazy new schedule and life as a mom, and it’s far more likely to be a way of life for you in the years to come.
Women who exercise in the first year after having a baby are going to lose about the same amount of weight as their non-exercising peers by the 1 year mark, with 2 key differences.2,3 The exercising moms will have lost more fat mass but kept more of the lean mass compared to the non-exercising moms, who will have lost more lean mass but kept more of the fat mass.4 Second, years after giving birth, without accounting for what happens in the years in between, those who exercised in the first year after giving birth are significantly less likely to be overweight or obese for years to come.1,4,5