#Momlife’s got you feeling tired all. the. time. Coffee is your best friend. Right now you’re lucky to have the energy to do the things you NEED to do to get through the day, let alone have any extra leftover to do the things you WANT to do. So this for you, because I’m sharing the (not-so) secret way to boost your postpartum energy, today!
One of the best ways to increase your energy and combat postpartum fatigue is…exercise! (not exactly a shocker, huh?)
Maybe you’re wondering…if you’re already exhausted, won’t you be even more exhausted if you try to add exercise into the mix?
OK…so how exactly does it work?
Studies show that low and moderate intensity exercise helps increase energy levels. More exercise= more energy –> less fatigue. When you exercise it signals your body to release epinephrine and norepinephrine, which are endorphins (the mood booster and painkiller chemicals in your brain). Exercise also helps to reduce levels of adrenaline and cortisol, which are your body’s stress hormones.
So not only does exercise help improve your mood but it helps bring your stress levels down, which helps you relax more easily. I’m sure you’ve had days where motherhood feels like it’s getting the best of you and the stress of it all just leaves you totally exhausted by the end of the day.
Even a 10 minute walk can give you a quick boost! In fact, there’s some evidence to suggest that a short bout of exercise can be more effective (and last longer) than the boost you’d get from a a cup of coffee.
Is there a “right” amount of exercise that will boost your postpartum energy?
As I mentioned earlier, low- or moderate-intensity exercise is your best bet for increasing energy. In this case, more is not better! Too much exercise volume, or too much high-intensity exercise can actually have the opposite effect; zapping your energy, negatively affecting hormones, and messing with your sleep.
According to the ACOG, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends 150 minutes/week of moderate-intensity exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Of course, these are just that- recommendations. There are a million factors to consider in your own postpartum journey to help you determine what your “ideal” amount will be (and most likely it will continue to change as the stages of your recovery and postpartum journey change).
What’s the best type of exercise when you already feel drained?
There can definitely be a place for more high-intensity workouts at some point for you (or maybe not, that’s cool too!). However, as we’ve already established, low- and moderate-intensity exercise is the most balanced approach for increasing energy, promoting better sleep (both duration and quality of sleep), and giving you a nice mood boost.
Remember that exercise doesn’t have to fit the mold of what’s considered a “traditional” workout to fit your needs. What’s most important is that it’s something that feels good to you and that it leaves you feeling better than when you started. (not more fatigued and sore!)
Some examples of exercise/workouts that can increase your energy:
-Yoga is great because you don’t need any equipment or a lot of space. You can get a nice low-intensity workout in a short amount of time, and it’s a great stress reducer. MamaLoveYoga is a great resource for pre- and postnatal yoga, so you can check her out!
-A walk is probably the simplest way to boost your energy and improve your mood. Even better if you can get outside and soak up some nature, and some Vitamin D!
-I love a good bike ride. Hopping on a bike is a great way to cruise around your neighborhood or town…there’s something about that wind in your hair that almost makes you feel like a kid again!
These are just a couple of ideas and there are so many more that you can try out to find one (or many!) that fits for you. Postpartum is challenging enough as it is and exercise should be something that improves your overall health and well-being, not another thing that you’re stressing about!
Looking for a community of other later-in-life moms who want to make the most of their postpartum health and wellness? Come join us in my private Facebook group, we’d love to have you!