As a physical therapist and postpartum corrective exercise spcialist, one of the questions I’m asked all the time is “can new moms run?”
Let me tell you how we can get you back on the greenways, trails and tracks safely with our return to running program!
I’m a former Lady Vol track and fielder, but my favorite title is mom of four. While I’ve had my share of injuries, I found rehab to be just as important after having a baby.
It may surprise people, but I don’t think we should run to get back in shape.
Instead, we need to get in shape to be able to run and keep up with our kiddos because believe me, they get fast quickly!
Cleared for Activity Doesn’t Always Mean “Ready to Run”
Running is a high impact activity placing a lot of demand on your body. To be ready to run, your body needs time to heal and regain its strength after having a baby.
How many moms have heard “don’t do anything after you’ve had a baby,” and then at their six week postpartum checkup, they’re given the “all clear” to go do whatever they want?
There’s very little guidance in how to restore the core and the pelvic floor to be able to handle the daily demands of mom life, as well as the daunting task of returning to exercise. We recommend that every mom, regardless of how they deliver, get an individualized assessment of their core and their pelvic floor muscles before they return to running or any exercise. Each pregnancy and delivery is different, and a quick check now can save you time, money, and frustration down the line.
What are some warning signs that you returned to running too soon?
- Urinary or fecal incontinence or urgency
- Feeling of heaviness, pressure, or discomfort in the pelvic area
- Pain in the hips or lower back
- Pain with insertion (intercourse, tampons)
- Separated abdominal muscles
- Decreased abdominal strength / function
Just because these symptoms may be “common” after having given birth doesn’t mean that they’re “normal” and can be ignored.
Our Return to Running Program
We will assess your strengths and guide you through progressive exercises that help promote core stability, flexibility, and functional strengthening. A 2019 study determined what exercises help a mom get ready to run.
It includes tasks that target single leg strength and stability, because running requires both.
Exercises Used to Measure Readiness for Running Postpartum
- Pelvic Floor (fast reps, voluntary contraction and submax contraction)
- Sidelying Abduction and Adduction
- Single leg bridge
- Single leg calf raise
- Single leg sit-to-stand
- Single leg balance
- Single leg squat
- Single leg “running man” exercise
- Forward bounds
- Hop in place
- Walking at least 30 minutes
- Jog in place
Once you can achieve the minimum number of reps and / or time for these exercises, we know you’re ready to start re-introducing running into your life!
It’s Not too Late
Maybe you had your kids months, years, or even decades ago. If you’re still experiencing weakness or some of the other symptoms we described above, it may mean you have not fully or properly healed.
The good news is that it’s never too late to work with a pelvic health physical therapist. We see great results in women of any age working to strengthen their pelvic floor and core muscles. Don’t just accept that a “post-mom” body is one with less functionality and ability for fitness!
Can New Moms Run? The better question is Are You “Ready to Run?”
The answer if you’re “ready to run” is as unique as you are. An individualized assessment with me or another member of our Physical Therapy staff will help you know when you can lace up your running shoes again safely!
Want to know if you’re ready to run? Come see us at Apple Healthcare. You can use the form below to reach out, or give us a call at 865-524-1234. Hope to see you soon!