Tackling Postnatal Depression with Exercise
Six months after having my 1st child I felt like I lost myself... talking to other mothers, I realised it wasn't just me. I felt that I needed to get out of this unhappy stage that I was in.
Generally, women go through the stage of baby blues where you cant be bothered with anything, or your crying or laughing for no reason withing the first few weeks or so. But for me it was past baby blues and after going to the GP, it was clear I had postnatal depression.
Post natal depression is very real for so many women especially in the black community and lot of women tend not to talk about it due to of variety of reasons. Although I was exercising prior to having my son, life got in the way and my fitness was slowly decreasing. Kick-starting my fitness again was the most organic way I knew to manage my stare of mind. Of course there are days where you can't be bothered or your mental state is becomes more negative as time goes on, but don't give up... start slowly. Fitness does not have to be another chore you have to do, it can be exhilarating, fun and exciting.
Here are six fun, relaxing and exhilarating workouts you could do to better your mental health.
Zumba is a dance workout created by a Colombian dancer and a fantastic exercise for mums who don't want to be bored, workout alone or want a fun, motivational session. It consists of lively up beat music to keep you engaged throughout the workout. I tried this 2 months after birth and i enjoyed the class i walked out there meeting new people and heart racing pumping. If your not ready to hit the gym, try it at home with YouTube.
2. Body Pump (Les Mills)
Now body pump I LOVE this class it makes you push past your comfort zone, tones and strengthens muscles, increases metabolism and the burn you feel afterwards is fantastic. This class is for anyone and everyone however it focuses on resistance training so minimal cardio included. If you want to challenge your mind while challenging your body then i recommend this class.
3. Step up
Step up is a great beginner into fitness workout or haven't been working out for a long time. A lot of cardio so your bound to sweat, low to medium pace and no equipment needed. I tried this class approximately 3 months after my son and i was pleasantly surprised by its pace and how i felt afterwards.My mood was immediately better and I wasn't too sore. Thank God! If your on a budget, there are plenty of YouTube videos where you can use a small stool or chair in your living room and still have similar post effect.
Along with Body Pump, i really enjoyed this class because it was medium to fast pace and exercises were done in intervals i.e 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off (similar to HIIT or Circuit). You literally work out every muscle and your mind is focused on completing the exercise and moving on to the next one. Again, cardio is not intense but you will break a sweat.
5. Spin/Indoor Cycling
This class is fantastic, the music, the energy from the group, the exercise itself amazing. I tried this class approximately 6/8 months post baby and i think i burned a whole day worth of calories. My legs definitely felt the burn and my arms felt stronger and i felt empowered and less annoyed at the world. This class is definitely a winner for mums that want to lose weight and tone. Its mainly a cardio class and just requires you and your bike, however i recommend taking a flannel and a 1 liter bottle.
Last but not least, Yoga. I find this exercise to be so peaceful, focusing on your mind, body and soul and reconnecting with yourself. This class helps you to gather your thoughts together and enable you to retrain your mind and body to be more positive, relaxed and to be less hard on yourself just by normal consistent breathing and deep stretching. It involves meditation and quietness. Yoga is great for mums that need peace and quiet and a place to connect with themselves post partum.
These classes have not only helped me break out of my comfort zone but find happiness through exercise and challenge my body and mind out of postnatal depression and avoid taking medication. Of course consistency is key. So give it a go and watch yourself change. Have a great week.