Physical activity is very important to your overall health; it includes all types of movement and exercise from low to high intensities. Once you feel ready to be more active make sure you start slow; don’t push yourself to do too much too soon. Begin by focusing on low intensity activities such as walking and gradually build up to higher intensity activities such as running and aerobics. All new moms should stick to low intensity activities until after talking with your health care provider. Low and moderate physical activity will not affect the quantity or quality of your breast milk.
Step counting is an easy way to increase your overall activity level. You can count your steps by purchasing and wearing a pedometer. Which can be purchased for as little as $10! We recommend that you aim for 10,000 steps per day. Start by seeing how many steps per day you currently take and slowly work your way up to this goal.
We recommend that you aim to complete a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. Moderate physical activity is any activity that requires moderate effort, which will speed your heart rate and breathing, but still allow you to carry on a normal conversation. This includes activities such as walking and biking. You can work up to a total of 150 minutes slowly, by adding 5 to 10 minutes of activity at a time.
For more information about physical activity and access to our postpartum exercise program (The HIP Program) click here.
Learn More About Exercise Intensity
When doing cardiovascular or aerobic activity it is important to work at the right intensity level. The Borg intensity scale was developed to help describe and monitor intensity levels based on how you feel when you are exercising. Measures such as heart rate, breathing rate, sweating, and muscle fatigue are used to determine at what intensity you are exercising. The scale ranges from 6 to 20, with 6 meaning no exertion at all and 20 meaning maximum exertion. Moderate physical activity is considered a 13 or 14 on the scale.
Important: The type of exercise required to reach a certain intensity will vary from person to person. You may be able to reach an intensity of 13 or 14 while walking. While an elite athlete may need to run at a fast pace in order to reach the same intensity level. Remember to listen to your body!
Source: Borg G.A. Psychophysical bases of perceived exertion. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 1982; 14:377-381.