Although new mum’s are often tired, I think it is fair that ‘running’ mums are usually very eager to get back into running. Postpartum running is something us running mums look forward to, however when it comes to getting back into it, we do need to make sure we are consuming the right foods and nutrients. It is important that our bodies are ready. Here are some of my top post pregnancy running nutrition tips:
1. Don’t make it about weight loss (initially).
Although most mums want to lose their baby weight, it should be done in a healthy way. Usually when we want to lose weight we are told to expend more energy than we consume. However, increasing running and decreasing nutrients postpartum (especially early on) can lead to nutrient loss and deficiency which can have dramatic effects on our overall health, our breastmilk supply and the health of our little ones.
2. Stay hydrated.
Our fluid intake increases when we are pregnant, and after we give birth, especially if breastfeeding. Water intake also increases again once we start running again.
3. Make sure you are getting enough iron.
During pregnancy and post pregnancy our iron needs are increased. Post birth it is common for women to lose a lot of blood too which means iron loss and potential for iron deficiency. A supplement may be needed, but it is also important to make sure you are consuming iron-rich foods. This is especially important when you get back into running and start to up those kms. Iron-rich foods include red meat, fish, leafy green vegetables such as spinach, nuts, iron fortified cereals, beans and my favourite – chocolate!
4. Increase your calcium.
Just like iron, our calcium intake requirements increase when we are pregnant and post pregnancy if we are breastfeeding. If we do not consume enough calcium when getting back into running postpartum, we face an increased risk of becoming deficient, as well as increased risk of weak and brittle bones, which may later lead to osteoporosis. A supplement may be needed but consuming calcium-rich foods is necessary too. Calcium-rich foods include: milk, different cheeses, fish, nuts, tofu and calcium fortified foods.
5. Up your protein.
Protein makes up the basic building blocks of our enzymes, hormones, and bodily tissues. It is therefore essential to replenish our protein intake postpartum, but even more so when we get back into running postpartum. Another benefit to consuming enough protein when getting back into running is that it can help with weight loss too. Protein rich foods include; red meat, chicken, tofu, fish, eggs and nuts.
Written by Tammy Mond – Nutritionist
** Consult with your healthcare professionals before starting any new diet or exercise regime.