How To Exercise Yourself Happy

What is Postnatal Depression?

One form of depression is postnatal depression and it affects up to 16% of all new mothers, lasting up to one year after delivery. This chronic condition is different to “baby blues”. Postnatal depression is caused by a combination of hormonal changes, personal predisposition and sociocultural factors such as finances and relationship stress. Signs of postnatal depression include low mood, anxiety, feeling guilty, shame, worthless or hopeless.

How does exercise help?

Exercise can be just as beneficial as drug or psychological therapy in preventing and managing postnatal depression. Physical activity, whether it be resistance or aerobic or a combination of both, distracts you from stress, altering hormone and chemical levels in your body. Exercise increases your sense of worth and self esteems. Evidence shows that continuing to exercise post partum is a vital tool for mental and physical health. And the great news is, that even if you don’t see your physical self change or increase in fitness levels, you are still reaping in the benefits for your mental health and mood!

What exercises should you do?

One hour of moderate intensity exercise per week can significantly reduce the risk of developing PND and can improve the mood of women already experiencing the symptoms. However, the most exercise you do, the greater the effect will be. ACSM’s recommended guidelines of at least 30minutes of moderate intensity exercise on most days of the week is a great starting point.

Resistance exercise will help boost mood but also has many benefits with addressing neck or back issues associated with carrying or nursing your baby. Aerobic exercise also addresses mental wellbeing and call also support weightloss gained during your pregnancy. So a combination of both types of exercise would be ideal.

However, not all exercise are suitable for postpartum women, so if you have specific areas of pain or discomfort, please give the clinic a call on 4655 5588 or book online here to see our exercise physiologist for a specific exercise program to treat your needs.

Remember, if you aren’t coping, there are services available to help you. Talk to your GP, child nurse or one of our practitioners. You are no alone and seeking help reduces the length and severity of your symptoms.