Prevent Injury When ‘Getting Back Out There’ Postpartum

A mother works out with her baby. She is lying on her back while pressing baby into the air.

When we think of the word “capacity,” we perhaps think of a room that is full–max capacity. Another person won’t fit–or maybe they could, but by adding more people, things would start to get uncomfortable and at some point maybe even dangerous. It certainly wouldn’t make the fire marshal too happy.   

But, have you ever considered “capacity” in terms of your ability? IE. your capacity to do something, your limit. Every activity has a capacity, and knowing the limit can help prevent injuries. For example, I can run about 5 miles before things get a little shaky. I could do more, but it wouldn’t be comfortable and if I just kept going – Forrest Gump style – I might not have that Hollywood finish, but rather, an injury to bring home. Another example is that I can lift 215 lbs. That’s it. If you added a pound to the bar, I could no longer lift it. A final example, if I were to sprain my ankle today (knock on wood… yes, I’m superstitious) my capacity for running and lifting would drop significantly. I’d only be able to run one step and lift a much lighter weight. But, with the right rehab and motivation, I’d regain my capacity as I healed. 

Your capacity can change.

What if I didn’t rehab that ankle? What if I decided it was time to stop exercising and just start moving less and sitting more? Then, my capacity might stay diminished. 

Let’s change scenarios: what if I never had an injury, but still, decided to stop exercising, move less, sit more? My capacity would diminish. 

On the other hand, what if I decided that I wanted to run a marathon? I could increase my capacity by training. Gradually over the course of many months, I would incrementally add mileage and lift weights to get stronger. 

Day to day activities have a capacity too. How long can I pull weeds in the garden? How far can I walk with a heavy laundry hamper? How many flights of stairs can I go up and down? If I have a low capacity, not only will I hit my limit sooner but all those tasks will feel harder as I go. 

So, what’s the best way to make day to day tasks feel easier and reduce your injury risk??? RAISE YOUR CAPACITY! 

One key to raising capacity is gradually building yourself up. Lifting a bit heavier, walking a bit farther, doing a bit more each week. This gradual ramping up can be very helpful postpartum as the major changes your body just experienced can leave your capacity a little lower than you’re used to. So, instead of feeling like you’re not doing enough, think about it this way–you are building yourself up and setting a foundation to raise your capacity all in good time.  

Having a guide in all new situations is helpful, so as always, reach out if you have any questions


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