The benefits of working out for post-natal depression.

With depression being the second most common disability. Women with postnatal depression can experience symptoms of low mood, irritability, , anxiety, guilt, and to the extreme thoughts of suicide. Frequently accompanying these symptoms are low self-esteem, lack of confidence, and unrealistic expectations of motherhood. Post Natal Depression has health consequences not only for the mother but also for the child and family.

The second most common reason for post-natal depression is the realisation of change on women’s bodies. 65% of women have indicated weight gain is a significant concern for them after giving birth. (source) Doing healthy and safe workouts whilst pregnant can reduce the chance of getting post-natal depression by 60%. Working out whilst pregnant, helps to maintain body weight after birth, helps women have an easy labour and helps women sleep better.

The direct effects of working out with post-natal depression are extremely positive and are a good remedy for overcoming the guilty feelings. When working out your brain releases endorphins and makes you feel good physically and mentally. There have been studies conducted on the positive effects on pregnant women with just 20 minutes of HIIT exercise. 

The study team analysed data from 12 controlled trials of exercise interventions during or after pregnancy between 1990 and 2016 that addressed the effects of physical activity on postpartum depression. The studies included a total of 932 women, and all examined the severity of postpartum depression, and the effects of intervals of 10, 20 and 30 minutes of HIIT workouts compared to no exercise. 

Women who did no exercise had higher scores on depression symptom tests during the postpartum period, the researchers found. The researchers found that 20 minutes was the most effective time span for coping with postpartum depression, as it was long enough to induce endorphins but short enough to not feel too tired afterwards, encouraging you to work out more.

“We expected that physical activity could reduce postpartum depressive symptoms,” Alvarez-Bueno said. “However, we were pleasantly surprised when we found that exercise after pregnancy also reduced depression among the women who didn’t have diagnosable symptoms.”

Most intervention programs lasted for three months or longer and recommended three to five exercise sessions per week, and women saw a significant improvement in their mental health and well-being, with post-partum depression symptoms being reduced by 35%.

PowerWave offers pre and post-natal workouts on their app and they have been specially designed by Certified pre and post-natal Coach, Cat. You can download the app here, use the 14 day trial to see what the fuss is about. 

All information retrieved and reworded from:  

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