Running is a great way to lose the extra ‘baby weight’ that naturally comes with pregnancy, and it is an especially convenient exercise option for new moms because of its flexibility and versatility. A lot of gyms have child care if you are looking to stick to the treadmill for your running, or you can strap in your kiddos into a jogging stroller and hit the pavement!
Losing weight by walking or running is about much more than just steps though. A lot of people swear by the 20,000 step goal (I.e. walking and/or running at least 20,000 steps each day) but depending on what you are eating, how fast your metabolism naturally is, and how tall you are, you might need less (or more) steps. You also need to consider your overall activity and movement each day. For instance, weight lifting might not actually get you a lot of “steps” but pushing your body to lift heavy weights can really get your heart rate up and burn through a lot of calories. When it is all said and done, weight loss comes down to calories in versus calories out. To lose weight, you need the amount of calories you are taking in (on average) to be less than what you are burning. As a new mom, you are probably a lot more active than you think you are. Little kids require a lot of tending to and chasing after! If you wear an activity watch that tracks your steps, you might be suprised at how many steps you are already taking just by being a mom.
So, in short, if you are just too busy to make running extra a priority every day, try and track how many steps you are already taking. From there, you will get a sense of how many steps your body really needs to lose weight (especially if accounting for a hungrier-than-normal diet because of breastfeeding!) However, I would not spend too much time worrying about getting an exact step count, and if it makes it easier for you to keep up with 20,000 steps, then just stick with that. (After all, 20,000 steps really is a lot and as long as you are staying active, that is what matters most!) You can add on additional steps to hit your 20,000 daily step goal (which will likely be far less walking and/or running than you initially thought). 20,000 steps and a healthy diet that focuses on moderation will help you lose that baby weight!