Apple Fitness Plus launches workouts for new mothers

Ready to shed the mum tum? Apple Fitness Plus launches series of workouts to help new mothers get back into exercise after having a baby

  • The tech giant has added a series of new videos to its fitness streaming service 
  • ‘Get back to fitness after having a baby’ has seven video workouts for new mums
  • Apple Fitness Plus is a fitness experience ‘for everyone’ powered by Apple Watch

Apple has launched series of workouts to help new mothers get back into exercise after having a baby.

The tech giant has added seven new videos to Apple Fitness Plus, its subscription streaming service that pairs with the Apple Watch. 

Collectively, the 10-minute-long videos form a series called ‘Get back to fitness after having a baby’ and feature exercises specifically catered to new mums, ‘no matter what type of delivery they’ve had’.

These include work-outs for the pelvic floor muscles – those around the groin that loosen during pregnancy and need to be restrengthened after birth. 

Apple’s new series is led by Betina Gozo, a new mum and a fitness trainer from the Philippines who currently works for Apple Fitness. 

It’s available as part of the existing Apple Fitness Plus subscription price – £9.99 per month, or £79.99 annually. 

The series is led by Betina Gozo, a new mum and a fitness trainer from the Philippines who currently works for Apple Fitness

APPLE FITNESS PLUS 

Apple Fitness Plus is Apple’s subscription streaming service that pairs with the Apple Watch.

It has video sessions for everything from yoga and cycling to mindful cool down and dance.

It ‘dynamically integrates personal metrics’ from Apple Watch to inspire users by animating them on the screen as they move during key moments of a workout. 

The service is integrated with Apple Music, with workouts fuelled by songs from ‘today’s top artists’ designed to keep users motivated. 

While the interactive streaming service has been designed around the Apple Watch, the firm says some sessions are also available for iPad, iPhone and macOS. 

It costs £9.99 per month, or £79.99 annually.   

Apple says: ‘This program is designed for anyone who has recently had a baby, with workouts that can help you feel stronger and more energetic as you take on the daily demands of parenthood.’ 

Apple’s new program has exercises designed for mums who have either had a vaginal birth or a cesarean. 

The series includes a mix of core exercises (including pelvic floor), strength exercises and ‘mindful cooldown’ workouts that include messages about self-care.

Users can choose how intensive they want the exercises to be, meaning the series also caters to new mothers who want to take things fairly easy.  

According to official health advice, mums who had a ‘straightforward birth’, such as a vaginal birth, can start gentle exercise as soon as they feel up to it. 

‘This could include walking, gentle stretches, pelvic floor and tummy exercises,’ the NHS says.

‘It’s usually a good idea to wait until after your six-week postnatal check before you start any high-impact exercise, such as aerobics or running.  

However, mums who had a more complicated vaginal delivery or a C-section, will have a longer recovery time, and so are best advised to talk to a midwife, health visitor or GP before ‘starting anything strenuous’.   

Already included in Apple Fitness Plus is a series dedicated to pregnant women, entitled ‘stay active during pregnancy’. 

‘Every workout includes options for the three trimesters of pregnancy with tips for making exercises and stretches more comfortable as your body changes,’ Apple says.   

Research has show that exercise during and after pregnancy – even if it’s just walking with the pram – cuts the risk of postnatal depression. 

Apple launched Fitness Plus in the UK, the US, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand in December 2020.  

Apple launched Apple Fitness Plus in the UK in December 2020. It ‘dynamically integrates personal metrics’ from Apple Watch to inspire users by animating them on the screen as they move during key moments of a workout

While the interactive streaming service has been designed around the Apple Watch, the firm says some sessions are also available for iPad, iPhone and macOS

Only in the second half of last year did the company expand the subscription service to more countries, including Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.  

Apple Fitness Plus ‘dynamically integrates personal metrics’ from Apple Watch to inspire users by animating them on the screen as they move during key moments of a workout. 

While it will work for users of any Apple device, it is best used while wearing the Apple Watch, the firm explained, due to the integration of various health metrics. 

The service is integrated with Apple Music, with workouts fuelled by songs from ‘today’s top artists’ designed to keep users motivated. 

EXERCISE DURING AND AFTER PREGNANCY REDUCES POST-PARTUM DEPRESSION: STUDY 

Exercising during and after pregnancy reduces the risk of getting the baby blues, according to researchers.

Simply walking with a pram protects against postnatal depression in new mothers, a 2017 study published in the journal Birth found.

The authors tracked the mental health of almost 1,000 mothers who were offered exercise interventions during and after pregnancy as part of a new study.

Compared to women who didn’t exercise, the researchers found those who did displayed fewer signs of depression following the birth of a child.

An estimated 140,000 women suffer from mental health problems during pregnancy or in the months after their baby is born each year in the UK.

‘The negative consequences of postpartum depression not only affect the mother but also the child, who can suffer poor emotional and cognitive development,’ said researcher Celia Alvarez-Bueno, a PhD student at the University of Castilla-La Mancha in Spain.

Symptoms of postpartum depression can include anxiety attacks, insecurity, irritability, fatigue, guilt, fear of harming the baby and a reluctance to breastfeed.

The symptoms start within four weeks of delivery and are considered severe when they last for more than two weeks, according to the researchers.

‘That’s why it’s important to test the most effective strategies to prevent this disorder or mitigate the consequences,’ Ms Alvarez-Bueno said.

Researchers analysed data from 12 trials of exercise interventions during or after pregnancy between 1990 and 2016.

The studies included a total of 932 women and all examined them for their severity of postpartum depression.  

The exercises used in the various studies included stretching and breathing, walking programs, aerobic activity, Pilates and yoga. 

Compared to women who didn’t exercise, the researchers found those who did had fewer depression symptom during the postpartum period.

The benefit of having fewer symptoms was seen even among women who did not meet the cutoff for a depression diagnosis.

‘We expected that physical activity could reduce postpartum depressive symptoms,’ Ms 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.’

The current study did not investigate how much exercise new mothers need to do to stave off symptoms of depression.

But The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommended in 2009 that pregnant and postpartum women engage in 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week. 

‘We know that exercise is just as effective as anti-depressants for adults. The trick is to get them to do the physical activity,’ said Beth Lewis of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, who wasn’t involved with the study. 

‘With postpartum depression, it’s even more complicated due to the increased stress and sleep deprivation after having a baby.

‘We’re starting to learn more about exercise and how it helps.’

Future studies should include more data about the types of physical activity programmes that could reduce depression, the researchers said.

Health providers should know more about the duration, intensity and frequency of exercise to recommend to new mothers, they added.

‘It remains unanswered how these characteristics improve postpartum depression prevention,’ said Ms Alvarez-Bueno.

‘More research addressing this issue is urgently necessary because of the influence on both the mother and child.’ 

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