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How to Jog After a C-Section

author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.
How to Jog After a C-Section
Woman jogging on the side of the road Photo Credit: fatchoi/iStock/Getty Images

Many women are eager to return to normal exercise after having a baby. Many choose jogging because it helps burn a lot of calories and can be done almost anywhere with minimal equipment. And they can, as their baby gets older, bring him along. Having a C-section, which is major abdominal surgery, means you should take extra care in returning to exercise—especially strenuous activity like jogging or running. Whether you are new to exercise or returning to a committed fitness routine, take it slow and listen to your body’s cues.

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Step 1

Obtain clearance from your doctor to exercise strenuously. Most physicians recommend a woman wait six to eight weeks after giving birth before returning to strenuous exercise, according to Jill Stovsky, exercise physiologist and dietitian on

Step 2

Walk for short intervals the first couple of weeks. Take your baby out in the stroller or go out alone for some needed "me" time. Try for 20 minutes at a brisk but manageable pace three or four times per week. If you use a treadmill, start with a speed of 2.5 to 3.5 mph at an incline of 1 percent to mimic outdoor wind resistance and uneven terrain. Over the course of a week or two, increase your walking time.

Step 3

Jog for intervals when you are able to walk 30 minutes comfortably at fast pace. Walk to warm up for 5 to 10 minutes, and then jog for a minute at a gentle pace---if you use a treadmill, try 5.0 mph. Return to your walk for two to three minutes, and then jog another minute. Repeat this sequence five to eight times and cool down. Adjust your pace if you feel stronger. Repeat this workout three times a week for two or three weeks.

Step 4

Increase the length of your jogging intervals. Try jogging for 90 seconds or two minutes at a time, giving yourself an equal amount of walk time between each interval. Go for 30 to 40 minutes total. As you find it easier to catch your breath between jogging intervals, decrease the duration of the walking periods and increase the length of the jogging intervals. Continue this routine for several weeks until you can jog regularly for five to eight straight minutes.

Step 5

Jog for 10 to 15 minutes straight following your warm-up. Give yourself permission to go slowly and to ramp up your speed over several weeks. Cool down after each workout. Add five minutes to your jog each week until you achieve the length of time or mileage you are after.

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