Postnatal Exercise by Rachael Barratt
So, you’ve just deflated your 9month beach ball. Maybe a few weeks on and you’re starting to think about exercise (and for some, the thought of exercise may have not even crossed your mind).
Wether you had a caesarian , where you may be be left feeling as though you have no support around your middle or proceeded with a natural labour where you may be feeling as though your bottom is about to fall away, never fear, exercise help is at hand.
I had the “joy” of experiencing both of the above labours and exercised within the few weeks after. Ok, some of you may be thinking crazy lady. But because exercise was a big part of my life prior to conception and throughout my pregnancy journey, jumping back into exercise wasn’t an effort. Now as a mother of two, I believe absolutely no judgements can be passed by women who don’t exercise and women who do. It boils down to own personal motivation, the need and desire to want to exercise for yourself to make YOU feel good. The only pressure to exercise should come from within. The pressure of losing “baby weight”, the pressure to bounce back to our good old “normal” self right after childbirth is rife.
In regards to such weight loss, there are many things that need to be taken into account when reflecting on this such as; diet- what’s passing our lips, how active we are, how much sleep we’re getting, and our gene pool.
There’s so much focus on being a “yummy mummy” that we can give ourselves a very hard time.
So having said this, before embarking on any type of exercise journey, you need to make sure you’ve had your 6 week check and have been given the green light to exercise. It’s also important that the pelvic floor is in good working order. Any inkling of a weak pelvic floor needs to be examined and you need to ensure that you’re using the correct technique when exercising the pelvic floor. Incorrect technique can do more harm that good. So too can numerous exercises such as running, lifting heavy weights, squatting and abdominal crunching and bracing- yes ab crunches!!
Here are some tips for exercising postnatal
1. Ensure you’re drawing the pelvic floor on and up during all exercises. Visualise squeezing the muscles up or visualise sucking a lolly pop down below. The feeling like you’re holding in wind, stopping the flow of urine mid flow. It’s really important NOT to hold your breath. If you feel any pain in this region during exercise such as a dragging feeling, pressure below or involuntary loss of urine or wind, you could be damaging your pelvic floor.
2. As you’re drawing in your abdominal muscles from you belly button AKA muffin top region, remember to pull the pelvic floor up. so remember – In and Up- breath!
3. Pram Fit
Exercising with the pram. Ensure you pram is sturdy. No 2 handle, nip around the supermarket stroller styles. Ensure you use your handle strap at all times unless parked on a flat area with brakes on.
* Find a combination of hills and flat. If you only have flat area to work with make chop it up with a combination of fast paced walking or jogging for a minute or two, then drop back to your normal speed.
* Park benches= tricep dips, push-ups or abdominal braces (if pelvic floor fit!)
* Pram and baby = 1 hard work out! You’re pushing the weight of the pram and the baby.
When pushing the pram, remain close to the handles at all times. When pushing up hill, try and remain nice and upright in posture.
* The feeling of wanting to hunch over and stick your butt out is big on hills.
* Pram handle bar = arm work out. While pushing the pram you can pull in and out from the handle bars for pram push ups. Or you can park the pram, brakes on and push up from the sides of the pram dipping your chin down to your baby and pushing up.
* Power poles= goal setting and beating personal bests! You can set goals using power poles, guide posts, parked cars or even trees! e.g I’ll just jog/ power walk until I reach the…
* Hydration is very important. Remember to drink plenty of water, especially if you’re breast feeding. A tip for hydrating at home, set the oven/mobile phone timer for 15 minutes. When it goes off, grab a drink. Re-set in 15 min blocks for a period of 2 hours.
Rachael Barratt Fitness
Pregnancy and Postnatal Group Exercise