Post Natal Exercise – Where do I start??

After a bit of an end of pregnancy slow down (!) on the blog front I thought it would be an opportune time to write some post natal exercise posts to both remind myself & give some direction to anyone beginning the journey of reconnecting with their non-pregnant selves!

With any exercise programme, post natal or otherwise the ability to breathe correctly during exercise is essential to having a fully functioning core. Reconnecting with your breath will provide the foundation to both your core’s recovery rate & help you to progress with bigger more integrated core movement patterns (A.K.A sorting out the mummy tummy!).
Breathe_titled-300x300Whatever birthing experience you had or however fit you were/are post partum reconnecting with your breath is where you need to begin. The nature of pregnancy – with the baby in the tummy thing (!) – can create a disconnect with the way we breathe due to the expanding uterus squashing the diaphragm resulting in there being less room for your lungs to expand – so it is vital to relearn this essential function.

Try this – find a quiet space to practice lying down with a neutral spine & pelvis.

Inhale (the expansion): Breathe wide into your ribs, try to do this 3 dimensionally so use the floor against your back as a reference, don’t just flare the ribs outward. Your abdominal wall will expand. Try to relax your shoulders, neck & jaw.

Exhale (the compression): As you breathe out feel your ribcage contract & lower, your abdominal wall & lumbar/thoracic muscles (see the pic) will tension. Think about connecting with your pelvic floor by drawing it up (think picking up a tissue with your vagina) from your vagina to your anus.

Once you feel you have the full core connection try this sitting & then standing making sure to integrate the pelvic floor contraction on each exhale & fully relax/release it on each inhale.

For some women, it will come as a relief knowing that all is required on the exercise front is a bit of breathing to get started but for others wanting to just get the running shoes back on & pick up where they left off, it may pose more of a frustration or perceived limitation to getting their bodies back. Understanding why we need to start with the breath is key to accepting your journey to hot mumness (technical term!) – safe in the knowledge that you’re going to reclaim (& maybe even improve on) the body you want both aesthetically & functionally without having to pee your way through a kettlebell workout because you haven’t addressed proper pelvic floor & core restoration!

So – at a glance list of ‘Why’s’:

  • Costal breath patterns (as directed above) will help take pressure away from healing abdominal & pelvic floor tissue.
  • Develops your MUCH NEEDED pelvic floor reconnection.
  • Increases your oxygenated blood to help healing abdominal & pelvic tissues.
  • Strengthens & supports your post partum abdominals, back & pelvis.
  • Helps aid valuable relaxation which in turn will help balance the hormone levels that control weight.

For more info on Pilates & women specific exercise click & follow the blog for updates!

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