Mothers will know that once you have children there are areas in the body which fall to the way side and become victims of neglect.
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Should these areas remain untendered it’s not just your fitness that will fail but your health could also be compromised in the long term.
However, it’s never too late to turn that around, setting goals for yourself on the areas that need the most attention may serve as motivation to get back on the horse.
If you’re not sure what these goals should be, I’ve covered them off for you.
1) Build a strong pelvic floor
If you’ve had a natural birth you may sympathise with having weak pelvic floor muscles.
Your pelvic floor muscles serve as a gatekeeper and build a strong wall of defense that keeps particular fluids from leaving the body involuntarily.
I won’t beat around the bush with this one, essentially should you lack the muscle strength in your pelvic region you may find yourself battling with incontinence. This is a normal condition however you can help to prevent it through specialised exercises.
Yoga and Pilates are perfect examples of activities that help to engage and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, however if you prefer to practice in the comfort of your own home, try the following:
Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet planted hip-width apart. In a thrusting motion, lift your buttocks off the ground and into the air in a controlled motion. Activate your gluts and slowly raise and fall to ensure you are switching on your muscles.
If you’ve ever been to countries where a toilet seat is non-existent than you may be familiar with the yogi’s squat. Sit into your feet which should be about a mats width distance and use your elbows to push your knees outwards while you hold your hands in prayer.
Holding this for longer than 30 seconds will help to lengthen the muscles in your pelvic floor which will help you to gain back the power of contraction!
2) Lift weights
Maintaining optimum bone density will help hold you in good stead for the long run and can also help to manage the weight of carrying children.
Incorporating weight bearing exercises into your fitness regime won’t just help you lose weight but most importantly will strengthen your bones and muscles.
If you don’t wish to purchase weights, use your little rascal!
Russian Twists with Bub:
Sitting on the floor with your knees lifted and feet of the floor, hold your bub or some sort of heavy item and lift them from side to side while you twist from your waist. Try to avoid your knees moving too.
This should be fun for your little one but if they’re not enjoying it perhaps leave them to play.
3) Stomach of steel
If you’re a new mum you’ll learn that you use your body in ways it has never been used before, for example the pram pushing, watermelon (baby) lifting and rocking. In all these new activities the one muscle group that should be constantly called upon is your core.
A strong core can help provide support and promote optimal posture for all the lifting, pulling, pushing and more.
Work towards improving your core with a short routine of exercises practiced every morning:
- Position yourself on your all fours and using your balance move your arm and opposite leg outwards and bring them back into your body to touch knee to elbow. Repeat 10 times for each side.
- Hold plank for 1 minute
- Lie on your back with your feet planted hip-width apart. Have your arms raised parallel to your body and reach from side to side touching your ankles. Do this for a count of 50.
4) Find relaxation in exercise
Exercise can be a time for relaxation as well. Being able to tune out of your everyday tasks and tune into your body is incredibly powerful and helps build mental as well as physical strength.
Exercises such meditation and yoga are great for honing in on your internal self and leaving everything else out. Try factoring in 20 minutes a day on yourself – consider it fitness for the mind and body.
Meditation especially requires discipline but offers an abundance of reward with just 20 minutes equating to hours in sleep. Meditation switches on your alpha brain wave which stimulates deep relaxation, something a busy mum may lack.
There are many apps which can help guide and ease you into the practice.
5) Compete in a race
If you’re working towards improving your fitness why not establish a goal to help keep you motivated and accountable. Fun runs, ocean swims and obstacle races are the perfect challenges to set for yourself. If you prefer exercising with friends you could enter into an obstacle race as a team. Not all obstacle races are miles long and guarantee bumps and bruises, there are much gentler fun obstacle races that are better suited for novices. Aim for a short distance race, such as 5 km which has a lot of obstacles in between, some are female only so you don’t have to worry about being barged over by men.
Do you find anything that works for you? Please share in the comments below.