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Monthly Archives: August 2018

Postpartum Exercise

If you attempt to perform strenuous abdominal exercises prior to this, you may permanently injure your abdomen. So be sure to check before you engage in any stomach exercises.

Here’s how:

– Life flat on your back.

– Bend your knees.

– Place the fingers of your left hand palm facing you above your belly button.

– Upon exhaling, lift your head and shoulders off the floor while sliding your right hand up your thigh toward your knee.

Feel your abdominal muscles tighten. As you do so, check for a gap between the edges of the muscle. If you have a gap that is more than two or three finger widths, you should perform only moderate exercise.

The gap will eventually narrow to one inch or so, and at this point you can typically safely perform crunches with no adverse effects. If you are having difficulty assessing whether or not your abdomen has a gap, ask your healthcare provider to point it out to you. This is actually a physical condition referred to as diastasis recti (but no need to get technical here!).

Below you’ll find some of the best exercises for restoring shape and flexibility to your stomach muscles:

Leg Slide

This exercise can generally be started during the first month post partum. You can do it while sitting on the floor watching your baby.

– Lie on your back with knees bent.

– Tighten your stomach muscles while pressing the small of your back against the floor, exhaling as you do so.

– Slide both your legs apart, so that they are moving away from your body. At the same time, keep your back flat on the floor.

– Return your legs to the start position when your back starts to arch.

– Repeat 5-10 times.

It is important that you pay close attention to your breathing during the leg slide, and tighten your stomach muscles before your slide your legs away from your body. Also pay attention to be sure the small of your back is pressed against the ground.

Pelvic Tilt

This is a great exercise for toning and strengthening the stomach, and can be started shortly after delivery.

– Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

– Inhale while allowing your abdomen to expand.

– Upon exhaling lift your tailbone toward your belly button, while keeping your hips on the floor.

– At the very top of the tilt squeeze and tighten your buttocks for five seconds, then slowly release.

– Repeat.

Standing Pelvic Tilts

A variation of the traditional pelvic tilt, you can accomplish this exercise anywhere even on the go!

– Stand with your knees bend and legs hip-width apart.

– Place your hands on your upper thighs while resting your upper body weight on your arms.

– Stick your buttocks out just enough to flatten your back.

– Inhale, and then as you exhale pull your pubic bone toward your navel, pointing the tailbone downward.

– Repeat to a flat back position.

Head Lifts

Consider this exercise a sort of ‘mini’ crunch that you can try if your abdomen is still healing from the trauma of birth.

– Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

– Be sure your back is pressed to the floor.

– Lift your head off the floor and bring your chin toward your chest.

– Hold this position and then return to start.

Seated Lat Rows

This exercise actually works to tone the upper arms and back. It is important that you establish balance in your exercise routine. By working out your back muscles in particular, you’ll provide extra support for your abdomen. For this exercise you’ll need either two light dumbbells or milk containers filled with water.

– Sit on the edge of a chair.

– Bend knees and keep feet flat on floor.

– Place dumbbells or milk cartons by your feet.

– Bend forward and bring your chest to your thighs, while keeping your back flat.

– Hold one milk carton or dumbbell in each hand, allowing arms to hang down with palms facing one another.

– Bend your elbows and bring them up toward your shoulders.

Straighten arms, repeat 5-10 times.

Push – Ups

Push ups can be done at any time, even during the first couple of weeks if you are feeling strong enough. Push ups are a great way to help strengthen your upper body, which will need to be strong to carry baby around.

Great Summer Workouts

It’s also an excellent fitness choice for all ages, from the very young to seniors. Water exercise is a very good way to burn calories, improve your strength and flexibility, tone-up, improve your cardiovascular system, and just get more fit overall. And, the types of workouts are practically endless. Most land exercises can be modified and re-created in water. Other benefits include:

  • lower injury risk
  • less sweating
  • works your entire body
  • challenges your body in a very different way then it is accustom to
  • refreshing way to workout
  • water provides natural resistance so no equipment is needed
  • can increase/decrease intensity (difficulty) simply by alternating between shallow and deep areas
  • good low-impact exercise choice for pregnant women
  • reduces joint compression and downward gravity pull (in other words – easier on the joints)
  • even people who can’t exercise on land can often exercise in the water
  • excellent rehabilitation exercise for people recovering from an injury
  • less stress on bones and muscles
  • great option for people with arthritis

Plus, water workouts also provide a fun and more socially interactive exercise option. For example, parents can enjoy time at the pool with their children while also fitting in some of their weekly workout sessions. Aquatic aerobic classes also provide a social, group-setting alternative.

Still not convinced that an aquatic workout will challenge your body as well as some of the more common workouts like walking or jogging. Well, try some of the sample exercise below and you’ll probably quickly change your mind. But, don’t judge the workout solely on how high your heart rate gets. Keep in mind that swimmers generate a slightly lower heart rate when compared to cyclists and runners. This does not imply that they aren’t working as hard. Experts equate the lower heart rate partially to the effect of immersion in a relatively cool environment. So, keep this in mind when determining your target heart rate, which may be 10 beats per minute lower when in the water. Also, don’t make the mistake of assuming you are well hydrated just because your body is submerged in water. You still need to drink about ½ a cup of water about every 20 minutes of exercise.

Swim/Walk interval laps: Swim 1-2 laps (use any swim form you prefer: crawl, backstroke, etc). Walk 1-2 laps in the pool. Repeat sequence 4-6 times.

Water Squats: Stand in the water with feet about hip-width apart. Bend your knees slightly as you push your hips back as if you are sitting on a chair. Keep your knees behind your toes. Return to start position and repeat. The water provides extra resistance and makes this move more challenging.

Wave Jumps (for those with access to the ocean or a wave-simulator): Stand in knee-deep or less water. Each time a wave comes attempt to jump over it. Note: this is a more advanced move that requires good balance and strong swimming skills. Do not attempt this move unless you have experience swimming in waves.

Double Calories Burned

There is no need for people to run five miles before breakfast. A healthier more focused you is within five minutes reach! Also there are other benefits of doing something physical upon rising in the morning. Breathing deeply and moving your body first thing not only allows you to burn more calories throughout the day but it also puts you in a better mood as well as obviously going a long way to providing yourself with better health.

In short, you will be more inclined to take the day by the “scruff of the neck”, so to speak, and to want to pursue goals and objectives if you are fully awake and energised for the day.

Below are listed some of the major benefits of doing something active each morning. Remember them when you think it is “too much effort!”.

1.Increased calorie burn throughout the day.

2.Higher energy levels.

3.Better health and fitness.

4.Due to point number three, a higher chance of living a longer more abundant life.

5.An increased likelihood that you will want to reach and achieve targets and ambitions in your life due to feeling positive and energised through exercise.

Remember, then, that success in fitness, or indeed in any area of life, is so often dictated by what you do (or do not do) each and every day for as little as five minutes at a time!

Fitness Focus

Principle #1 Move into the Fear.

“Train you mind to believe no mountain is too high or any goal is too difficult to attain,” Tom tells me. Basically, it’s all about meeting your fears and facing them head-on.

In this principle, aim to recognize your fears, acknowledge them and then move through them. Ask yourself what is it that makes you uncomfortable? Have you let yourself get out of shape and are afraid you’ll never get back? Do you have an injury that’s caused you to be afraid of your body?

If you can visualize creatively, then you can put your fears in check. See your self as you’d like to be. Remember: your body loves you and has the potential to heal itself to perfection. Your only job is to trust it and listen.

Q: What is your body saying to you?

Principle #2 Trust Your Intuition.

It is important when overcoming obstacles and learning to break through barriers that you begin to listen to the still small voice of your body. In most cases, we all want the comfort of having someone telling us what we can and cannot do. However, our highest truth lies within us. This is not to say that the good opinion of others is not important, but ultimately the decision making comes from within.

When facing a challenge or an obstacle look to how you feel. What are your instincts telling you? Often it is simply your instinct that will move you into a new mindset and raise your consciousness.

“I wasn’t about to let the wheelchair stand in my way,” Tom tells me. In fact, he says he had to merely change his perspective about it. He says he first had to learn about what his restrictions were then, create a boundary for himself. “We all have boundaries,” he tells me. “Regardless if a person can walk or not, obstacles are as unique as people themselves. Therefore, it’s first best to know your boundaries.”

Next, Tom tells me he aims to meet those boundaries.

“I first reach as high as I can within the confines of what I am able to do. Whether it be more sets, reps, or greater endurance, I allow myself as much time as necessary to accomplish my small goals. It always surprises me, with small steps, how quickly I can reach a Big goal.”

Principle #3 Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.

What then, about fear? I wanted to know. If we move into the fear and meet it eye to eye what if fear meets us there? “So,” I asked Tom: “are you ever afraid?

“After 19 operations in my life, I’ve really come to terms with fear,” he says. “It really comes down to our most primal fear; fear of death. Once you realize that death is all part of the divine plan, it’s liberating, you can let it go and, instead, choose how to live. So instead of being afraid of death I decided to choose how to live.”

So what’s the take away message? Talking to Tom, I’m reminded of the poem by Dylan Thomas who said: “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.” It seems appropriate here. The bottom line: Staying afraid often keeps us from truly living.

Tom reminds me that a positive attitude is key, “Life is all about attitude.” He also says he could let fear beat him down, yet he doesn’t. “I wouldn’t want to miss being part of tomorrow,” he concludes.

That said, what fears are getting in your way? Make today the right time to face them.

In conclusion: Life Beyond The Boundaries.

When you’ve faced your fears and pushed your boundaries to the edges, what then? I wanted to know.

Tom smiles. “Find a new mountain to climb,” he says matter-of-factly. “It’s what makes life fun. I know I have considerations. I know that there will be days that I’ll need to stay in bed and rest while my braces are getting tuned up. It’s those times when I am with my thoughts that I decide what I am going to set my sights on.”

Author’s Note: In my personal quest to live beyond the boundaries I’ve chosen Tom as my role model (lucky for me, he’s my brother). We so often look to the media for these sources and so often they are illusory. There are “real” people everywhere doing great things…look around you; angels are everywhere! Learn from them. Choose someone you look up to, admire or of whom you appreciate their values. Set goals, climb mountains! Set intention in motion and enjoy the healthy process.