Parenting’s a tough gig. While you might be concerned about the actual birth as the most physically demanding part, many are surprised that the marathon is only just beginning.
Assuming the birth has gone reasonably well, getting back into exercise once you have recovered helps re-establish strength and recover from pregnancy. This ain’t about losing baby weight, but helping your body to deal with the constant rocking and feeding of a growing little bub.
On top of tiredness, many mums (and dads) are caught out by back pain, wrist pain and neck tension. Muscular discomfort is very common when tending to the needs of a little one. Read below for some exercises that can help you out in those early days and check in with your doc to get the all clear for exercise.
Don’t be scared by this technical sounding exercise. Grab a tennis ball, or bonus points for a spikey ball, and roll it around wherever hurts. Upper arms, forearms, glutes and shoulders are a great place to start. Don’t forget that pain can be referred, so experiment a little to see if you can get pain relief from a sore spot by targeting an area above or below the tension. Tight hips or glutes, for example, can mean a sore back, or tight chest muscles can put strain on the shoulders. A few minutes is all you need, as trigger point release with a ball or roller is a super quick pain release method.
Bow and Arrow
This exercise is designed to improve thoracic rotation, and good if your mid-back is feeling tight or fatigued. Beginners may find a seated variation the most beneficial because it is easier to know if you’re doing it correctly. Sit on your behind with feet up (like you’re doing a sit-up) and lift through the spine so the back is lengthened. From here reach both arms out and front, then draw your left arm to your side as you look over your left shoulder. This will mean your arm, head and chest is trying to rotate so you can look behind yourself, while your hips and feet continue to face forward. Be sure to keep knees and thighs together and level. You can do this seated, lying down, or standing and use bands for resistance for an extra challenge.
Get yourself on all fours and support through the belly so your abs are activated and strong. Reach one arm up in front of yourself, replace and repeat on the other side. Try to avoid wobbling or shifting through the trunk. Repeat using legs. Work up to one arm and the opposite leg being extended at once for an extra challenge.
Once you’re ready to branch out a bit more, you might want to get along to a Pilates class in Chadstone, Sunbury or wherever is convenient. Look out for a Mum and Bub class that you can take your little one along to and meet other parents!