This week’s special guest article was written by Jenine Dilts-Bayman, The Mums Fitness Expert: Founder of the New Mama Lifestyle Program
Whether you’ve just had your 6 week check or your child is 7 years old, if you haven’t rehabilitated your body correctly after having kids, problems could remain. No matter how old your child is!
Issues such as pelvic floor weaknesses, prolapse, abdominal diastasis, and lower back pain will not go away without attention.
There are a few misconceptions I see on a regular basis, the first of which relating to that critical 6 week check…
For many women, the magic 6 week check up with their obstetrician is a much anticipated gateway to going back to exercise and life as they knew it. We wait patiently for our check up, and then once given the all clear, are left on our own to navigate a body that has changed drastically to what we’ve known our whole lives.
Time and time again, we lose sight of the fact that we’ve spent the past 9 months shifting organs, stretching skin and ligaments, and in the end have pushed an actual human being out of our vagina. Rather than gently support our bodies back to health, Western society and media has us believe that bouncing back after a baby is something to be celebrated and highly sought after. Unfortunately, this leads to many postnatal bodies incurring injury that is simply un-necessary.
On the other side is the Mum whom gave birth a long time ago, and has simply dealt with the health issues incurred in labour and birth without acknowledging them for what they are. These issues may be evident, such as stress incontinence (urinating without warning during a sneeze, cough or jump), lower back pain (often a sign of a weak core), a bulging ‘mummy tummy’ (often a sign of diastasis), or a consistent sagging feeling around their vagina (prolapse). You might think that time heals these injuries, but it simply doesn’t. They need focus and attention. And the really bad news is, if you don’t do something about it now, these issues will persist and even worsen as you age…
So what’s a Mum to do? Thankfully, there is plenty you can do to ensure you get your body, and therefore your health, back on track safely & effectively – and its not as hard as it sounds!
1) Start back Slowly. This is by far the most important thing you can do for yourself! Sticking to a progressive fitness program is critical to setting your foundation fitness and ensuring long term success. This means avoiding the all-out mentality of many classes and bootcamps, and starting back with low impact classes such as low impact aerobics, aqua-aerobics, postnatal pilates, some forms of yoga, walking or cycling. Think of what form of movement you once enjoyed, and make it happen! All of the movements in the New Mama Lifestyle program have been designed specifically with this in mind, and offer low and high impact movements, so you can begin working out at a higher intensity when the time is right for you.
2) Consistency is KEY. Just like anything, you can’t workout once and expect a result. You need to be consistent! In order to achieve results, you’ll want to commit a minimum of 10-30 minutes per day, 4 days a week, to your dedicated exercise program. “I don’t have time” is NOT a valid excuse for skipping this! Please remember that your health is the most important thing, and that if you don’t deal with these issues now, they will come back to haunt you as time goes on! We’re all busy, but your health has never been more important than it is right now. The New Mama Lifestyle program includes your babies and kids, so you can play with them while you workout – win/win!
3) Seek professional help. If you are concerned about any niggling feeling, or something that just doesn’t feel quite right within your body, please seek expert advice! Your Women’s Health Physiotherapist is a great place to start, and they should be able to give you a thorough assessment to get to the cause, in addition to specific exercises you’ll need to stick with (and avoid) to ensure your return to health is as safe as it can be.
4) Avoid going too hard, too soon. One of the biggest mistakes I see is the mentality that we need to give it all or nothing. We tend to sign up for a bootcamp (or pump class or…the list goes on), get in there and give it our all, regardless of if we’ve taken time to set our foundation fitness. The delayed onset muscle soreness when you do it this way is intense (um, not being able to walk the next day is not good!), and your risk for injury even greater. Please find a class suitable to where you’re at right now, and ease into exercise. Your body will thank you!
5) Keep your body & mind nourished and hydrated. When you begin exercise, your body – organs, joints, connective tissue – has to work harder than its used to. It is critical to ensure that you give your body the hydration and the nutrients it needs to combat the oxidative stress that is naturally occurring inside you. The best way to do this is to consume more water, fruits & vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fat sources, all throughout your day. Doing this doesn’t have to mean chopping veggies all Sunday in prep for your week ahead – there is a better way! Check out the Healthy Life Collective for more on how my clients gain excellent results through healthy eating.
Above all, please remember that something is always better than nothing, and the best exercise for you is the one you’ll actually do. Don’t let yourself be discouraged if you have an off day. We all do, and the best way to overcome that is to give yourself a break, and know that even if today it was all too hard, tomorrow is a fresh start.
You’ve got this Mama!
About Our Guest Writer
Jenine Dilts-Bayman is The Mums Fitness Expert: Founder of the New Mama Lifestyle online program, The Healthy Live Collective, and Mums With Bubs Fitness. Her aim is to empower, educate and support women towards better health, connecting them to their bodies, their babies & their communities!
Jenine holds over 16 years industry experience, her Certificate IV in Fitness, an Honours degree in Sports Management, and specializes in pre and postnatal training. She is enthusiastic about the positive difference her programs make to strengthening families, both physically and emotionally.
For more information on programs and locations, check out https://jeninediltsbayman.com/ or you can find her on Instagram & Facebook at @MumsWithBubsFitness