How did you get on with Part 1? Did you pick up some points that you may need to address to help that tummy recovery?
Here are a couple more points that will make all the difference to how the tummy muscles recover and how to optimise their function.
Believe it or not, how we breathe will have an impact on how the abdominal muscles can function and if breathing is not at its optimum pattern then it will inhibit how the abdominals can work. Your diaphragm, part of your breathing muscle system is attached to the lower edges of your ribs and depending on how the baby sits during pregnancy, the position of the baby can cause tightness in the diaphragm. This in turn can cause a ‘flare’ in the ribs because the tight diaphragm isn’t allowing the ribs to descend properly on a breath out (you may feel bigger around the ribs and you may have even gone up in a bra size). To help change this you need to breathing in the best way – when you breathe in you need to imagine that the start of the breath is the middle of a cut tree trunk and as you fill up with air you are expanding in all directions so you are filling up following the rings on the tree trunk. It may also be necessary to need some soft tissue release work around the ribs, tummy and back to help the tissues let go and then allow you to breathe properly. I can do this soft tissue work with you and you will feel much freer and looser around the whole rib area which in turn will let the abdominals work optimally.
Stress levels will also have an impact on how your tummy recovers. Having a baby can be a pretty stressful time as it has such an impact on your life and that of the family unit. Sleep deprivation is often a big part of stress levels and there’s always a bit of that with a new baby. Cortisol is your stress hormone, and changes in sleep and your daily routine is enough to upset the levels of cortisol in your system. If you have a high level of cortisol in your blood stream then your body’s response will be to hang on to body fat as a defence mechanism to try and fight the stress. Hanging on to body fat was a good thing when stress was caused by running from wild animals whilst hunting but these days it’s not such a welcome response so it’s more important to keep stress levels in check. It may be hard to think about taking time out to get on top of this but it only takes 10 mins to do some relaxation/meditation and it could be that 10 mins that makes all the difference to your ability to burn body fat if that is what you are wanting to achieve.
Any questions or comments then please get in touch.
One of the commonest questions I get asked is, ‘Will my tummy ever be like it was before?’
The question is quite difficult to answer simply as there are many elements that will affect how your tummy recovers post pregnancy and birth. Here
are a few pointers that will make a difference to how your recovery can be affected.
What you initially need to reassure yourself with, is that your tummy has changed progressively over a number of months, so for it to just return to
how it was before overnight is setting your expectations quite high. There are always some women that this appears to happen to, but trust me,
they are in the minority!
The most obvious areas thought and asked about working on, are diet and exercise.
Exercise is a big element to recovery, but if you are doing the wrong exercise you could actually be doing more harm than good particularly if you
have an abdominal separation (diastasis). A diastasis isn’t a limitation to exercise, you just need to know what exercise is best and how to progress
then safely. Do you even know if you have a diastasis? Have you had your tummy muscles checked? Do you know if you are exercising safely?
Exercise is not just about strengthening the abdominals, stretching and releasing is just as important to assess as muscles can’t get stronger and
work hard if they are restricted in some way. A restriction or tightness anywhere in the body can inhibit how the abdominals work properly.
How do you feel your posture is since giving birth? Did it give you problems during your pregnancy? Postural changes naturally occur during pregnancy
due to the growth of the baby and how the body has to adapt for this to occur. These postural changes have effects on soft tissues around the trunk
in particular – they can for example become tight or weak, and because of this it can mean that the tummy muscles find it difficult to connect
and work properly again unless these soft tissue changes are addressed. There may be other exercises that are necessary first before actually trying
to work the abdominals.
If you would like some input in how to get your tummy muscles working again then please get in touch and look out for Part 2 of The Happy New Mum Tum.
Wow, it’s been hot this week. I hope you have been keeping well hydrated and as cool as possible.
I have been continuing to read Dr Rangan Chatterjee’s book that I mentioned last week. There is a great section on nutrition. We are all guilty of having
a bit of a blow out now and again and forgetting all of our healthy eating knowledge. Like my running that I mentioned last week, my eating habits
have become questionable too due to the fact I have been quite tired. One thing as busy mums that lack sleep tend to do when they are tired, is to
reach out for sugary snacks. This may make us feel better for a short while but because of that sugar influx it has a dramatic effect on our insulin
levels and after a short while we feel tired again and then crave even more sugar. The book talks about this and that it would be a good idea to always
have an emergency snack with us. As it’s going to be possibly stuck in a bag for a while it’s difficult to have something fresh but there are options.
I always have a nine bar in my bag for such occasions. It does have some sugar in it but it has good seeds in it too and sugar content will be a lot
less than a chocolate bar. Nuts and seeds are a good option along with something like oatcakes.
Let me know what you may have in your bag for such emergency occasions.
This week is the last session of the Mumsfit runners group that has been meeting 3 times a week. It is stopping for now but will restart in a slightly
different format in September on Tuesdays and Fridays from Tuesday 10 th . It will be more of a strengthening class which is a great cross training
session for those that maybe run or do other sports or for those looking to get generally fitter and stronger. Look out on the Facebook page and Instagram
for more details. This is a photo of some of the group that have been coming along on Fridays.
This is a no buggy group so if your little ones are now old enough for playgroup etc and you aren’t working on Tuesday and Friday then look out for details.
Within teaching the Holistic Core Restore® classes, I do give out many tips that will help to keep your bladder functioning well and give you a healthy
and efficient pelvic floor. Here are 3 bad habits that are very common and will do just the opposite for you, so try and break these habits now
if you are doing any of them.
Going to the loo ‘just in case’. This is a very common habit of many people and it may be more prevalent after having a baby because
of having to empty your bladder more frequently when the baby was bouncing up and down on your bladder! If not addressed, it can go on well
after birth and beyond. The habit needs to stop because it means that your bladder isn’t given the opportunity to fill properly and you are
not getting the right stimulation to need a wee at the correct time. The bladder itself is a muscle and will need retraining to do this,
but do it gradually over time and it will change. Just ask yourself, ‘do I really need a wee?’. Remember that if your bladder is filling
correctly when you have a wee, you should be able to count ‘1 mississipi, 2 mississipis, 3 etc’ all the way up to at least 8. If you don’t
make it that long, then it wasn’t worth going! Be sure to count next time and make sure your bladder function is good.
Make sure you sit down to use the loo. Hovering over a toilet seat to have a wee puts you in a really bad position to be able to empty
your bladder fully. If you sit down on the loo you will be able to ‘let go’ of everything to allow a good flow of urine and insure that you
get a good emptying of the bladder. If you hover, you won’t empty the bladder effectively and this will make you more prone to bladder infections.
Trying a mid-stream stop. Doing a mid - stream stop was quite often taught to see how strong your pelvic floor was. However,
it has been shown to interfere with the mechanism of being able to empty the bladder fully and also to have the ability to ‘let go’ of the pelvic
floor in order to empty the bladder. If you are able to completely relax and let the pelvic floor go, then doing this every now and again
isn’t going to cause a real problem but if done regularly to keep checking on strength of the pelvic floor, it will interfere with how the pelvic
floor muscles switch on and off which again could lead to infection.
If you recognise any of these habits yourself and you would like to know what you can do to help look after your pelvic floor further and improve its function
then why not come along to our Pelvic Floor and Pimms evening – what every woman should know. There is a choice of dates Wed 16th May, Wed 13th June or Wed 11th July at The Hive, Sports Direct Fitness, Tewkesbury Road, Cheltenham GL51 0SJ. Tickets can
be obtained here http://www.mumsfit.co.uk/shop/pelvic-floor-with-pimms and you
will find out all you need to know with myself and Specialist Women’s Health Physiotherapist Hannah Gray.
After talking to someone recently about what I did for my job, I realised that maybe not everyone knows about everything I do! I have been doing
Buggyfit since 2012 when I left a steady job as a physiotherapist working in outpatients, so I have seen many patients with joint and muscle problems
of all kinds. This helps me to answer many questions Mums have about aches and pains.
However, since starting Buggyfit I have completed many educational courses that has allowed me to work with women of any age and life stage. This
has all been carried out through Burrell Education, where Jenny Burrell is so passionate about women’s health care you couldn’t ask for a better teacher
and role model.
Holistic Core Restore ® is a course I have been working with for 4 years now and I have helped many women reconnect with their muscles again – abdominals
and pelvic floor, and have helped them to feel confident about returning to exercise. This is a specialist course which provides you with an
education for life for looking after your pelvic floor which will not only have changed during pregnancy and birth, but its behaviour can change again
when you hit the perimenopause and menopause. During the course, you have full support from me though out the 6 weeks and there is progressive
homework to complete. This is a 6 week course but the work doesn’t stop there, The Holistic Core Restore ® Heat class is an optional follow on
programme where the women progress on to a weekly exercise class that involves low impact high intensity exercise, participants can come to this as
long as they wish and it is a great stepping stone to returning to previous exercise of their choice.
This is how one class participant, mum to boys in their 20’s, so definitely not a new mum, has found this 6 week course beneficial
I had major prolapse/pelvic floor repair surgery in 2017 and was looking for a class that would help me to rebuild my pelvic floor strength. I had been advised to look for a class run by a professional physiotherapist who would understand the implications of the surgery, as I was concerned that I did not cause myself further problems by exercising inappropriately.
Joan is an excellent teacher, being very approachable, helpful and professional, and I immediately felt confident that I had found the right class. After three sessions, I experienced noticeable improvement in my muscle control and strength. The equipment provided is great, and easy to use at home. I really appreciate the fact that we can contact Joan with any questions or concerns, and the Holistic Core Restore portal provides easy access to videos of the exercises.
I have also appreciated the information about healthy eating to support the development of our physical strength. I am looking forward to trying all the suggested recipes, which look delicious and easy to prepare, as well as nutritious.
I would have no hesitation in recommending this class. It has been very enjoyable and helpful, and has really helped to rebuild my confidence!
Thank you again for what has been an excellent course - I am really reaping the benefits with greater strength and confidence!
The Easy-Peasy Guide To Your Pelvic Floor (And How To Look After It)
If you’re like many of the women I chat to, you fall into one of two categories: you’re unsure exactly what the pelvic floor is and why it’s so important
to you, or you’re clued up on the mechanics but left wincing at the idea of keeping the area strong! Hands up who has the best intentions to do their
daily exercises but often forgets?
Whichever category you fall into, this guide is going to talk you through: what your pelvic floor muscles are, why you need to look after them, and how
to do it with ease:
What is the Pelvic Floor and why is it so important?
The Pelvic Floor is a band of muscles, ligaments, tissue and nerves which support the pelvic organs such as bladder, bowel, uterus and vagina. This part
of the body helps these organs to function effectively – assisting in urinate and excretion, aiding in sexual performance, and helping to stabilise
connecting joints. It also helps to guide your baby’s head down the birth canal during labour. And is the muscle which helps you hold in wind when
you’d rather not let it out… It’s structured a bit like an internal trampoline!
Where can I find my Pelvic Floor?
If you place your hands each side under your bottom, palm side up, and sit with your fingers underneath your sitting bones – the pelvic floor muscle spans
side to side in this space.
To get an idea of the distance it spans, find your pubic bone and your coccyx – it runs from front to back.
To feel the Pelvic Floor muscles in use, stop and start the flow of a wee next time you empty your bladder. This shouldn’t be a frequent way to exercise
the muscle, but it is a great way to feel it at work when you’re getting to know the muscle.
What happens to the Pelvic Floor during a woman’s life?
The Pelvic Floor is often weakened by the stress of pregnancy and childbirth, but regular exercise and attention of this area can make the damage minimal.
Other reasons your pelvic floor may get weaker during your lifetime may include:
Straining during bowel movements
Pushing or straining to empty the bladder
Carrying too much weight
Hormonal changes during menopause
Avoiding these circumstances isn’t always possible. Which is why it’s so important to exercise your pelvic floor as often as possible to keep it strong
throughout your life!
What are the benefits of doing Pelvic Floor Exercises?
Pelvic Floor Exercises can help you overcome a variety of pelvic floor problems. Benefits include:
Strengthen bladder control (removing the urgency to urinate with exercise and strenuous activity)
Increased sexual sensation
Reduce pelvic prolapse problems – helping avoid the bulging feeling and discomfort linked with mild to moderate prolapse
Improved bowel control and reduction in chronic constipation and likelihood of rectal prolapse
How do you do Pelvic Floor Exercises?
It’s true that pelvic floor exercises require paying attention to an intimate part of your body, but that doesn’t mean that they need to be at all embarrassing,
and you don’t need to remove any items of clothing! All you need to do is focus on squeezing these important internal muscles and holding them for
several seconds to help strengthen them. This can be done discreetly, anywhere and anytime.
To complete a Pelvic Floor exercise (otherwise known as a ‘Kegel’) all you need to do is:
Keep breathing in and out as you squeeze your pelvic floor muscles – pull them up and in as if holding in a wee. Try to ensure you are activating
the whole pelvic floor from back to front.
Hold for 4-5 seconds to begin with, breathing in and out as normal. With practice, extend the hold to 10-15 seconds but keep breathing.
If you’re tightening your abdomen muscles or buttocks – you’re trying too hard. Relax and focus on your pelvic floor only.
Looking for friendly, professional support on keeping your body fit and strong without having to take out a gym membership? Mumsfit classes are specifically tailored for women who have are looking for a new lease of health, energy, and fitness in a fun atmosphere – whether you’re stuck
in the post-partum haze or approaching menopause. E mail email@example.com to find out more.
200g green lentils, rinsed well under cold running water
1 ¼ litres of veg stock
Juice of 1 lemon
85g spinach, tough stalks removed
Extra virgin oil to finish
100g natural yogurt to finish
Heat the olive oil in a large pan and set over low heat. Add the onion and celery with a pinch of salt and cook covered with lid on for 15 minutes,
until they are soft but without colour.
Add garlic and turmeric and cook for another few minutes. Now add lentils and stir to coat them in the onion mixture. Add the stock and simmer
over medium heat for 15-20 mins until they are soft and tender. While warm, season the lentils with salt, black pepper and lemon juice.
Add the spinach and blitz to a rough texture. Ladle the soup into shallow bowls and finish with the olive oil and a spoonful of yogurt.
Many people start the year with good intentions: intentions to make a change and commit to really getting fit this time. Unfortunately, everyday
life has the knack of derailing good intentions like getting fit - especially when you’re trying to raise a family as well as look after yourself.
Thankfully, enjoyment is a brilliant motivator. When you discover that running can be fun and safe (ie, you’re not going to do yourself damage on your
first session!) then the likelihood you’ll want to keep going dramatically increases. Here’s how to make keeping fit so enjoyable it will become the
highlight of your week:
Take baby steps If your fitness levels are currently low, it’s crucial you go gently on yourself and build your fitness before you try to undertake a 10k jog! When
you feel capable of upping your pace, it is always sensible to start gradually and build up the length and speed of your runs each session.
If you push yourself too hard to start with, not only do you run the risk of injury, but you increase the likelihood of frustration and not wanting to
try again. (There go those good intentions…)
Warm up Start every run with a gentle warm-up lasting at least 5 minutes. The sort of things you might try, include: power walking,
side steps, marching on the spot, knee lifts, climbing the stairs and gentle stretches.
Make it a game Remember how important the fun element is? Try adding running games into your workout rather than setting out on a typical long jog. At Mumsfit, we
use games which specifically work to improve your speed and form – while being straightforward and enjoyable!
Be aware of your body Did you know there is a way to run ‘correctly’? To make your run more enjoyable and efficient, pay attention to your body position and relax. You
Avoid hunching your shoulders - this restricts the oxygen getting to your muscles.
Keep your arms at 90 degrees – they will then help propel you forward as they swing.
Relax your hands - as tight hands can lead to back and shoulder tension.
Keep your knees down – your knees should be lifting forward as opposed to upwards.
Make your hips stable, and forward – no swinging them from side to side! This reduces chance of low back or hip pain.
Run with support If you really want to commit to getting fit, accountability is key. Whether you choose a close friend to chat fitness goals with or opt for professional
fitness support – having someone else take your fitness seriously will increase your chances of keeping ‘at it’ even when sleep deprivation would rather
have it otherwise. You’ll find encouragement goes a long way when you first start out. And what a bonus if you can keep fit and have a laugh with friends!
Stretch to finish A lot of people know the importance of ‘warming up’ but aren’t aware that a ‘cool down’ period is also needed to reduce chance of post-run discomfort
or injury. The aim is to lower your heart rate and get your breathing back to normal and help your muscles maintain healthy function. It’s highly recommended
you finish each running session with some gentle walking and stretches – and plenty of water.
Are you ready to start running and get fit?
The new Mumsfit Running Club is the perfect place to get the support you need and safely increase your overall fitness – while having fun and meeting other
like-minded women. These one-hour sessions will include a simple warm-up, gentle stretching, running games and strengthening for longer runs. Each
session is specifically directed to suit the group, so all abilities are welcome and tailored for.
Find out more about our friendly running sessions now –contact Joan on 07957 308968 or e mail firstname.lastname@example.org this class is a Buggy free and dog free zone!
As we have just had Halloween several of you may be overloaded with Pumpkin! If you haven’t yet had the joy of carving a pumpkin out for the children,
this is still a great recipe to try. This pumpkin soup is a Jamie Oliver recipe and very simple to make, great for freezing too.
Roasted pumpkin soup recipe
1.5kg edible pumpkin
1 teaspoon dried chilli
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
1 stick of celery
1 litre hot vegetable stock
Preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F. Half the pumpkin and remove the seeds (you can keep these for roasting), then chop into wedges. Place the pumpkin on two
large baking trays and drizzle over a little olive oil. In a pestle and mortar, grind the chilli and coriander seeds with a pinch of salt until finely
ground. Sprinkle the spices over the pumpkin with some black pepper. Roast the pumpkin for 1 hour, or until soft and slightly caramalised at the edges.
Meanwhile, roughly chop the onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Heat a lug of olive oil over a medium heat in a large saucepan then add the vegetables and
cook for 15 minutes, or until soft and sweet but not coloured.
When the squash is ready, add to the pan with the hot stock. Blend with a stick blender, adding a little more water if you like a thinner consistency.
Ladle into bowls and add you favourite toppings.
Grease a loaf tin or line with parchment paper and pour in batter. Bake for 35-50mins
We’ve nearly hit half term – hooray! One of the nicest things about half term is that we don’t have to rush in the mornings and we can take a bit more time to have breakfast.
Pancakes are a lovely thing to have for breakfast but you may not want to have the version with the flour if you are looking to lose a few pounds and look after your gut.
Here’s a simple recipe for banana pancakes that’s just bananas and eggs! A great protein breakfast that will keep you going for longer. Give it a try and let me know how you like it.
1 very ripe banana
2 tbsp of ground flax seed (optional)
¼ tsp of pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp of coconut oil
Mix together banana and eggs until smooth. Add optional ingredients if using. Heat coconut oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Scoop batter, about 1/4 cup per pancake, onto the skillet and cook until the centre starts to bubble, about 30 seconds. Flip pancakes and cook until bottoms are lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes more.
If you have any favourite breakfast recipes why not pass them on and we can share them.
As a Buggyfit instructor, I see a lot of new mums every week. Occasionally, new mums will come to me complaining of pain in their knee, ankle or foot which
has only occurred since pregnancy and beyond.
Quite often, these pains can develop due to the changes in posture that occur during pregnancy. There are changes in posture throughout the body, but one
of the areas that could be contributing to knee, ankle or foot pain is a tightness in the calf muscle due to changes in foot posture. You may have
noticed that your foot has become a little wider and your toes more splayed along with a loss of the arch on the inside of your foot causing you to
roll in on the foot a little more when standing still.
The actual cause of this problem can stem from changes much further up the body which would need to be assessed and addressed to solve the problem (all
of which I can help you with) but in the meantime there is something you can do to help alleviate some of the problem.
To help alleviate the tightness in the calf muscle, you can start with some simple stretching exercises. You may have stretched your calf muscle before
an exercise class, but what is important now is that to make any difference to the muscle and how you stretch it, you need to try and keep your back
foot in the stretch below as straight as possible, pointing directly forward.
With a tightness in the muscle you will be inclined to want to keep your foot turned out. You may need to stretch both sides but the foot that is at the
back with the straight knee, is the one you are stretching the calf on.
Stretch 2 (above) is a general stretch for the whole calf area where you stand on your bottom step holding on to the bannister, and let both heels drop
down below the step. With both of these stretches, you need to take it to the point where you just start to feel a pull and hold it for 20-30 seconds
and repeat 2-3 times. It’s best to stretch when you are warm so after a bath or shower is a good option or after a walk or some exercise. Remember,
the stretch may not fix things for you but it is a good starting point. To get to the bottom of any issues associated with this then please get in
What could be better than getting something for free!! You can get yourself out into the countryside and pick some blackberries.
Not only are you getting something for free but you’ll be benefitting from some fresh air. Maybe you’ll have a good walk to get to some or even go on a
bike! Whatever your mode of transport here is a recipe that can utilise your hard work and it’s sugar free! This has been taken from the Good Things
50g of Blackberries
10 Medjool dates
50g of desiccated coconut plus extra for rolling
200g of porridge oats (Use less if you like your energy balls to be a bit gooey!)
1 vanilla bean scraped
1 tsp of cinnamon
In a food processor blend the oats until the consistency of flour. Add in the rest of the ingredients and blend until fully combined.
Roll the mixture into 16 balls and roll each ball in desiccated coconut until fully coated.
Place in the freezer for half an hour then then place in the fridge until serving.
This recipe has been taken from ‘The clever guts diet – how to revolutionise your body from the inside out’ by Dr Michael Mosley.
1 medium aubergine (200g) peeled and diced
150g dark chocolate (Min 70% cocoa) broken up
60g coconut oil
60g soft pitted dates, diced
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp baking powder
80g ground almonds
Preheat oven to 170 degrees C
Steam aubergine 15-20mins until soft. When it’s ready place it in a bowl with the chocolate and coconut oil. The warm aubergine will melt the oil and chocolate.
Add the chopped dates and salt and place in a food processor. Blitz the mixture until smooth. It should now be cool enough to add the eggs and baking powder.
Blitz again for another minute or so and then mix in the ground almonds.
Spread the mixture in a lined baking tray (I used 20cm square tin) and bake for about 20 mins. It is cooked when a knife comes out clean.
It does say that you could make cupcakes, divide mixture in a 12 hole cupcake tray and bake for 15-20mins.
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