Ballet for most little girls is a rite of passage. You want to wear pink, dress up in a tutu and float around to music. When you are a child there are no inhibitions, no self consciousness about what you are wearing, you are just in the moment enjoying what you are doing. So where does all that go when you grow up?
Exercise Post Birth
It goes without saying that new mums want to get back to their pre baby weight as soon as possible after giving birth, and from my experience with clients this time is the most challenging for women as they struggle to come to terms with the change of lifestyle a new baby brings; lack of time and energy being the two key factors in trying to re-establish a fitness routine.
I mentioned in my Pilates and Pregnancy Blog part one that giving birth is like running a marathon, and I really encourage new mums to think this way. You have been in training for months for the event, the event has happened and however it went your body is now in recovery, and needs time to heal itself.
And this is the REALLY important bit- a methodical, slow paced approach to recovering the body through exercise will be much more sustainable and see the best results in the long term. Gentle, focused exercises are the key to getting your body back to optimum condition, feeling good and working well.
So where do you start?
What you can do is begin gentle pelvic floor exercises within 24 hours after giving birth, this will help reduce swelling and speed up the healing process. The NCT has a section on this: http://www.nct.org.uk/pregnancy/pelvic-floor-exercises-during-and-after-pregnancy and I would recommend every woman reads it as I’ve had clients follow these exercises religiously who’ve had a great recovery post birth. These exercises will also prevent problems in later life such as bladder control so worth putting the time in, and it’s something that is easy to do and can be maintained regularly, as often as you care to do it. The other thing you can do to help get back to normal is to eat healthy balanced meals with plenty of fruit and vegetables. If you want to lose weight then by all means cut down on sugary foods but do not go on any sort of diet, your body needs all the nutrients it can get. The NHS website have a section on keeping fit and healthy with a new baby: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/Pages/keeping-fit-and-healthy.aspx
Once you have had your post natal check with your GP at around six to eight weeks and they have said that you are safe to exercise, you can begin your Pilates again. If you have had a caesarean you will need longer so listen to your doctors or midwife’s advice, and be sure to follow it. Remember that whatever sort of birth you had, your back and your core will have weakened so take it slowly. Pilates is especially good at this time in your life as it is a precise approach to movement that strengthens your core, back and joints whilst teaching you to be aware at all times of your posture. The deep breathing is especially good at helping tired mums relax and de-stress and is a simple way to start the recovery process. Relaxine will stay in the body until you have finished breastfeeding so be aware that your ligaments and joints will be more supple than usual and take care not to overstretch or twist your body. And finally remember this quote when you’re feeling challenged by your new lifestyle and not sure you can make it to your pilates class.
‘Change happens through movement and movement heals’
Written material copyright of Rachel Lawrence.
All Rights reserved.
It has been a momentous year at Rachel Lawrence Pilates and I wanted to thank you all for your continued support. Whether you read the blog, follow me on twitter or instagram, read my Facebook page or come to class you are all appreciated.
With more and more of you tuning into the benefits of Pilates and a healthy lifestyle the business has gone from strength to strength just as your wellbeing has. It's so rewarding to see and hear how you have created your own healthy lifestyle from what you've learned.
There are exciting plans ahead for 2016; more health and wellbeing news, more classes and I will be adding Pilates films for you to view and take part in at home, so stay tuned for a bigger, better, healthier 2016!
Merry Christmas to you all,
My healthy take on strawberries and cream for the summertime!
I don’t know about you but the British summer plays havoc with my skin. What with the weather being hot and humid one minute and cold and wet the next, my skin can really suffer. You would have thought I’d have found the answer in a pot by now, but having tried my fair share of skincare brands over the years, I’ve found it hard to find the right product that’s suits my sensitive skin and modest budget!
So a few years ago I started experimenting with the idea of feeding my skin from the inside, to see if it made a difference. Using the saying ‘we are what we eat’ as a starting point, I looked into fruits, vegetables and supplements that help support collagen production, maintain balanced hormone levels, and aid digestion, all areas of the body which will affect how your skin looks if they are not functioning properly. I wanted to find and maintain a healthy glowing skin, and I finally found the answer in food!
The key components of my ‘skin friendly’ eating plan are keeping well hydrated, eating fruit and vegetables that contain powerful antioxidants, and making sure I have a healthy dose of essential fatty acids. In particular, eating foods that contain omega 3’s, as they encourage the body to produce anti-inflammatory compounds, which are particularly helpful for inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
Having been a lifelong eczema sufferer my skin has never been as clear, as healthy, and as fresh and plump looking as it is today. I put this all down to eating well and, eating the right types of food to feed my skin.
On that basis here is a recipe I’ve been tinkering away with in my Chiswick kitchen. It’s a delicious smoothie pudding recipe, which contains all the key ingredients to feed your skin, from the inside out. I must confess to liking my smoothies so thick you can spoon them out of the glass! So these ingredients and measures give you the consistency of a greek yoghurt. You can make it as a pudding, and serve in small glasses with a spoon. Or alternatively, you can have it as a straight smoothie, adding more coconut water to thin it out and drink straight from the glass. As always, don’t forget to share your healthy living treat with friends, family or partner, and enjoy!
Feed your skin smoothie pudding
250ml coconut water
Half a ripe avocado
3 frozen broccoli florets
Handful of spinach
1 apple -chopped
2 dsp ground flaxseed
Pour the coconut water into your processor and add the frozen broccoli and ripe avocado, blend until the broccoli is fully broken down which may take a while depending on the power of your blender. Then add all the other ingredients and whizz away until fully blended. If you’re having as a pudding decant into 4 small glasses and serve with a teaspoon. Or, add more coconut water to your desired consistency and you’ll get two good size glasses to drink. Be sure to consume as soon as possible after making, it’ll be cold, fresh and very, very tasty!
Do let me know what you think of it by adding a comment below, or responding via facebook or twitter. I’d love to hear from you!
© Rachel Lawrence. All rights reserved. No reproduction without permission.