I just want to say a quick thank you to Jessica at http://fitmama4life.com for featuring my blog post on Diastasis Recti today! So great to meet other women and Mom’s out there who can be supportive and appreciative of each other’s work! Also, really glad we can get this info out there and help other pregnant and postpartum mamas all over. It helps that she was such a pleasure to work with as well 🙂
Make sure to check out her blog and IG page (@_fitmama4life) .
So after getting some feedback from fellow Mom’s out there I was asked to write a post on how to avoid back injuries and ways to make life a little easier while caring for your little one! Having a weak core combined with increased lifting and carrying is a recipe for disaster. Follow these tips to protect your back and not go to bed sore every night! I will post these in segments so today we will focus on getting the car seat in and out of the car.
The Car seat
So if you are like me and out and about all the time the infant car seat can be your best friend. Baby is sleeping? No worries, we will just bring her out in the car seat! I soon learned that this 30-pound back wrecking torture device is my worst enemy.
Mistake #1: Not engaging your core while lifting the car seat out of the car.
I only have one child so it is recommended to keep the car seat in the middle seat, which sucks for getting it in and out!
How do people most often hurt their back? I always think of a BLT sandwich, Bending, Lifting and Twisting It’s these motions that when done incorrectly (or all at the same time) can cause lower back pain and strains. Which coincidently is exactly what we do when we get the car seat out of the car!
How to fix this
Get as close to the object you are lifting as possible (in this case, the car seat). By putting one leg into the vehicle you can get your center of mass closer and maintain a straight back while engaging your core in order to lift the seat out of the car.
Do this in 2 steps. Slow down; think about what you are doing. Lift the car seat out of the base, place on the seat, then get it out of the car, take a deep breath and engage your core before lifting.
Don’t twist and swing the seat over your side. Remember a car seat plus baby is almost 30 pounds, if not more! You would never do a motion like this with a 30 lb. weight at the gym would you?
If you have a low vehicle, make sure to squat down and lift the seat with both arms as if it is a big medicine ball. This will not only save your back but also your shoulders!
Mistake #2: Carrying the car seat on one side of your body.
Come on, we all know this MUST be bad for us but when we are in a rush we do it anyway. Not only is this extremely hard on your spine and can cause muscular imbalances and strains, it is also very hard on your shoulder and neck as well! (My chiropractor probably cringes when he sees women walk into his office like this)
How to fix this
1) Avoid carrying the car seat whenever possible. If you have a stroller that it can easily clip into make sure to use it!
2) When you must carry the car seat (into a restaurant, short distances) try carrying it in front of you with both arms. Be sure to stand up tall and keep your core tight! I understand this may look silly and feel slightly awkward but by centering the weight along your midline you will be able to carry the seat with your whole body and core strength (that you have diligently been working on by doing the exercises in my previous blog here) as opposed to mainly your shoulders, arms and back muscles.
Try these tips today and let me know how it feels! In my next post I will review common mistakes when lifting or playing with baby.
So here’s an update of where I am in terms of my ‘be as healthy as you can be’ for the month of March. It’s been 3 days and I have to say I haven’t slipped up once! Now I haven’t been as strict with my diet as I could be (yes..had myself a glass of pinot with dinner tonight), but overall not terrible. I went on a great power walk with my husband on Sunday, went to Crossfit on Monday, and went for a another walk with a girlfriend and her baby tonight.
This week I went back to work at a nursing home, just covering a vacation for a coworker. When I got home I was reflecting on how working in an office or social setting can really derail one’s healthy eating plan! Not only is a there a string of fast food places across the street, but it seems the staff is always eating or passing food around! Whether its a birthday potluck for a coworker or someone decided to bring in cookies because it’s Friday there is ALWAYS something to eat. This can make it tough for people, like myself, who are impulsive, always hungry and are too polite to say no when someone offers. So here are some tips on how to avoid gaining weight in the workplace.
– Planning and preparation is key, bring a lunch everyday with lots of healthy snacks. By snacking all day you won’t be starving when someone comes by with the box of donuts. Also by eating every 3 hours you will keep your metabolism revved which helps burn more calories.
– Pack your lunch at night while you are making dinner. This way it is not an inconvenience and you are less likely to forget in the morning because you woke up late.
– Keep a diary of everything that goes into your mouth. Even if you aren’t counting calories you are far less likely to eat that cookie if you know you have to write it down! Funny how that’s works huh.
– Use your step tracker. I mentioned in a previous post that i LOVE my fitbit. Most smart phones have their own built in step tracker. If you are an office worker make a point of taking the long way to the bathroom or copy machine. In a recent study by Thorp et al. (2014) it was shown that even just transitioning from sitting to standing every 30 minutes can significantly decrease fatigue and back pain. Maybe it’s time to convert to a standing workstation after all!?
On another note, I came across some interesting but true research while looking stuff up tonight. This article by Shoham et al (2012) studied social effects on people’s choice of activity and how this can contribute to the ‘contagion effect’ of obesity. “Network contagion” can be comprised of 3 different things,
1) social influence; 2) confounding by shared social environments of network members; and 3) social selection or homophily (“love of sameness”) on shared predisposition to engage in (un)healthy behaviors. (Shoham et al, 2014).
In their study they found that homophily and social influence are important in understanding factors contributing to adolescent obesity. I feel like this also applies to adults because doesn’t everyone want to feel like they fit in regardless of how old you are? So what’s the answer? Ditch all your overweight friends? NO! (jeez that would be mean, and you deserve to have no friends!) The great thing is, this theory works both ways! If you live a healthy lifestyle your friends will want to as well! So next time, instead of eating those cookies on top of the office fridge bring some veggies or tasty dried fruit and let everyone feast on that. On that note, I’m going to make my lunch and go to bed early, I’m not used to having to leave the house early anymore!
In fitness and good health,
Occup Environ Med. 2014 Nov;71(11):765-71. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2014-102348. Epub 2014 Aug 28.
Shoham DA, Tong L, Lamberson PJ, Auchincloss AH, Zhang J, et al. (2012) An Actor-Based Model of Social Network Influence on Adolescent Body Size, Screen Time, and Playing Sports. PLoS ONE 7(6): e39795. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039795
So I’ve decided that I am taking on my own challenge for the month of March. Although I have been working out religiously since I was 4 weeks postpartum it’s now time to step it up a notch. Here are my reasons why I feel I am ready for a more serious workout regime…
– I have been doing my core and pelvic floor exercises daily and feel that I am strong enough to stabilize while doing more complex movements and lifting heavier weights.
– I am no longer out of breath doing simple exercises! I’m not sure about everyone else but that first month back I was seriously winded everytime I did any sort of cardio.
– I am within 5 pounds of my target weight, this means that I can now focus on building muscle rather than losing weight. I think I have mentioned before that I like to track my progress by how I look rather than what I weigh since it’s not a very indicator of health, but I still like to be in the 135-145 range, which is good for my height (5’9″)
– My baby is 4 months old now! That means that she sleeps better at night, and we can go out more during the day. I know this isn’t the case for everyone but we are getting on a better schedule is key to developing a good workout routine.
– I have less and less relaxin in my system, meaning that my ligaments and joints are more stable which puts me at a lower risk of injury. Read my post here for more information on relaxin!
– This is pretty vain but we only have a few months until summer and I want to be back feeling great in my bathing suit!
So what does this mean? My goal is to lose inches, particularly in my hips and waist. I would like to gain muscle and decrease fat, WITHOUT harsh dieting, but rather healthy eating. I have to be very careful because dieting severely affects my milk supply. I want to continue working out but try to incorporate some sort of physical activity every single day, including rest days. This doesn’t mean go hard at the gym everyday, as everyone’s body needs sufficient rest, but just overall be more active in terms of walking places or doing things around the home. I also am going to introduce some variety into my workouts, Crossfit is awesome BUT because of the intense strain on your muscles it’s always best to balance this out with yoga, pilates, barre class, yoga, and at home body weight exercises and stretching.
I will be tracking my progress with pictures and measurements. If you are postpartum or simply want to improve your fitness please think about joining me on this month long challenge! Just contact me now! I will help you by providing workout routines, meal plans, and tips and check-ins to help you stick with it! If you can do this for the month of March, thats 31 days towards a healthier lifestyle and a healthier you.
This has been a crazy week! The baby has been super fussy, doesn’t want to eat, but wants to be held all day, so I have been a little overwhelmed with that and haven’t had much time to get on the computer! I have a few great articles in my draft folder right now, so I promise I will get those finished at some point! In the meantime I decided that I am going to start posting a few exercises each week that are appropriate for women postpartum or just those that need to increase their overall strength to prevent injuries! This week’s theme is…you guessed it, CORE strength!
1) Lying flat on the ground find your neutral spine position by pulling your bellybutton to your spine while maintaining a slight ‘pocket’ under your lower back. If this is difficult or causes lower back pain during this exercise find your ‘imprint’ position (flatten your lower back against the ground while keeping your core tight for more stability).
2) Extend one leg out so it hovers over the ground, extend the opposite arm out above your head, holding the non working leg and arm in the starting position.
3) Switch legs and arms.
4) Repeat 5 reps on each side, rest, repeat 3 times.
1) Position yourself in a quadruped position (legs at 90 degrees to hips, arms directly under shoulders)
2) Find your neutral spine position, pull your bellybutton into your spine, don’t let your belly ‘droop’ as you do this exercise.
3) Extend one leg behind you, try to make one straight line from shoulder to toe. (This is a great one to do in the mirror!) Extend the opposite arm to continue this line.
4) Hold this for 3 breaths, switch sides. Repeat 5 reps, rest, repeat 3 times.
Give those a try! Feel free to comment and let me know how it feels or if you have any questions. These are both GREAT core rehab exercises and will help improve your posture, stability, core strength, breathing, and enable you to move on to more complex abdominal exercises.
In fitness and good health,
Santa Barbara Personal Training, Group Training, Consultation Services