Diastasis Recti Kinesiotaping Video

Was requested by baobeimaternity.com for this video…put this together tonight! As I say in the video always consult a pro before doing this yourself but thought this is a good reference for doing this at home. Enjoy!

PS. If you haven’t noticed, I have a speech impediment (hence why I hate doing videos) and the word DIASTASIS is impossible for me for some reason, so I make up my own pronunciation 😉

Should I workout while sick?

Exercise and the Common Cold

So I don’t know about everyone else, but I have found that since giving birth to my daughter I have had way more colds than usual! It must be the combination of less sleep and increased stress taking a toll on my immune system. The good thing is since I am nursing I pass those immunities onto our little one, so I’m the only one that has to suffer through these awful sicknesses! This is the second cold I have gotten, nothing crazy but still enough to make me feel crappy. It probably doesn’t help that we are going through a 4-month sleep regression so I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in a while. I find it kind of crazy because before all this I had a bulletproof immune system. Thanks to working in healthcare I haven’t even had a sniffle in 3 years, even made it through a whole pregnancy without getting sick! Today I felt like being a smarty pants and doing some research, so just a heads up…this post is packed full of it! I know this can be boring for some but I am a closet nerd and this does slightly excite me.

The big question is

Should I still exercise with a cold?!

Out of courtesy to others at the gym I probably would find somewhere else to workout for a few days, nobody likes the guy beside them sniffling up a storm, but contrary to popular belief, exercise (in moderation) is actually good for you and won’t make your sickness worse, and hey, it may even make it better! There has been lots of research on how exercise prevents sickness, but not very much on its effect on the body once you’re already sick. The general consensus seems to be that if you have a cold (runny nose, headache) and not the flu (vomiting, fever) it is safe to participate in moderate exercise (walk, light jog, etc.), although heavy exercise isn’t recommended (and I feel like that would be pretty tough anyways). By the way I look at it any sort of activity is better than sitting around the house feeling sorry for yourself! You can read more about that study here. A recent review of the literature shows that the relationship between exercise and preventing colds works on a J shaped curve (see below), this means that moderate exercise is the best for preventing illness and decreasing the stress response in your body, but high intensity exercise can actually have a negative effect (so maybe all that Crossfit lately has been working against me a little).  If you would like to read more about this click here. Ultimately, working out 4-5 days a week at a moderate intensity level will help you to be the healthiest you can be!
J shaped immunity exercise and colds
As I sit here and contemplate if I should go to Crossfit tomorrow I came across a study by Rakel et. al (2013) that looked at the association between moderate exercise and mindfulness meditation and their effect on acute respiratory infection (common cold). They measured this based on how much money was spent on medications, doctor visits and missed days of work during the duration of the cold and flu season. They found that those who participated in mindfulness meditation vs those in the control group had the greatest cost benefit, and those who exercised also had a cost benefit, although lesser. This suggests that those participants missed less days of work and spent less money on medications and doctors visits, which implies fewer or less severe illnesses. Now this study is preliminary so there’s still work to be done on the subject but I think those results seem pretty promising! It is pretty much saying that even just thinking about being well can make you healthier? I’ll take it!
If you aren’t familiar with mindfulness meditation it is incredibility hard to describe, everyone who studies this sees it a little different based on their own background and beliefs. I did a big research paper in school on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), so this is why this study popped out at me as interesting. Basically mindfulness is a state of mind and a way of being. If you consciously make yourself more aware of how you feel and use this concept to guide your meditations it can ultimately lead to stress reduction, which can lead to less chance of getting sick! To explain this concept here is something I would say to a client to guide them through a mindfulness session for pain reduction. (I’m totally just making this up on the fly so bear with me here..)
I will ask you to close your eyes, breathe deeply, inhale and exhale, listen to your heartbeat, feel the blood pulsing through your veins, feel the slight tickle of hair on the back of your neck and warm sun on your face. Now focus on that nagging pain in your lower back. Visualize that pain dissipating, dissolving away, your muscles getting softer, your shoulders getting heavier, your breaths getting deeper, feeling more and more relaxed with each exhale, feel the pain leaving your body with each breath… Get the idea??

Here is an article regarding the healing power of mindfulness…
Here you can learn more about mindfulness meditation…

Okay, after totally veering off topic I think I came to my conclusion. Right now I am going to lie in bed and think about feeling better (mindfulness meditation)! Tomorrow will be day 5 of this annoying cold, so I will go on a nice walk (moderate exercise) as I have been doing all weekend and hopefully be back to normal by Tuesday! Power of positive thinking right? The most important thing while your sick…KEEP UP THOSE FLUIDS. Since I am nursing I am doing my best to drink tons of water to avoid dehydration, which drastically affects my milk supply (I learned from experience). Here’s hoping that I don’t get sick again this winter! One last thing, don’t forget that most cold medications aren’t recommended if your breastfeeding, so unfortunately like me you just have to tough it out. Bah.

As always, please consult your doctor before partaking in any physical activity. Each person is different and my recommendations are solely my own opinion and not medical advice.

References

Nieman DC. Exercise, upper respiratory tract infection, and the immune system. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1994 Feb;26(2):128-39. Review.

Rakel, D., Mundt, M., Ewers, T., Fortney, L., Zgierska, A., Gassman, M., & Barrett, B. (2013). Value associated with mindfulness meditation and moderate exercise intervention in acute respiratory infection: The MEPARI Study. Family Practice, 30(4), 390–397. doi:10.1093/fampra/cmt008

Weidner TG1, Cranston T, Schurr T, Kaminsky LA. “The effect of exercise training on the severity and duration of a viral upper respiratory illness” Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1998 Nov;30(11):1578-83.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/25/health/nutrition/25best.html?_r=0

Before you read…

Disclaimer: I’m an evidence based writer, if you are looking for creative writing I’m afraid you won’t find much of that here!  If you ever need clarification or you have questions please comment and I will be happy to help! Also, enter your email on the side to get notified of new posts. Please remember all advice and recommendations that I make are based on my own experience and research. A blog is not a replacement for medical advice. Everyone is unique so check with your healthcare professional before engaging in any physical activity or following any of my recommendations!  Thanks, happy reading!

FOLLOW ME on instagram @fitmamasb and find me on facebook (Fit Mama Santa Barbara) for the latest posts about fitness, health, food, giveaways and of course some baby spam. 😉

Bellefit Product Review

So I’ll start off by saying I am writing this review out of my own free will, I was not compensated for this review. I purchased the Bellefit postpartum girdle when I was 40 weeks pregnant and wore it after I got home from the hospital for 4-ish weeks. So first off, this product was awesome! If you aren’t familiar with it, Bellefit postpartum girdle is to be worn after delivery to assist with ‘shrinking’ your abdomen back and offer some external support. I ordered 2, based on my measurements at 40 weeks. I got this one herebellefit front closure girdle review.Image source

They have a great little calculator on their website to figure out what size and style would work. I got the front closure one in size large and medium. The large fit me VERY snugly (which is the point) right after getting home, I was able to wear it over my granny panty underwear/depends (come on, you know you were all wearing them too). It has a bottom closure so you don’t have to take it off to go to the bathroom and it keeps it in the right place so there’s no awkward adjustments every time you stand up from a chair! Within one week my stomach reduced dramatically. The large no longer fit me and I was able to progress to the medium, which I wore for the remaining 3 weeks. Just a word of advice, if you have wider hips and a smaller waist like myself definitely go with the front closure. I ordered the side zipper one initially and it was extremely challenging and uncomfortable to put on, so I returned it for the front closure instead, MUCH more comfortable and it has two size settings (two rows of fasteners) as opposed to just one. Now this product isn’t cheap, $110 dollars each, but it was extremely well made, washed well, maintained it’s elastic stretch and I was even able to resell my size large for $50 used! Amazing. I personally feel that it helped heal my diastasis faster by holding the muscles together where they should be, and it did offer some support to my lower back as my body adjusted to not carrying around an extra 20 pounds. If you are looking for something to offer substantial back support or compression at the hips then this is not the product for you. Back/hip braces can be worn overtop of this, but professionally I wouldn’t recommend this as I’m not a fan of compensating with braces unless absolutely necessary (e.g. you are in so much pain that you can’t function without a brace). This is also why I don’t think this product is beneficial past 4-6 weeks, but that is just my own personal opinion. Overall, I was very pleased with my purchase! Good customer service as well, they responded to my emails in a timely manner and shipping was quick! Lastly, this product isn’t pretty lingerie, I looked ridiculous and you can still see it under tight clothes, gave me a ‘double bum’ haha…but hey, my husband didn’t care and I just didn’t wear anything tight for a while! Also, since it’s my first baby I’m not sure what the results would of been if I didn’t wear it, so not much of a scientific study but I felt pretty good about it. I’d love to hear about other women’s experiences with this product. Hope this helps!

Natasha

Check out this awful picture! But the results were too good not to share a picture!

bellefit girdle before and after

 

Pregnancy Core Strength Exercises

As promised here are some core exercises that I started while I was pregnant and am still continuing today!

Transverse Abdominis (TA) Activation

  • Sitting against the wall, best to sit on a ball for beginners
  • Take a deep breath and while slowly exhaling pull your belly button to your spine keeping everything tight. Hold for 3 seconds and relax.
  • Repeat this 5-10 times increasing the amount of time spent in a static hold.
  • VISUALIZATION TIP – I think of a string attached from the inside of my bellybutton to the wall, I imagine this string shortening, pulling on my bellybutton and getting my stomach as flat as possible WITHOUT moving my ribs. This will ensure that you are working the right muscles!
  • Maintain good posture, shoulders back, head up.
  • FOR MORE OF A CHALLENGE – do this without a ball under you, in a sitting position supported by your legs.

Core strength wall sit

Kegels

  • Start by doing these in sitting, then try lying on the ground, side lying, or standing as I find the different positions activate different areas.
  • Feel as if you are trying to stop the flow of urine, pulling that pelvic floor up as high as possible, hold for 10 seconds then relax.
  • It is just as important to be able to completely relax these muscles (feeling almost as if you are going to go to the bathroom) as it is to tense them. Muscles only function properly if there is a good balance between tension and relaxation, therefore muscles that are too tight don’t work very well!
  • VISUALIZATION TIP – Think of a string going through the midline of your body out the top of your head. As this string shortens it pulls up on your pelvic floor. Try to activate this area without using any other muscles like your buttock or thighs!

kegel exercises

These exercises and daily walking and squats are the key to an easy and successful labor and delivery! Make time for exercise now before baby and you will reap the benefits later.

 

After Pregnancy… Exercises to rebuild that core and heal your diastasis!

 

TA Activation, Lying Down
  • Lying on the ground have your legs bent at a 90 degree angle
  • Take a deep breathe, as you exhale pull your stomach flat into the ground. Feel like your bellybutton is sinking.
  • I like to keep my hands on my stomach to make sure im working the right muscles, you should feel yourself ‘get skinnier’ without sticking your ribs out, or arching your back.
  • Back and shoulders should be flat on the ground with a slight neutral curve in your lumbar spine.

This is your starting position for the following exercises.

core strength activation

 

Heel Slides
  • From your starting position rest both heels on the ground. Slowly slide one heel out being careful not to not move anything other than your leg.
  • Do 5 on each side, rest, repeat 3 times.

core strength exercises

Leg lifts – Knees bent

  • From your starting position, take a deep breath, then as you exhale lower one leg down to the ground, touch your foot to the ground without resting and return to starting position. Try to not let your abdominals relax or arch your back.
  • If you cannot maintain a strong core position while doing this, start with going halfway to the ground.
  • Alternate legs, do 10 repetitions, rest, repeat 3 sets.

core strength exercises

Only when the above feels too easy, move on to the next exercise

Leg Lifts – Legs straight

  • From starting position straighten you legs. Keep your core tight and don’t let your back arch while doing this.
  • Take a deep breath in, as you exhale  lower one leg to the ground, bring back to starting position, repeat on other side.
  • Alternate legs, 10 repetitions,rest, complete 3 sets.

core strength exercises leg lifts

Hope you get the chance to try some of these ! The great thing is that they can be done in your bedroom with no equipment so they are easy to sneak in during nap time!

On another note, it’s really challenging to find pictures to demonstrate these exercises without infringing on some copyrights so I just took these myself after the gym really quick while the baby was still sleeping in her carseat!! So no judgement please! I am still getting my own body back and I have a long way to go,  but I am definitely feeling pretty great about where I am with my core strength right now. I was hoping to make a video but quite honestly between the baby crying and the dog barking I think it would take about 100 takes.

Take home points – key things to remember to do these correctly…

  • Never lift your head off the ground, keep a neutral neck, chin slightly tucked
  • Keep your core tight, as soon as your hips, lower back or anything else lifts off the ground or shifts in the wrong direction you are no longer working the right muscles.
  • BREATHE, it is important to breathe through these exercises as holding your breath doesn’t help much, and as much as that’s common sense its surprisingly hard to do sometimes!

See this picture for the WRONG way to do these exercises. By lifting your head up off the ground you are putting a lot of outward stress on your abdominals which can actually make your tummy look worse!

bad core exercises after baby

If you have any questions about any of these exercises please comment below or send me an email at natasha@fitmamasb.com and I will be happy to help!

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