I remember when my kids were young babies and I felt like I was just carrying them around all day long; at first in my arms, then on one hip, then on my back. I also remember some immense sudden sharp shoulder pain that went with all this carrying, ongoing pelvic floor troubles and constant back ache! I remember feeling quite down by these new limitations on my body. I'd had my baby months ago and still couldn't confidently do the things I wanted to do - join a kickboxing class, go for a run, even breast feeding was agony sometimes! I was finally over the mastitis and the nipple bleeding and now was getting grief from my back and shoulders. Would my I ever get my body back?
So inspired by the desire to be able to, you know, live a life without pain and peeing myself, I began to delve deeper into how to counteract some of these problems and what came out of that research wasn't just core strength exercises and general fitness, in fact it started with posture. (PS if you want to know why I work out barefoot and why I'm sitting on the floor to write this blog, you can find my biomechanics inspiration here).
You see, good posture isn't just about how you look - sure it means your shoulders are less hunched and your butt is bit more pert, but posture is also important because how and how much we sit shortens our hip flexors and switches off the glutes which can lead to a whole host of aches and pains as well as a leaky pelvic floor. Posture is important because when we balance our child on our hip we're forcing our core and whole spine out of alignment. Even pushing a buggy can set you up for pelvic floor problems and back pain (see the video and pointers below for good buggy pushing posture!).
3 Key Posture Points for Buggy Pushing
1) Keep your body close to the buggy (don't lean over). 2) Have the handle bar at hip height. 3) Take nice long strides to get an extra booty workout.
To build strength in the right way, we first have to have firm foundations. This is the same if you had your baby last month, last year or last decade. All of this personal knowledge of course became part of my professional persona too so whenever I work with someone new, either one to one, online or in a class, we always start with posture- how to sit, stand, move, breath and re-connect to the core.
So whether you're already a regular exerciser or not, it's crucial that you build your posture muscles first and that's why I've created a FREE short, super easy, workout plan that you can do at home, with no equipment. Heck you can even do it in your pyjamas if you like, simply click this link to download. I recommend printing it off and putting it somewhere you go on a daily basis, like your bathroom mirror or your kettle, or perhaps the TV remote so you can get cracking when you settle into a box set in the evening!
The women who’ve worked with me often report on how much ‘better’ they’re doing with their posture and how much more conscious they are of how they sit and stand etc especially when carrying their kids. Why does that matter? Well apart from avoiding the rounded shoulder hunch back look, it is also essential for flattening the tum, lifting the bum and restoring the pelvic floor. I’m not claiming to have perfect posture all the time – like the rest of my life, and my garden (see below), it’s a work in progress but I’m determined to stay mindful of how I sit, stand move and exercise so I can stay strong and carry on carrying my kids when I need to - physically and emotionally.