All posts by emmab85

About emmab85

Freelance yoga & fitness instructor with a passion for making fitness fun & sustainable for everyone.

Be Healthy, Be Happy..!

Happy

 

Rabbit food, daily exercise, early nights and no alcohol. Is that what you think of when you think of being healthy? The key to being healthy is moderation. Eating chocolate isn’t a crime, nor is having the odd drink. If you’re going out every night, drinking in excess and eating takeaways, then yes, your health will be affected, but the odd beverage and bit of junk food isn’t going to ruin your health.

Eating

Time is often a primary reason for people neglecting their health: no time to cook or exercise. Sometimes it can seem like junk food is more accessible than healthy food, however this isn’t the case at all. It’s just a case of educating yourself to discover healthy, easy snacks. Replace your crisps for a handful of unsalted nuts, with raisins to sweeten them if you wish. Grab a piece of fruit or easy to pick vegetable sticks. You can even buy carrot batons from the supermarket nowadays to keep it simple.

Instead of shop bought ready meals, why not prepare your own meals. It doesn’t need to take long: use tomatoes with a few herbs or cheese with flour. If it’s easier, cook in bulk and freeze your sauces and meats so that you have your ready meals still available.

Exercise

Exercising frequently doesn’t mean you need to be at the gym all day every day. Find something you enjoy and allow it to fit into your day: a walk to the local park, a yoga class, gardening or using the stairs instead of the lift; whatever you fancy. Fitness trackers are the latest craze and a great way to ensure you’re active enough on a day to day basis. Why not make it competitive with a friend with a tracker and it can add enjoyment to your life? Exercise also increases your energy levels and releases endorphins, both of which should allow you to feel happier, not miserable.

Hydration

Hydration is also key to staying healthy. Hydration doesn’t mean you need to avoid tea, coffee and alcohol, but why not try switching your hot drinks for decaffeinated options? If you love your caffeine fix too much for this to be an option, just be mindful that you still need to drink water too. Hydrating your body improves your immune system, energy levels as well as keeping your eyes and skin looking and feeling fresh. 6-8 glasses per day is the average ideal recommended amount.

Smoking

If you are a smoker, you probably know you are sacrificing your health. In this modern society, cigarettes have been replaced with e-cigarettes, making quitting easier than ever. Quitting may be tough, but think of all those rainy afternoons you can stay in, rather than finding a bit of shelter in the cold outside to have a cigarette. You’ll also soon be feeling less breathless (and smelling better) too.

Life is here to be enjoyed. Find the balance that’s right for you and enjoy your health. Live long and prosperously.

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Why Don’t I Have Willpower?

Diet starts tomorrow is a popular phrase, yet for many, tomorrow never comes. People have many plans and hopes, but when reality hits, they struggle to stick with the ready made plans and are left feeling disheartened and disappointed time and time again. So where are they going wrong and why don’t some people have any willpower?

One of the most important factors when making a plan, for example a diet plan, is to focus on why you’re doing it. Are you unhappy with the way you look and want to lose weight for a holiday or outing? Do you want to be more healthy or fitter? Perhaps you want to be a good role model for your children? There are many reasons why different people strive towards the same or similar goals. You need to find the reason for you to help keep you motivated and driven. If you feel you are making sacrifices and don’t really know why, it’s going to be harder to keep going. If you keep your mind focused on what you’re going to achieve and how good that’s going to make you feel, you’ll be excited about the destination.

A specific goal is important too. You need to break your journey down into bite sized chunks. If you say to yourself: ‘I need to lose 2 stone and tone up’ then you have no deadline, no small goals on the way and no plan as to how you are going to achieve this. It can seem daunting and unachievable. Perhaps focus on improving your diet and increasing your exercise gradually as a starting point. This action plan will lead to you losing weight and toning up. Perhaps aim to lose 7lbs within 3 weeks, for example, with a reward for your achievements to keep you going, such as a new item of clothing.

The journey also needs to be desirable. So you don’t like going to the gym, how about taking a dip in the swimming pool? You don’t want to go without pizza, how about a home made option instead of takeaway. You don’t need to deprive yourself, you just need to take control and drive yourself to where you want to be. You are the only person who can get you there. Being busy, tired and simply not bothered isn’t an excuse enough to jeopardise a happy and successful life.

Willpower is all about self control. Temptation is all around us. If we practice self control and teach ourselves to resist temptation then we will reap the benefits in every area of our lives. People with high levels of self control, typically, have higher exam results, higher self esteem, binge less and have better relationship skills. Willpower can be practised and taught. By using the above methods to keep your mind focused, you can and you will get to where you want to be. Once you see success with the use of willpower, you will find it easier to focus next time.

Exercise Is Not a Punishment For Eating

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You may, or may not, have heard recently on the news that food labels are soon to change the way the nutritional content is displayed. Food packaging is going to display how much exercise it will take to ‘pay off’ your item of food in calories. The idea behind this change is to encourage people to exercise more and perhaps think twice before eating unhealthy snacks. It aims to educate people about how active they need to be and to cut down on growing obesity levels in the UK.

Unfortunately, there is speculation that this may lead to an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise, especially in young people. People will start to feel as though they need to earn their food, and you may find some people working off their calories, not allowing their body enough calories to function throughout the day. Another problem that this brings is that people will be focused purely on calories as opposed to nutrition.

100 calories of crisps is never going to be as nutritional as 100 calories of fruit or nuts. Dairy products that are high in calories may be sacrificed in preference of lower fat items, such as biscuits or sweets. These examples are perhaps extreme, but possible. Lack of vitamins, nutrients, calcium and other essential foods may well be missed out upon, leading to increased osteoporosis, obesity and other health problems.

With eating disorders at an all time high in young people, these food labels may also add to the obsession. If people feel that they can punish themselves for eating, they may do so after a guilty binge or try to get into negative calories. It’s perhaps encouraging this behaviour, albeit with good intentions.

Food is like our bodies medicine. It is there to nourish us, to keep us healthy and energise us. It is also not criminal to enjoy eating food without feeling guilty, or like you need to go and train for hours after eating a shop bought sandwich and crisps.

Exercise is, of course, essential. However, the recommended amount of exercise is different for everybody. Different ages, different builds and different metabolisms need different regimes to keep themselves healthy. The link between food and exercise should not be compared in such a dramatic state. Admittedly, if we overeat and under exercise, we will become overweight, there is also a problem of under eating and over exercising which can lead to being underweight. Both come with their own health risks, both of which can be life threatening.

The concept of earning your food in the gym, or similarly punishing yourself in the gym for having eaten food is a mindset that needs to be changed. Squat because you love it and you want a pert bottom, not because you ate a cupcake. Reset your thoughts and strive to use food to help your performance. Eat carbohydrates before a long run, and allow yourself to enjoy both. Enjoy the health benefits that both food and exercise can bring.

Marathon Training

Man running in grassy field

Did the London Marathon leave you feeling inspired and motivated to take part in a marathon yourself? It’s recommended that you train for 6 months, as an average, to be race fit, although, let’s face it, it’s never too early to start. Here are a few tips to get you mentally prepared for your own marathon.

The Challenge

Whether you’re new to running, a regular runner or you haven’t run in a long time, completing your marathon is going to be both challenging and rewarding. The buzz that you will feel as you cross that finishing line is like no other. However, it’s a long journey to get there and is hard work, both physically and emotionally.

People expect running a marathon to be challenging, and expect to have to put in excessive amounts of physical training. What often goes unprepared, is the mind, which is actually equally, if not more important than training the muscles. Starting a training plan is the easy bit. Remaining motivated to stick to that plan week in week out, through the cold, wet and wind, is more challenging. What’s more, using that training to get you through the race day itself can prove even more of a challenge.

Some of the main factors are:-
Visualisation
Motivation
Goal Setting
The Wall
Nutrition
Visualisation

Visualisation is a key tip. Use mental imagery to watch yourself running the marathon. Visualise yourself crossing that finish line and use the voice in your head to encourage you and offer positive affirmations as you run.

Motivation

Motivation, self-discipline and time management are all key players in your mental ability to be able to run this far. There will be many days when you’re too busy, too tired, or simply cannot be bothered. These days are challenging. What harm can missing one training session really do, right? In truth, probably very little, but what about the next time you don’t feel up to it, or the time after that? My advice…get up, get out and get going. Make not running not even an option. Even once you are out and running, some days will be easier than others. You may feel every muscle in your body screaming at you to stop, but it’s up to you to allow that inner voice to take over, to keep those legs moving and stay disciplined enough to finish your run.

Goal Setting

Goal setting is a top tip used by most runners. Try to be realistic and specific with goal setting. Your intimate goal may well be to simply finish the marathon. Try being more driven than this. Perhaps aim to complete the marathon in under a set amount of time. The key to goal setting is to make it achievable, but also challenging. Getting the balance just right should help to keep you motivated. Write your goal down and share it with friends and family to keep you driven.
Smaller goals whilst you are running can be important too. You need to stay completely present, so worrying that you still have over 20 miles to go until you finish the race is never going to help your mindset. Instead, focus on the present mile, or the fact that you are almost quarter of the way there. Continue talking yourself through with these baby goals until you have completed the race.

The Wall

You will likely hit, what runners refer to as, the wall at some point during the marathon. The phase where you literally feel you cannot go on. The most important part of dealing with the wall is knowing that it will happen and knowing that it will pass. You are not going to struggle throughout the rest of your race as much as you are struggling now. Just push through and keep your head up.

Nutrition

A huge factor for any athlete to consider during training for any event is nutrition. What you eat has a huge effect on your mood and the way your body can perform. Carbohydrates are essential for slow release energy, and it’s important these are consumed weeks before a big run. Your body, however, cannot store enough carbohydrates to keep you going for a marathon. This is the reason athletes often consume gels; it provides your muscles with carbs, slowing down the release from your fuel stores. Be sure not to overdo it though, as too much gel or too many calories when running can give you stomach problems. It’s also vitally important to keep yourself hydrated; when exercising for longer than 60-90 minutes your body will struggle to continue without hydrating. Again, don’t overdo it – too much can be as dangerous as too little. Just take small sips at regular intervals.
Shout About It

Don’t be afraid to admit how proud you are of yourself. Share your progress and mileage on Facebook. Shout to the world about what you’re doing because you are doing a great job and you have already achieved so much. Put a smile on your face, even when it hurts, to help pull you through and try to enjoy yourself. Visualise how proud you will be when you cross that finishing line and keep aiming for it. Watch yourself in your minds eye putting on a great performance, strong strides, head lifted, not looking at the floor.
And just keep running!!

I Don’t Have Time…

You think you don’t have time to work out. It’s ok for everyone else they don’t have a family, don’t work long hours, aren’t a single parent, don’t commute or they get help with the housework. Whereas you’re so busy and so tired you don’t have time to exercise.

I get it. I’m a stay at home mother of 3 under 5’s, I run the house, have more laundry than most could imagine, I run my own businesses, I sing in a band and I have (a bit of!) a social life!!! I’m not saying this to show off or complain, I built my life this way, but actually to say: you’re not the only one with stuff going on.

  
However, whether you’re a parent, spouse, son/daughter or friend, all most people in your life care about is your health and happiness. The best gift you can give them is to look after yourself, and that includes looking after your diet and exercising. So no, it’s not selfish of you to go take some exercise for 20 minutes here or there, it’s selfless.

Ok, so you may not be able to make it to the gym 5 times per week or prepare a gourmet health feast. The idea isn’t to become obsessed, just to alter your lifestyle a little.

Snacking

  

Snacking isn’t the evil beast it’s thought to be. It’s a great way to stabilise your blood sugar levels to keep up your energy levels and also to stabilise your mood, as long as you eat the right things. Despite what you tell yourself, reaching for a packet of crisps isn’t easier than peeling a banana, eating an apple or nuts. It’s just a case of breaking bad habits. Pitta bread with humous, carrot sticks, unsalted nuts, fruit, avocado, malt loaf, high fibre crackers, yoghurts, cup of soup or cherry tomatoes. All of these offer you some nutritional value and are relatively healthy foods. Obviously don’t overdo it, or you will become overweight. Too many snacks means too many calories, healthy or not!

Exercise

  

Although I highly recommend taking time out for yourself to enjoy an exercise of sorts, I appreciate that’s not always feasible. But little things can make a huge difference:-

Squat when you’re brushing your teeth, or jog on the spot…anything. Just use this time to do something other than just stand. The same applies when you’re waiting for the kettle to boil or you’re on the phone.

Find something that fits in with your day: park the car further from the office, get out on your lunch break, offer to do the tea runs, walk or run the school run (with an extra detour on the way home), run the stairs, do wall press ups whilst playing peek-a-boo, join in at soft play; whatever it takes, just avoid those moments when you’re just sitting for no particular reason. 

It can also help to make exercise your social meet. Instead of going out for dinner, why not go swimming and grab a coffee afterwards, or run/walk, play tennis. The possibilities truly are endless.

Enjoy what you’re doing and do it to work towards a goal to keep you focused. You may want toned abs, to lose weight, to be healthier or to give you more energy. Focus on how being healthier makes you feel; I bet the results are positive.

Meditate. If you’re not getting enough sleep, use meditation to relax you. It’s a great way to survive on a smaller amount of sleep as you fall into a deeper sleep faster. This should free up couch time for you to be able to add in an extra 10 or 20 minutes of exercise. Yoga and HIIT training are both great options where you will see results without having to work out for hours at a time.

I hope this helps. Enjoy and let me know how you get on 😊

Yoga For Back Pain

Throughout my yoga career so far, I have many people contact me with various ailments, especially back pain, looking for the hope of some relief.

Yoga is an amazing practice that helps to realign the body and perfect a tired posture. Poor posture can be the reason for a sore back, as well as tight muscles and tension in the joints. Our modern day world doesn’t do much for our posture: slumped over a desk, gazing down at a phone or tablet, slouched on a sofa or spending hours travelling. All of these things can cause aches and pains throughout your body, as well as over training muscles or wrongly training with weights, or otherwise.

Yoga is the perfect solution to relieve tension, correct posture and realign you. While you’re practicing, sorting out your back you will always reap many of the other benefits that yoga brings.

Here are some of the great positions that will help to ease your back:-

Downward Facing Dog

  

A classic restorative yoga pose, which will stretch out and lengthen your spine and also stretch your hamstrings. Tight hamstrings can be a common cause of back pain so if you’re struggling to get your heels to the floor, you may have found the root of your problem.

Start on all fours, then tuck your toes under and lift your bottom towards the ceiling as high as you can. Push through your hands to lengthen the spine, as though pushing your chest down towards your toes. Ease your heels towards the floor to stretch out the backs of your legs.

Cat Pose and Cow Pose

  

This is an excellent combination to stretch out your back and relieve tension from the top to the bottom of the spine. Getting as much movement on your spine between the two positions will give you maximum benefits.

Start on all fours and lift your head and tailbone. Then tuck your head between your shoulders and tuck your tailbone under, pulling your tummy in. Keep moving between the two positions.

Child’s Pose

  

Another restorative yoga pose which is great for lengthening the spine, therefore reducing tension and relieving pain.

Start on all fours and sit back onto your heels. Rest your head onto the floor and extend your arms up above your head, resting them on your mat. It’s a relaxing position, so enjoy it and allow yourself to destress.

Triangle Pose

  

An excellent way to stretch the torso and outer hip muscles, and strengthen the legs and back is triangle pose. Often tight hips can cause bad posture and knee pain so it’s another great posture to perfect your body’s alignment.

Stand with your feet wide, one foot pointing forward, the other to the end of your mat. Extend your arms out to shoulder height and tilt from the waist, extending your front arm down towards your front foot and resting on the floor. Look up towards your top arm if you can, keeping your back and legs straight.

There are limitless other positions I could discuss which will help your alignment and prevent or rid of back pain. The above positions don’t even cover the main ones, but do give you a brief understanding of how you can help yourself.

Why not attend a local yoga class and reap the benefits? Please check with a doctor before starting any new fitness regime. If your back pain is disc related you will need guidance from them as to what you can and cannot do.

Enjoy being pain free 😊

http://www.fitnessyogawithemma.co.uk

Exercise…getting back to it!

It’s Been How Long??!!

Today is the day I dust off my yoga mat and get back in to exercise as I know it! After having my third child, aside from going out walking, or running around after the older kiddies, my exercise regime has gone by the wayside, whilst I let my body recover.

People often have to stop exercise for a multitude of reasons: injury, to have a baby, busy at work/lack of time and sometimes you just get out of the habit. Today I’m going to discuss how you can give yourself that much needed kick up the bottom and get back to it.

  

Make A Habit

Remember when getting to the gym or aerobics class was no effort, it was just something you did? Get back to that. Instead of just going as and when, have a ritual. A set workout on a set day will mean your workout soon becomes ingrained and you won’t need to think about making yourself go to exercise, it will just become second nature, leaving you no opportunity for wondering whether or not to make the effort.

Make It Fun

There are millions of different exercises out there. So if you have the coordination of a toddler but a passion for weights, or hate working out alone but love team sports, then find your love and do that. No one is forcing you to run if you hate it or to dance if you’d rather not. There is something out there for everyone, the key is to enjoy your workout so that it becomes less of a chore and more of a time out for you.

Find A Friend

If you struggle with motivation, why not workout with a friend? If you know that by not attending your planned workout you will be letting someone other than yourself down, it should encourage you to make more effort to get up and go. It can also make your workout more enjoyable, meaning you’ll look forward to your session more too.

Get Competitive

Competing with yourself is a great way to keep you motivated. Build on how many reps you can do or how far or fast you can travel. Setting a benchmark and then challenging yourself to beat it shows how your fitness is growing and improving, which should encourage you to stay with it. Seeing positive results is a great feeling.

Be Realistic

If it’s been a few months since you last worked out, the chances are you’re not going to be able to do what you could before you stopped. Allow yourself the opportunity to build up gradually, knowing that eventually you’ll get back to where you were. Just getting there and knowing you’re improving is enough for now.

  
So there you have it: my top tips for getting back into it. Ultimately, it’s just a case of getting up and getting out. Once you’re there you’ll put the effort in. Stay focused on your fitness goals and the rest should follow. Stay positive and enjoy the benefits being fit and healthy can bring. After all, the most important thing we can do for ourselves and our loved ones is to be healthy.

Running For Beginners

Running is hard! Anyone who runs, who has ever tried to run, or who thinks they can’t run knows this only too well. If you’ve tried, but not succeeded at running you may well think ‘I’m not built for running’, ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘it’s easier for them.’ The truth is running is hard!Anyone new to running will find it tiring, boring & maybe difficult to coordinate their breathing. You may hate the burning in your chest or the aching of your limbs. It’s important to remember that everyone has been here. Every runner has been a beginner at some point & it is easy to give up. But if you don’t, if you persevere, then once the running bug gets you, you will be so pleased you stuck with it because it will change your life. 

How Can Running Help Me?

Running will help to manage your weight, helping to prevent diabetes, heart disease & obesity. It will improve your confidence as you become aware of what you can achieve & how strong your body is. It is also a great way to destress, to offer you some headspace & to improve your willpower & determination. It’s a great exercise because it’s free, you can practice anytime & you can take part alone or with friends.

  
What Do I Need To Get Started?

You need a strong, determined mind & a good pair of running shoes. Many shops offer a service where they will watch or record your running style & then recommend footwear to ensure the most supportive running shoes for you. This is well worth the investment. A good pair of trainers will support your foot & ankle, helping to keep your hips & knees aligned when you run. There is little else that you need. 

  

How Do I Start?

If your new to running, be sure you can walk 30 minutes at once, at a decent speed. Build up to this if needs be. Once you are comfortable with this, you can introduce one to two minute running intervals & gradually build from here. Allow your recovery periods/walking intervals to gradually become shorter & runs to get longer, until eventually you can run/jog for the full 30 minutes. There will likely be times when you’ll think you can’t do it; I remember them well. Stay focused, keep trying & you will get there. And when you do: it feels fantastic.

Once you can run for 30 minutes you are well on your way. You can work to increase speed or distance, or stick here if you wish. There are races you can enter, groups you can join: whatever you wish, to keep you motivated.

  
Should I Run Outside Or On A Treadmill?

There are advantages & disadvantages to both & the truth is, you’re best running wherever you feel happiest. I mix it up & do some outside runs & some at the gym. The treadmill offers a more pleasant environment from the cold & rain. It’s great for hill training as you can choose & change the incline & is also a great way to train with friends of different ability. It can also be kinder on the knees than road running.

Road running offers a great variety of surfaces & also allows your body to work against the elements as you run. Both of these things allow your body to work harder than treadmill running. You naturally vary your speed & you may find outdoors running more interesting on the eye. The fresh air is also pleasant & it can be enjoyable to mix up your route to keep everything varied. Personally, I cannot choose between the 2. I enjoy both equally & enjoy the different challenges both bring. Long distance runs I enjoy outside, faster, shorter runs I prefer at the gym. There is no right or wrong, just see what you prefer.

  

Anything Else?

You may want to invest in a pair of headphones to keep you company whilst you’re out & about. If you’re not running on a treadmill you may also want to download an app (such as map my run – for free) to measure your time & distance travelled. Other options are to invest in a fitness band, such as a Fitbit or Jawbone, however these will not be able to give you accurate race times & distances. Personally, I use both. I have map my run on my phone & I wear a Misfit Shine.

Don’t be shy to shout about your achievements. Facebook or Twitter offer a great ground for bragging about how far you’ve travelled & how quickly. The support you receive from social networks can be a great driving force & keep you motivated. It’s also a great way to keep a record of your previous runs &, if you’re competitive, gives you your time to beat next time.

  

Your Challenge

How about we all take on a fitness challenge.

I challenge you to run (at least) 1 marathon in the month of April. No it doesn’t need to be done at once! You’ve got a whole month to add up those miles until you reach 26.2 miles.

  
Let me know your successes & challenges.
Good Luck! Xxx

http://www.fitnessyogawithemma.co.uk

Perfect Arms

Wanting to increase those biceps, rid of or prevent bingo wings? Perhaps you want more definition in your shoulders, or perfectly toned triceps? All of these things can be achieved, and without the use of heavy weights as you may be led to believe.

Heavy weight lifting can often put unnecessary strain on joints & muscles in the body, however people think they need to put their body through this stress to get the desired results. This is not true.

Sexy arms can be achieved with home workouts, with just the use of your body weight. No equipment is needed. I’ve compiled a few moves & a suggested workout below to help you to develop your strength & improve the look of your arms.

Side Plank

Lay on your side. Place your elbow under your shoulder & your bottom leg straight. Lift your hip off the floor, leaving your elbow & bottom foot supporting your body. You can lift your top arm & top leg so that you are in a star position if you wish for more of a challenge. Hold here for 10 breaths. Switch sides.
If this is too much to start with, you may bend your bottom leg & leave your bottom leg from the knee down on the floor, and then build up.

Side Plank
Press Ups

Quite possibly the most popular of all arm exercises is the press up. There are many options for this though, depending on your upper body strength. You are welcome to stand near to a wall & do a wall press up. The further your feet are from the wall, the harder you’ll be working that body. You are welcome to get down onto all fours & do a standard box press up, or of course a full press up. Once you find these easy, you can do one arm, one leg…keep pushing yourself. Ensure you keep the movements slow. Working our shoulder muscles is the key here.

Tricep Dips

Grab a chair, or sit on the floor. You can keep your legs bent, or for more of a challenge straighten your legs. Keep your fingers facing forwards (towards your body) & gently lower yourself by bending your arm. This targets your triceps. It’s likely to burn pretty quickly. Repeat for 12 reps.

Plank Jump

You all knew the plank would have to make another appearance, right? This time you’ll be wishing for a standard plank! Get into full plank position & jump your feet out, keeping your hips tucked. Jump back in to start position & continue these jumps for 1 minute. If you’re feeling keen, why not add a full press up after each jump?

For the second part of this, hold in a plank position & jump your feet forwards, towards your hands (as though you are performing a burpee). Then again, jump back to the start position. Once again, continue these reps for 1 minute.

Arm Rotations

Stand with your arms extended out to the sides at shoulder height, parallel to the floor. Palms face out, circle your arms forwards for 12 reps & then back for 12. Then hold the arms static, still extended & rotate from the shoulder (as though turning a door handle) forwards & back for 12 reps. Then alternate the arms, 1 forwards, 1 back for 12 reps.

Circle Press Up

Get onto all fours & tuck your hips into ‘easy’ press up position. Place your hands wide. Take your body in a circular motion: take the weight to your right arm, lower towards the floor to the left arm & then push back up & start again. 12 reps going one way & then 12 reps going the other direction.

 

Arms

Keep practising the above workout, several times per day if you can (although remember one rest day per week, & remember to stretch!). With Summer just around the corner, there’s no better time than now to start. Prepare to bare!!

Postnatal Exercise

  

  

So you’ve had a baby? Whether it was a week ago, a year ago, or more…some people struggle to lose that extra baby weight or to get back into shape after baby has arrived. Routines change, priorities change & our bodies change. I’ve put together a few top tips to help get you feeling confident, looking great & to strengthen your body again. 

Antenatal Exercise

I appreciate if you’ve had a baby, this could be too late to state the obvious. But if you can, try too keep up a good exercise routine throughout your pregnancy. Yoga, swimming & walking are excellent ways to keep fit without putting strain on your body. It’s also a great way to prepare your body for labour, & prevents you piling on excess pounds that you’d only need to lose afterwards anyway.

Kegel Exercises

You’re probably bored of hearing about them, but if you don’t want to be struggling from incontinence later in life, get squeezing!! Work in sets of 10…10 slow, 10 fast squeezes & then hold the last squeeze for as long as you can, for a maximum count of 10. Repeat these throughout the day at regular intervals. It may be easier to start doing kegels laying down until your pelvic floor muscles strengthen, then eventually you’ll be able to do them standing, & even squatting.

Mummy Tummy

The main thing most mummies ask me is how to rid of their mummy tummy, that newfound sag. Staying hydrated helps, both on the inside & outside. So drink a minimum of 2 liters of water per day & moisturise the stomach at least twice per day. This hydration helps your skin to retain its elasticity, giving you a smoother & firmer look.
Exercise is also key. Core workouts are excellent for keeping your back strong & finding those ‘hidden’ stomach muscles once again. So get planking, crunching & target that tummy area to give you a body your proud of. It’s worth having a look at my previous blog on HIIT exercise to help rid of any excess weight too.

Back Pain

With the constant bending, lifting & twisting involved with raising a child, it’s common to hear of mum’s complaining of lower back ache. Core exercises help to keep your back strong to prevent these aches & pains. Spinal rolls & lay stretches are excellent ways to improve back pain by ridding of caught up tension. Finally, it seems obvious, but stay focused on your posture when moving around & ensure you bend your knees when lifting your baby. Your body will thank you for it in later life as well as now.

I appreciate it’s hard finding the time to exercise once you’ve had children; you can no longer nip to the gym on your way home from work, or go for a jog on your lunch break. If you can’t find childcare for you to be able to take time to exercise, why not incorporate your exercise into your daily routine with your little one.
You can exercise from home whilst your little one watches you, go for a stroll with the buggy or a baby carrier to feed the ducks, you could even grab some mummy friends & create your own circuits session at a nearby park or one of your houses.

Just please ensure you get your 6 week check before you take part in any exercise. 

Look after yourself.