Are you doing the right exercise to suit your body?
This is something I really wanted to put out there at this very unique time of our lives. It is unique in so many ways – we are stuck at home, home teaching, allowed to go outdoors 1x a day to exercise and also facing the fact lots of us have been ill or feeling anxious.
I have my daily dog walk/run and yes it has been great to see so many people out running and exercising however, there is also the ‘women’s health’ worker in me worried about whether people are ready for the amount of exercise they are doing. I bumped into my lovely client Harriet yesterday (obviously a good distance apart) with her husband Pete Robinson, who is a Trauma & Orthopaedic Consultant at Southmead. He said exactly what I had been thinking – the NHS DOES NOT need more broken bones at this time from everyone going mad to do new games/exercises.
I see lots of people who look like they are new to running – if their core and glutes aren’t strong then they need to be careful as they could very easily trip and not have the balance/core strength – hence pulled muscles, badly sprained ankles or broken bones!! Just start with walk run and build up gently.
Don’t get me wrong, it is fantastic that so many people are now exercising every day or doing Joe Wicks PE every morning, however I am also hearing some women saying ‘oh, the Joe Wicks PE lesson hasn’t been the best for my pelvic floor’ or similar comments. It is more important than ever that we are doing the right sort of exercise, as this is NOT the time you want to get shoulder strains or a even a prolapse!
What exercise should I do?
Everyone absolutely should be exercising, it is great that we now have more time to do something, so MOVE and feel good. It can be dancing, gardening, walking – whatever makes you feel good, make the most of this time to start doing something. However, some of you are new mum’s, have a diastasis (gap in the tummy), have a prolapse or problems with your pelvic floor or some of you may have recently been ill or had an operation. It is these groups that I want to reach out to.
Exercising in Pregnancy
It is hard on you ladies, especially those in the 3rd trimester, as you are being told to stay at home and not go out. This is very hard when it is a time you should try to stay active and try to keep moving, even a little bit. So as you won’t be out walking that much please do focus on moving your whole body – do some releases and mobilisers. Here are a few you can do: http://https://vimeo.com/286136023/ccc8a90c13
Those of you who are in your 1st or 2nd trimester, carry on walking and doing exercise – take it down a bit, you are NOT trying to get fitter just MAINTAIN fitness & strength. Main tip – always have little sips of water & avoid sharp twists. I am still running my Online Pregnancy class if you wanted a safe workout to do – I send you a video to do and you can do it as many times as you like in the week: https://www.vickihill.co.uk/class/pregnancy-exercise-classes/
Exercising with Pelvic floor issues, a diastasis or as a Newer Mum
This group can cover lots of different stages of life – you maybe 5 or 25 years post having kids but never really got your weak pelvic floor sorted or that tummy which is still sticking out and feeling squidgy down the middle. So this is the group who may say ‘great there are now loads of new online fitness videos I can do as I now have loads more time to do it’!!
Just because we are stuck home and you have loads more options to start the new exercise videos on offer or think your 1 bit of outdoor exercise is to start running….. Just be careful! Nothing has changed, your body is still needing to be supported and strengthened in the right areas. Please, avoid getting back to running if you are a new mum, till you are a good 5 or 6 months post birth.
Whichever group you are in use this time to:
- Stretch & mobilise your body more (use the pregnancy mobilising video above),
- Walk more – walk tall and think of your posture
- Gently get back to some body weight exercises – squats, squat curtsy’s, press ups v’s the wall, up & down the stairs.
- Focus on your DEEP abs muscles – start with focusing on what you can FEEL in your body. Can you feel the rib cage expand and your tummy gently rise as you take a deep breath in? Can you then FEEL a gentle close and squeeze of your pelvic floor as you exhale? Can you FEEL the pelvic floor relaxing too??
- Do the bridge as a gentle abs and glutes exercise – exhale and engage as you push up and then totally relax everything as you come back down to the floor
- Come and try my Virtual Buggyfit or my Mum’s Bums & Tums classes. I’ve had great feedback this week as people are able to carry on some normality & exercise in a safe but effective way. https://www.vickihill.co.uk/classes/
Exercising in the Menopause
This really is the perfect time to get going with your strength exercises. If you haven’t any dumbbells then it doesn’t matter – if you haven’t exercised for an age PLEASE do start gently – start with body weight exercises and build up gently over the next few weeks. Set yourself a little 10 – 20 minute routine or time to follow an exercise class you like.
After Easter I will be offering an online Menopause Fitness class: https://www.vickihill.co.uk/class/online-menopause-fitness/ This is for anyone who wants to START exercising right, so it is especially useful for those who haven’t really done much in the form of strength exercises.
Finally, Look after YOU too….
Overall, please remember – our cortisol levels are probably higher than usual and we have a little more anxiety than usual. EVERYONE no matter what stage of life you are in, don’t put too much more stress on the body by overdoing it. Take some time out – even 5 minutes to just stop and breathe. I think we will all learn so much from this time, about ourselves so focus on the lovely things about yourself more than ever.