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Finding time to work out can be tough, this article should help

3 Quick Exercise Tips for Parents with Infants

3 Quick Exercise Tips for Parents with Infants 1280 853 ResilientRx

If you are brand new to parenting or have added a new child to your growing family, you probably feel that there is barely enough time during the day for just about anything, let alone time for yourself. 

This is especially the case for exercising. 

Our children mean the world to us, but they also consume a lot of our time, and personal care activities such as going to the gym can easily fall by the wayside. Not to worry because we’ve got you covered in this blog! Keep reading for 3 quick exercise tips for parents if you can’t make it to the gym.

Prioritizing exercise with a little one is tough, these tips should help.

Turn Playtime Into a Mini Workout

If you are spending time on the floor with your child working on things like tummy time, head control, rolling, etc, it is the perfect opportunity to perform some functional movements for yourself.

3 bodyweight floor movements that can be easily performed are:

  • Pushups: Whether it’s a standard pushup or from the knees, you can do these on the floor while your baby lays or plays. Be sure to include plenty of funny faces and sounds!
  • Planks: Similar set up to the pushup, these can be done in a tall plank or plank on your forearms. To add more fun and challenge, perform small reaches toward your child. Depending upon where your child is at developmentally, you can either hold small toys over their head or hand them a toy.
  • Bridges: Double and single-leg bridge variations are always options and can be done on the floor right next to your kiddo. Depending upon your skill and comfort levels, you can hold them on your lap or in your arms during the bridge movement.
Finding time to work out can be tough, this article should help

Invest in a Baby Carrier and Use Your Baby for Some Resistance!

Baby carriers are a safe and effective way to add resistance to typical bodyweight exercises. They typically are worn much like a weighted exercise vest and can be used just the same. They will free up your hands and allow for some bonding time with your child while you get some movement in for yourself!  So in our opinion, they are worth the investment. You could even put it on your baby registry! Dads (and moms too) may especially love something like the Tactical Baby Carrier.

Here are 3 movement options to try with your little person along for the ride:

  • Squats – start with a comfortable amount and depth. You can touch down to a chair or simply to an air squat to an appropriate depth.  
  • Lunges – similar things to consider as the squat, but if you need extra help with balance, you can always use a free hand to hold something sturdy like a chair or countertop. 
  • Walking – ditch the stroller for a walk or two. Walking while wearing some type of weight, also known as “rucking,” can be a great way to build cardiovascular endurance and strength.

Schedule Times With Your Partner to Workout Together or “Trade Off”

This may be a tough pill to swallow (because we’re all guilty of it), but there are better ways to spend time together as a family that doesn’t involve a TV or being glued to a phone. One healthy way is to exercise and move together! 

Supportive partners can motivate one another and hold each other accountable, all while spending quality time with their children. You can each take turns playing with your child while the other gets their reps in, or do a tandem workout with any of the suggestions above.

Now with that said, despite some of the creative and fun ways you can incorporate fitness into time at home spent with your child, sometimes it just can’t work. Perhaps schedules don’t align or you simply need time to yourself. We highly recommend you take every opportunity to do so as needed, so a supportive partner is crucial to make this happen. This is where you can “trade off” watching your child while your partner gets their workout in. 

If you don’t have a partner to trade off time with, ask a fellow parent, friend, or family member to lend a hand. Asking for help is never a bad thing.  You can also look into local programs or online fitness instructors/trainers that offer child-friendly workouts.

This is where you can “trade off” watching your child while your partner gets their workout in. 

It doesn’t take much to get going, but that sometimes is the hardest part. So to make things easy, we recommend you plan ahead. Sit down with your significant other before the week starts to plan out days/times you each are able to work out while the other is on kid duty. Maybe trade off mornings or evenings, or simply tag them in and work out back to back. Don’t forget about weekends as this may allow for more flexibility in your schedules. Also, consider options outside of your house like the park or playground!

We hope this was helpful in giving you some options to still stay on track with routine exercise while juggling life as a parent. As a reminder, never do any exercises out of your skill set or comfort zone, especially ones that could jeopardize your child’s safety. Consult with your healthcare provider if you have any doubts or questions. Happy moving!

If you have pain, limitations, or don’t know where to start- contact us today.

core weakness after giving birth

Why Is My Core So Weak After Pregnancy?

Why Is My Core So Weak After Pregnancy? 1280 1019 ResilientRx

“Why is my core so weak after pregnancy?”

I get this question ALL of the time, even from people who have given birth many years ago. 

core weakness after giving birth

The answer to this question is: your abdominal muscles have been stretched for about 9 months, and if you have had a c-section, this is a major abdominal surgery that can weaken the abdominal muscles on top of being stretched.

And no, this does not mean you are doomed if you had a c-section, it just means that you may need to build up that strength at a slower pace than someone who did not.

Your abdominal muscles are like any other muscle in your body

I think it is important that we think of your abdominal muscles as any other muscle in your body. 

For example, if you could do 20# bicep curls then kept your bicep in a stretched position for 9 months, you wouldn’t start right up with 20# after the fact, you would gradually increase the weight.

You could start at 5lbs, then 10lbs weaning your way back up to your goal.

If you didn’t wean into building the strength a few things would happen:

  1. You could develop tendonitis (the load to the bicep is too much and causing too much tension to the bicep tendon–this is the part that connects the bicep muscle to the bone.)
  2. You will use momentum to help, you may swing your hips or back forward to help complete the curl.
  3. You would hike your shoulder blade and upper body to help make the elbow bend with the weight.

Either way, none of these are ideal. 

I think it’s interesting that we don’t think of the abdominals, and the pelvic floor muscles, this way. 

Let’s now apply this to the abdominals.

If the load to the abdominals is too much, you make feel:

  1. Your low back arching
  2. Unable to keep your belly from pushing upward
  3. You may see diastasis recti (bulging from the middle part of the abdominals)

It’s harder to quantify abdominal strengthening exercises because they aren’t as objective as weights.

Here are some general guidelines:

-You should feel the muscle burn in the abdominals you are targeting

-You should be able to maintain pelvic control (not arching the back or twisting the pelvis)

-It should not be painful to your hips or back

How to plank after giving birth

Next you can progress abdominal strengthening in different ways.

Here is an example:

Tina was a client of mine and she has been complaining of constant weakness of her abdominal muscles despite working out for years after her pregnancy. At this point she was about 5 years since her latest pregnancy

The major thing she was doing was pushing herself back into the old routines she was doing prior to pregnancy. Because of this other muscles compensated to help:

-Low back muscles were tight

-And the hip flexors continued to be bothersome.

The biggest change we made was modifying her abdominal exercises. 

Let’s go back to physics: when something is further away from our body, we know that it will be heavier than if it is closer. 

For example, If you hold a 5# weight at your chest, then you hold it away from your body with your elbows extended, it is going to be harder even though it is the same weight.

The same goes for abdominal strengthening, if your legs or arms are further away from the abdominals the harder it is going to be. Here is an example.

It is important to gradually load the abdominals after pregnancy

Here are some examples of how to modify:

Flutter kicks

  • Lay your upper body on the mat and bend your knees vs keeping them straight
  • Bring your legs higher up in the air (vs lower down toward the floor)
  • Try laying your upper body on the ground and complete marches vs legs straight

Planks (start from higher surface and gradually work your way to the ground)

  • Try a plank a wall
  • Then progress to a lower surfaces, like the back of a couch or counter
  • Then to a bench
  • Then to your knees
  • Then to a full plank

Here is an idea of the movements

Planking form that is too hard

Try these plank progressions

Each of these progressions can take weeks to move to the next one.

Gradual core strength after having a baby

Remember to be patient with your body. It has pushed out a human which is a beautiful thing.

Give your body the time it needs to ease into your activities. 

And yes, you may have had an easier time after your first baby, or in your 20s, but each birth and each pregnancy is different.  

And everyone else has their own journey, some people may return to exercise more easily but may have other issues that they are dealing with (postpartum mental health issues, social support, breastfeeding issues, etc).

Be kind to yourself!

-Dr. Mary

Running on Track 2

Postpartum Running: When Can I start?

Postpartum Running: When Can I start? 1200 629 ResilientRx

After delivering a baby, you might be wondering when can I start running again? This is a very common question clients ask at the clinic. It’s important to consider a more gradual return to pre-pregnancy fitness levels, especially when it comes to running.

According to a group of physical therapists’ research on returning to running postnatal, they recommend that “returning to running is not advisable prior to 3 months postpartum or beyond this if any symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction are identified prior to, or after attempting, return to running” (Goom et al 2019).

Why wait 3 months?

For many, this may be hard to follow. However, consider that women require adequate time to heal and regain strength after giving birth. Pregnancy and birth (whether vaginal or cesarean) have a huge impact on the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles, often leading to muscle weakness, incoordination, and dysfunction.

During pregnancy and early postpartum, increased body weight has allowed for a forward shift in your center of gravity causing your body awareness in space to be totally thrown off and your body learns to compensate. During this 3 month period, you’ll likely notice that doing certain activities you did before now feel completely different. In addition, you may be experiencing pain, discomfort or urinary leakage with those activities.*

Low Impact Exercises Postpartum:

During your three month healing period, the following can be generally helpful:

  • Basic core activation
  • Walking
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Lifting
  • Swimming
  • Cycling

What’s next?

Prior to getting back to running, your physical therapist will help you achieve adequate strength and control of your pelvic floor and hip musculature and help you manage impact and load on the body.

Once cleared by your physical therapist, a “graded return to running” plan (e.g. starting with short distances to longer distances) can be implemented. During this period, you should continue to monitor for signs and symptoms while building training volume.

At ResilientRx, we offer 1:1 care and work with you to meet your individual needs. If you are experiencing symptoms of urinary incontinence, pain, pelvic organ prolapse, or any other musculoskeletal issues, and want to get back into running again, seek help from us to guide you in the right direction.

Written by Michelle Andoy, PT, DPT

*Remember to reach out to your healthcare providers, including a pelvic health physical therapist, to figure out the root causes and address these symptoms. Although not traditionally routine after every birth, there is always an option to receive a comprehensive pelvic health assessment from a pelvic floor physical therapist.

Sources: Goom, T, Donnelly G, Brockwell E (2019). Returning to running postnatal–guidelines for medical, health and fitness professionals managing this population. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/335928424_Returning_to_running_postnatal_-_guidelines_for_medical_health_and_fitness_professionals_managing_this_population