Back, arms, legs, core ... but don't forget the pelvic floor!
This little group of muscles is so often left off the list in the struggle to shed those post baby kilos – and yet they are literally the foundation for the core of the body!
Pilates is actually one of the best exercise programs to help women rebuild their pelvic floor post pregnancy, and equally as important for women pre-pregnancy and during menopause.
The Poise Pulse Report 2014 has revealed more than a million Australians suffer from light bladder leakage (LBL), yet 95 per cent of these females neglect the important pelvic floor exercises, which are so essential in managing and preventing the condition. Pregnancy and childbirth rank in as the number one cause of LBL, accounting for more than 80 per cent of cases.
The Post Pregnancy work out I have created for Poise has been designed to help women repair their pelvic floor muscles after birth.
Try to do these exercises as often as you can – ideally every day, although as a mum I know just how hard it can be to find the time. Work out the best routine for your busy schedule and stick to it!
Exercise 1 - Seated Pelvic Floor
Sit down and place feet in a diamond position. Inhale, draw up towards your belly button and exhale releasing into your pelvic floor. Inhale and create a diagonal line towards the ceiling, stretching over to one side. Exhale as you travel back through the centre and then stretch over to the other side. Think about creating a rainbow up and over each time. Repeat x 6
Exercise 2 – Angry Cat
Come to your hands and knees and create a box – type position, feel the weight very evenly distributed between the right and left, back and front of your body. Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, round your back like an angry cat, inhale returning to the start position - creating a nice long line, repeat x 4.
For more of a challenge, shorten one side of your waist and allow your eyes to peer at your tail, inhale, travel to the centre and exhale as you shorten to the other side. Adding a new challenge, exhale and reach one hand away from the floor, then lift one leg floating it up and down. Now at the same time lift one leg and opposite arm, repeat x 4 each side.
Exercise 3 - Side Lying - Book Opening
Lie on your side and clasp your hands behind your head, your heels are in line with your tail bone. Inhale and open your elbow towards the ceiling and as you exhale open fully. Retrace your steps to the starting position, focusing on your breathing. Turn over the other side and repeat x 4 each side.
Exercise 4 - Pre – Swimming
Lie on your stomach stretching your arms out in front of you. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale draw the belly away from the ground - have some extra weight falling into that pubic bone area. Inhale and raise the opposite arm and leg and exhale lowering them down, repeat each side x 6. Reverse back into a lazy cat position to stretch your spine.
Exercise 5 – Rolling like a ball
Sit down and find a tall posture, take a deep breath in and as you exhale melt your spine into the floor and allow your legs to come into a table to position, creating a right angle. Exhale and drop the weight of your legs into your hands falling back into the start position stretching up towards the ceiling. Repeat x 4
Exercise 6 - Downward Dog
Start standing, take a deep breath in and as you exhale round your back over and hang down towards the ground, bend your knees if it becomes too much. Inhale and as you exhale, roll up one vertebrae at a time. Repeat and this time walk the hands out in four movements, creating a nice long line and then walk your hands back up again to a standing position. Repeat x 4