Wall Angels Exercise
Why I tell you to ‘Exhale on Exertion’
Working with post-natal women, in fact women in general it is absolutely paramount for me to be ensuring that every single move that they make is going to help and not hinder (or worse, be detrimental to) the integrity and function of their deepest core muscles and pelvic floor.
Every time we put pressure through our body, whether that comes from formal exercise (lifting weights, even just our body weight, jumping and moving) or in daily activity (bags, babies, toddlers, 6 bottle prosecco holders), we need to be protecting our core ESPECIALLY if our core is recovering from pregnancy and childbirth (6 weeks, months, years even after the event!)
In short, if you are holding your breath, or bearing down (and sometimes this can come involuntarily through dodgy breathing patterns) in any of these activities, pressure is being created which isn’t a great thing for the soft tissues of your tummy (especially if you have a diastasis) and pelvic floor (hence the sometimes leaky run, star jump, laugh, sneeze etc).
Jenny Burrell has created a neat little moving image to show how your breathing is linked to movement in your core. Take a look below. As you inhale, there is a depression in the diaphragm and pelvic floor and the tummy relaxes. Exhale and the system lifts and pressure decreases….
In addition, I have made a short little video explaining it too.
Please rest assured that during every session or class you take with me, this principle will be used as a matter of course. If you need to dig deeper I recommend you take a look at the Holistic Core Restore® courses, especially if your tummy or pelvic floor are giving you bother.
And from here on, make ‘exhale as you lift’ your mantra as you go about your daily life.
Prune and Chia Pots
This is a super quick dairy free dessert, inspired by a recipe from Jenny Burrell that I often serve to my Holistic Core Restore® clients. There’s no added sugar and the chia seeds add masses of nutrients, particularly healthy fats and minerals plus they’re a great source of fibre.
The amount below makes about 12 shot size portions:
1 can of coconut milk
250g soft dried prunes
handful of dried cherries, blueberries or similar
2 tablespoons of chia seeds
Gently heat the coconut milk, prunes and dried berries in a saucepan for 5 minutes.
Turn off the heat and stir in the chia seeds.
Allow to cool a little before blending (I use a Nutribullet but a normal blender will do the job)
Divide into ramekins, shot glasses, espresso cups or similar and refridgerate.
These will last a couple of days in the fridge.
Diastasis Recti Check
Please watch through this video guide on how to check your abdominals, have a go at checking yourself, then email your findings to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are at all worried and would like some help to know what should be your next step.
Ever Regret a Workout?
Returning to the new normality of September and more structured exercise, this week I found myself back in my favourite Spin class. It had taken a fair amount of internal persuasion to go as instead I could have tackled holiday washing or something equally as ‘useful’ but as I got going and felt the familiar buzz of the endorphins and swell of the music I was glad to be there. I remembered a phrase I used to repeat to clients, that you ‘never regret a workout’.
On the whole, I stand by this – opening a bottle of wine and resuming a favourite boxset often seems like a more comfortable option but if you had planned to exercise then chose not to, you are more likely to feel rueful at the end of the day.
That said, over the last six or seven years where more and more of my work has been restorative, foundational and functional fitness, I would say that I have come across many women who have ended up regretting a particular workout or class; the class where the repetitive abdominal crunches made her tummy muscles bulge, the PT who pushed the postnatal treadmill sprint and the resulting ‘accident’, the heavy lift in a weights class that made ‘everything drop’ in the nether regions. These are real examples from real clients who have sought some answers.
Exercising is good for us. That is a fact. This post is NOT going into depth about the benefits of regular exercise – there is so much I could say, but for now I’ll simplify it…. mental health, heart health, bone health, digestive health – all benefit. That’s a given. I’m not here to scare or warn you off a good sweat, that familiar burn, the inevitable great sleep or welcome appetite you get from your favourite way to move. Instead, I urge careful consideration of whether something makes you feel better or worse? If your body has been or is going through an ‘event’ (child birth, surgery, hormonal change, new medication) it is worth considering getting great advice on moving forwards. I NEVER want anyone to regret a workout. Instead, my mission is to SHOW them how their foundational core strength can prepare them for the tougher stuff. It’s empowering and gratifying to know you are doing the very best you can for your body; to ‘feel the burn’ and raise the sweat knowing you have shown your body respect.
Take a look around my website for classes and courses that can show you how. The ‘gold standard’ starting place is one of the Holistic Core Restore® programmes…..