Parent Fit – Part Four

Is it possible to stay healthy when your world is turned upside down?

When children arrive, all your health goals go out of the window right…? This week: Tips for pain relief and more ‘baby carrying power’!

In this series we’ve been looking into ideas that actually support a healthy lifestyle when children arrive (or any other life situation that turns your world upside down).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: You may find this hard to believe, but I’m not actually a midwife J . Please do not take these ideas as prescriptions, see your health professional before you do anything.

What to do when you’re in pain?

When children arrive, weird and wonderful physical tasks that would not have entered your head become part of daily life (taking a baby seat out the back of a 3 door car anyone!). As you can imagine (and may have experienced) these movements place new stresses on the body.

Your body is an amazing creation and will put up with a huge amount. But it does have its limits, and the weaker areas, like the lower back for example, can suffer over time. So today I wanted to share with you a couple of simple strategies that can help relieve the pain, and hopefully stop it coming in the first place.

Strategy one: It’s all about your BACKSIDE! The Wall Standing test

Due to modern living, most of us have a weak mid-section (lower back, stomach etc.) When you add an extra weight to a weak system i.e. carrying a baby for hours on end, something has to give. The wall standing test is a movement that firstly highlights what good posture feels like and secondly, how to train the right muscles make it the norm.

– Stand with your heels, hips and head against a wall, getting your shoulders right back.

– Slide your hand between the wall and your back, in line with your belly button. Optimal posture is where your shoulders should be level and against the wall, and the meaty part of your hand snuggly fitting between your back and the wall (which is at belly button level).

– If like many of us, you have too much of a gap at your lower back (or not enough), try flattening or arching your back until you get the right position.

– Hold this position for 10seconds, rest for a few seconds, repeat 10 times.

I’ll warn you, it will feel really weird at first, but you’ll be strengthening your back, stomach and buttocks which are crucial when carrying and lifting things. We’ve really found this helps (squeezing your buttocks and stomach) when carrying the baby.

Strategy two: Have a lie down

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Most of us will feel back pain at some point. I would always advise to go and get it checked out by a professional, but this exercise often helps relieve the pain for a short time (which is priceless sometimes)

* Lie on your back with your legs up over a block or a chair

* Place your arms out to the sides at approx. 45degrees with palms up. Touch your thumbs to the floor

* Relax your upper back and ensure your lower back flattens to the floor evenly from left to right

* Hold this position for five minutes

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