WNiF Magazine - Summer 2017 Edition | Page 18

By Jen Dugard THE 3 ‘MUST-DO’ POST NATAL EXERCISES W hen working with post-natal clients and creating their exercise program, it is important to consider their new role as a mum. Some women—especially if they haven’t exercised much or primarily worked in an office environment— are faced with the most physically demanding job in the most de-conditioned state they have ever been in. Many women are physically and emotionally drained. They may have a baby that doesn’t sleep, be struggling with feeding and adapting to their ‘changed body’. During this time mums should be encouraged to understand their bodies, re-build from the inside out and build a base level of strength. A better knowledge of how and why they ‘feel’ the way they do on a day-to-day basis could truly change their experience of early motherhood. I took some time to think about my top three favourite and essential exercises that I like to teach all of my post-natal mums. Choosing only three was a tough job, but here they are: 1. Pelvic Floor and Transversus Abdominis (TA) Breathing 18 My absolute favorite and one that can be done as soon as a new-mum feels ready, this exercise is the foundation of the postnatal woman. Learnt and performed well, it can help to rehabilitate her pelvic floor and has the potential to help correct any abdominal separation preventing further injury down the track. To ensure this exercise is performed correctly, I recommend every new mum should see a Women’s Health Physiotherapist (WHP) at around the 6-week mark. If a pregnant mum can be taught how to do this and sees a WHP during her pregnancy, it will be beneficial. How to correctly teach pelvic floor breathing: • Ask your client to lie on her back
 • Ensure knees are bent and feet are hip width apart • Check the spine is in neutral to avoid over-arching of the lower back or pushing it into the ground • Client should place one hand on one of her obliques (you can also do the same to check whether the correct muscles are contracting) • Take her/your other hand and lay it from hipbone to hipbone— this is the area to concentrate on throughout this exercise WHAT’S NEW IN FITNESS - SUMMER 2017