Squeaky knees, stiff necks, aching backs or tender joints- we’ve all encountered bodily creaks as we head into our day. How much we should do while our bodies sound like a popular morning cereal, emitting a “snap, crackle, pop”?
A general rule of thumb is: if you find your mobility significantly decreased, or have pain that does not go away in 48 hours, you should see a health care provider for diagnosis and treatment (WebMd). At Stroller Strides, we also ask you to simply listen to your body. If your mind is telling you to slow down, or avoid movement, then listen to your gut and rest.
For run-of-the-mill aches or stiffness associated with motherhood and pregnancy, stretching exercises will help increase your flexibility and help you work out the kinks. Strength training will also help you build muscle, have stronger bones, and increase your functional fitness levels. The more you work at increasing flexibility, the less likely you are to have injury and stiffness in the long run.
One of the best stretches for aches is the pelvic tilt, as it decreases stress on the back and is the building block of good posture.
Do the pelvic tilt on your hands and knees, keeping your head in line with your back. Pull in your stomach and arch your back upward. Hold this position for several seconds. Then relax your stomach and back, keeping your back flat and not allowing your stomach to sag. I like to practice this stretch along with a long child’s pose for a total body stretch and relaxation period. To do child’s pose push your bottom back onto your heels with arms extended, forehead down and hold while you breathe deeply.
The next time you are stiff or sore, try these stretches to get your blood flowing, your body limber, and your kinks worked out.
Calories, calories, calories. It is almost a bad word isn't it?
They seem to be everywhere and we are always hearing about them. We all know that we need to reduce our intake of calories to lose weight, but what exactly is a calorie? According to the dictionary, a calorie is the unit of heat equal to the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 10C at 1 atmosphere pressure.
Now, let’s discuss it in real-life terms. The first thing to understand is that every food and almost every liquid (except for water, tea, coffee, and some diet drinks) contains calories.
• One gram of fat contains approximately 8 calories
• One gram of carbohydrate and 1 gram of protein contain approximately 4 calories each.
• One pound of body fat contains approximately 3,500 calories.
3,500 calories seems like a lot, but over the course of one week (7 days), all you have to do is consume 500 extra calories a day and you’ll gain a pound.
On the flip side, if you reduce your caloric intake and/or work out, you can burn an extra 500 calories each day and lose a pound.
The first step to take in any weight loss, weight gain, or improved nutrition program is to become more aware of your own body and what you are putting into it every day.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever blindly shoved meals or snacks into your mouth during a brief break from work, taking care of your family, or keeping a home. This distracted eating leads to a distinct disconnect with our bodies, which is ironic because the food we eat is the fuel that allows us to keep moving and get everything done!
So how do you become more aware? Stay tuned for some real-life tips and check out the Stroller Strides website for more ideas on thoughtful eating.
Most moms in Stroller Strides tell us that their hips and thighs are a trouble spot after having a baby. This exercise targets those troublesome areas.
Lay down onto the back and anchor the feet with a forward foot wrap (shown above). Anchor elbows down by the waist and bend the knees down to the outside of the abdomen, like frog legs. Squeezing the inner thighs, slowly press the legs back up, contracting the quadriceps at the top of the movement.
- Core should remain tight to support the spine
- Keep knees soft at the top, don't lock them out.
For less intensity, feel free to perform this exercise without tubing/resistance.
"Please help me get my abs back". This is the number one request that we hear at Stroller Strides. While we try to take the pressure off and tell you that it took nine months to put the weight on and it may take nine months to take it off; we understand the desire to lose the pregnant pooch. No one is happy with what's left on our midsection after childbirth. So that being said, here's what you need to commit to:
1) Eat clean. Every calorie counts. Eat foods that will fuel your body. Do your best to eat foods close to the source, not processed and packaged. Load up on fresh, whole foods such as fruits and vegetables. We suggest eating a mini meal every 2 - 3 hours.
2) Drink up! You need that water to aid your metabolism, make you feel full and flush out toxins. You need to drink at least 8 8-oz glasses of water (more if you are exercising and more if you are nursing). Your urine should be clear to pale. If it's yellow, you need more water.
3) Exercise most if not all days of the week. This is the hardest part for a lot of new moms. Of course you need to wait until your doctor's clearance to start a traditional exercise program. But you need to find a way to fit fitness in to your new life as a mom. A 30-minute commitment of physical activity on most days is a must, especially if you want to see changes in your body. You are more likely to stick to a program that fits in to your life as a mom.
4) Get To The Core Of It - You won't see a six pack if you have fat on top. However, strong abs are the desire for both looks and function. Every day, fit a core series in to your workout. No excuses as you can do this wherever and whenever you want. Here are some samples