So I don’t know about you but I’m one of those people who really struggles to maintain regular exercise. Especially after having a baby, working (as a Pilates instructor) and all the other daily life things that often take priority. I’m sure many of you also have ridiculously busy lives and realize just when you are about to go for a run/workout that you only have an hour before you have to go out again so you should probably put the washing out first or play with your beautiful kids and before you know it, the hour is gone and so is your workout for the day. This is the reason that it’s so important that your program is individual to you.
We all love and hate different exercises, for example I am happy to do dozens of sit ups but I’d rather go jump in the ocean on a freezing winter day than do a burpee! There’s also the issues of post pregnancy pelvic floor and separation of my ab muscle which restricts what I can and can’t do. So skipping is an impossibility until I’ve done a few hundred more pelvic floor exercises and that flat, tight tummy I used to have doesn’t seem as important. So long as I am fit and strong, I feel more confident than I ever have before.
For most of my pregnancy I didn’t exercise because I had quite bad morning sickness so it took a while to find my exercise rhythm again (not to mention being more tired than I’d ever been in my whole life) but here is some tips which I hope can be helpful for Mums and all you wonderful people out there who want to find your exercise rhythm:
• Individuality: I realized that it was key that I didn’t compare myself with other women/mums (Facebook can be terrible for this). We all have different experiences and body types that can cope with different forms of exercise and for me it was walking with the pram for 30minutes a few times a week. It has taken me over 8 months to start losing what I gained being pregnant but once I changed my focus to being stronger rather than having perfect toned abs I was a lot happier (even if I still carried some of the baby weight). I also preferred a home based exercise that I could do in 30 minutes while Archer (my boy) was sleeping.
• Have a plan: I plan to do resistance type exercise 3 mornings a week and have a different focus each day. There are plenty of apps you can look into that can help with finding programs for you to do at home or find a class that suits you at a gym or physio studio. I then walk with Archer three times a week (especially when he’s grumpy and I just need to get out of the house!)
• Music: I have to say that I can get quite bored exercising without music if I’m on my own. I love something with a bit of bass and good beat! Some favorites (please don’t judge) are some Black Eyed Peas, Kelly Clarkson, Outkast, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, U2 – ok so I might be showing my age here but its about whatever you find makes you want to move!
• Classes: being a Pilates instructor I can’t write this article without mentioning how amazing classes can be! I’m an introvert and often like to do my own thing but I love, love, love coming to join in on a Pilates class here at our studio! The movements are controlled and about so much more than just toning. You are working these forgotten little muscles that are often left out but key to maintaining healthy pain free bodies. My goodness, the amount of times I’ve walked out with pain in places I didn’t remember existed, plus its really nice to have someone else there to motivate you so you don’t have to think for a while. Doing a class a week can also help emotionally and mentally because you are able to get out and feel like you are putting some care back into yourself which is so important for keeping sane and good mental health.
• Now to finish on a rather corny Anonymous quote: “You’ve always been beautiful. Now you’re just deciding to be healthier, fitter, faster and stronger. Remember that”
Cherie De Clerck
Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor
Pilates of Mt Eliza