Avoid these top 5 postnatal exercise mistakes that moms make!
Given how precious few minutes moms have to themselves, we can’t afford to waste our precious workout time! These 5 moves achieve minimal effect or even worse, do more harm than good… Keep reading to avoid the top 5 postnatal exercise mistakes moms make.
If you’re already a Dia devotée, you know that many conventional abdominal exercises strain the connective tissue in the abdomen, which widens your waistline and creates or worsens an existing pooch. The list of offenders includes crunches, bicycle crunches, sit-ups, and even a few moves in yoga and Pilates. The very exercises you might be doing to “get your body back” can actually exacerbate the problem you’re trying to fix. To state it as simply as possible: any movement that bulges the abdominal wall forcefully forward will further separate the abdominal muscles, making a post-pregnancy pooch worse. Always engage your abdominal muscles in a flat-to-flatter contraction. Never allow the abs to bulge forward.
So what can you do instead of conventional abs exercises? A great alternative workout for core strengthening and toning is Firm, Flat & Fabulous, disc 6 in the Dia postnatal video series. It will challenge you to work every core muscle synergistically for a targeted and effective 25 minutes.
All or nothing… which usually means nothing
Don’t wait for that elusive opportunity when you can get away for an hour at the gym! You could be waiting for a very long time, which will get in the way of meeting your postnatal exercise goals. Each step forward is a step in the right direction, no matter how small. All it takes is 25-30 minutes of exercise a few days a week to radically improve your fitness (and only 10 minutes daily to restore your core!). Squeeze in what you can, when you can. It might be the final minutes of your day, after the kids are in bed and the house is quiet. It might be the first thing in the morning, or it might be nap time, the first half hour after dropping a little one off at school, even a lunch break at work if you can swing it. Figure out how you can carve out a mere 30 minutes as a gift to yourself 3-4 days per week – put it on your calendar, and keep that appointment. If you want an ideal target to aim for, make it this: 2x/week resistance (any Dia workout) + 2x/week cardio of your choice.
Stuck in a rut
We all have favorite activities or routines, but we have to keep challenging ourselves in new ways so the body continues to respond and improve. Instead of operating on auto-pilot with the same postnatal exercises every time, mix it up. If running is your thing, do sprint intervals one day, a long distance run on another, and a tempo run (moderate distance at a very challenging pace) or hill repeats on a third training day. Definitely include a couple different resistance workouts each week. Take your workout outside for a refreshing change, or inside. Try increasing the weight you lift and decreasing the reps, or vice versa. For example, rotate through the five 25-30 minute Dia workouts instead of sticking to your fave over and over. Even your foundational, daily core compressions can benefit from new body positions – try them in a side plank, while lying in bed in the fetal position (be sure to do it on both sides), in a wall-sit or on all fours. The main thing is to keep mixing it up to get the most out of each minute.
Are you sticking solely to cardio for every single workout? Whether it’s running or elliptical, cycling or swimming… a cardio-only workout routine will not serve you in the long run (pun intended!). To keep your metabolism revving, to build strength and improve posture, and to tone your muscles for a svelte & sexy look, you must incorporate strength training! This can include body weight exercises, free weights or resistance bands – or all of the above. Strength training is vital. It will do more than you realize to achieve your aims…and no, it will not bulk you up! Discs 3, 4, 5 & 7 in the Dia postnatal series offer excellent total body strength workouts, 25-30 minutes each. Incorporate one of these efficient workouts, or similar, into your routine at least twice a week.
Boot camp beware
I know you’re eager to get your body back, and a super intense, sweaty all-out effort can feel like you’re really doing something. Well – you are doing something, but it probably won’t achieve exactly what you hope. All boot camps are not created equal, and I don’t wish to bash every boot camp class as injurious… but I will warn you that injuries are common, and new moms are especially at risk. The fast, power-based moves that define boot camp style classes place excessive pressure on the abdomen and the pelvic floor. This stress further separates post-pregnancy abs and further weakens the pelvic floor. Note: if you feel like you’re “leaking” while performing any postnatal exercise, you should not be doing it!
Harness the power of science to achieve the body you want without collateral damage. Don’t just work hard; work smart.