With the joys and blessings of motherhood, comes the opportunity to snuggle and hold your little one close. Sometimes, we could only wish that the time would slow down, so we can continue to enjoy these precious moments that will be cherished forever.
As a certified personal trainer, pre/postnatal exercise specialist, and holistic nutritionist, I’ve successfully helped many clients with their health goals in various stages of life. Through my own pregnancy experience and professional work with others, I have come to notice that new moms often tend to neglect individual wellbeing because we get quite caught up with our little bundle of joy.
Have you noticed that you’ve got the “mom slouch”? From all the carrying, nursing, and cradling, you might be experiencing a sore neck, tight back, as well as wrist and forearm pain. Here are 5 exercises to get those kinks out and improve your posture!
Inhale – arch your back, lifting the best and looking forward. Exhale – round your back, spreading the shoulder blades apart and tucking in your chin.
Tip: Take your time and breathe.
Why? This exercise places an emphasis on the scapula pro/retraction, as well as the c-spine, t-spine and l-spine (flex/extend). Through these variations, you are able to loosen any muscle stiffness in the shoulders, back and neck area.
Laying down, place a yoga block or foam roller under your shoulder blades. Keep your chin tucked as you flex and extend your upper back, using your prop as the fulcrum.
Tip: If you don’t have a yoga block or foam roller, try a stack of books or a shoebox filled with a few heavy items.
Why? One of the three major sections of the spinal column, the t-spine is located in the upper back and abdomen sections of your spine. This exercise helps to open up and stretch the muscles in the back, and strengthen the core.
Sit up with your legs extended. Place the band around the soles of your feet. Lift your chest and exhale as your pull the band. Drive your elbows back and down (focus on using your back to pull, not just your arms).
Tip: Keep your core contracted and try not to flare out your ribs or arch your lower back.
Why? From bending to cradling and lifting, your upper back muscles are often called on. Work on strengthening the upper back area while engaging the core, and get rid of any soreness experienced.
Start on all fours and begin to rotate your hand outwards so your fingers point towards yourself. Try to have the entire surface of your hands touching the floor. If possible, lean back.
Tip: This stretch can be quite intense, so adjust your own body weight accordingly.
Why? Not only does this exercise stretch the wrists, it also works on the forearm, palm, and fingers. Making small adjustments will help bring relief to any wrist pain.
Stand facing the wall. Reach up and over to open up the sideline of your body. Take deep breaths and breathe into the ribcage.
Tip: Breathing and connecting with your pelvic floor will help to improve your posture with a strong foundation.
Why? Latissimus dorsi, also known as the lats, are a large muscle located on the back side of the body. Through this stretch, the pelvis, lower and mid back, and inside of the upper arm is stretched. That means more carrying and snuggling!
Remember, there’s more to all the constant nursing, poopy diapers, loads of laundry, cooking and cleaning. Learn to take care of yourself by stretching. Your body will get stronger and eventually, you will be ready for higher intensity exercises. Why wait? Start stretching and fix your mom slouch today.
Contributed by: Jessie Lam, Certified Personal Trainer, Bellies Inc. Core Specialist, Pre/Postnatal Exercise Specialist, 200Hr RYT Registered Yoga Medicine Teacher, Registered Holistic Nutritionist