Hands up, who uses a smart phone daily? Or sits at a laptop/computer? I know I do and although it isn’t great for my posture it is something that I need to do in order to work. Modern life is not good for our bodies, so the best thing we can do is to be aware and to combat our bodies compensations. Or all give up technology…. not going to happen!
One of the main issues is the position of your neck. Leaning to look down at a screen is causing the vertebrae in the neck to jam up and get stuck for space. It increases the wear and tear in the neck. It is the same when you wear a heavy rucksack, to compensate you jut your neck forward. (Note to parents, keep your children’s rucksacks light!).
Do you get headaches, have a pain at the base of your skull or tight neck/shoulders? All this can be linked.
Our head weighs 10-12lbs but when you change the angle if increases this effective weight, so a 15 degree angle changes this to 27lbs and a 60 degree angle makes it 60lbs!!!
Try placing your fingers on the very base of you neck, just above the big boney first part of your spine. How do your vertebrae in your neck feel? Jammed up or with space between them? Trying drawing your chin back so you have a double chin and then lengthening up through the crown on the head, how different is it?
When your neck is forward jutting you should feel that pressure on the back of the neck and the vertebrae are very close together. As you lengthen back to neutral spine the load and pressure is released and there is space for those vertebrae once more.
Our heads set the tone for the rest of the body (as do the feet) so if you head and neck posture are not in good alignment then it can affect the rest of the kinetic chain. The body is like one of these baby toys…. when you push one part it affects another area too. It’s all connected!
The solution? Start eavesdropping! Well at least pretend to. Assume the posture of standing tall and thinking about eavesdropping on someone behind you and it should help you draw your head and neck back into alignment.
Also try out this exercise:
Many people come to us for help with their back pains and find that Pilates really helps. The act of strengthening their core, working on their posture, learning about neutral pelvis and stretching does wonders.
So here is the question. “My back hurts should I come to class this week?”
It’s a tough one. Sometimes the answer will be to rest it, sometime you will be better mobilising it in a safe environment. Here are my thoughts:
Why does it hurt? What led to it hurting in the first place? Knowing that can be very helpful to firstly preventing it happening again, helping us work out how to help you strengthen it and it will give us an idea what has happened. If you were bending down to pick up something and it twinged, then we need to work on your technique of picking things up, include some squats and core work in your repertoire.
Is this a new issue or a recurrent one. Your previous history is a great indicator of whether you should rest or keep mobile. For example if you have had disc issues in the past and the pain feels similar then you don’t want to be coming to class.
How much does it hurt? If it is a more of a dull back ache then you should probably come and let the teacher know so they can give you exercises to help. If it is a throbbing pain that you are needing painkillers for then you should be going to the GP and resting.
When you are in a class our advice is always – If it hurts then tell the teacher and stop. Pilates should not cause proper, full on pain. Yes your core will ache, your back may feel stretched, your shoulder blades may pinch…. but it is not a “No pain, no gain” type of exercise.
We are always here to give extra tips or to chat through things. For more specific exercises you can use at home remember you can always use our DVD or book a one to one.
One of the lovely side effects I had during pregnancy was to have thicker, faster growing hair. My hairdresser was always amazed when she saw me yet again for a trim.
This extra hair growth that some ladies see is due to the hormone levels, specifically the oestrogen. Hair has a cycle of growth and loss. Usually we lose about 100 hairs a day, however in pregnancy this hair loss can be reduced giving you those extra lush locks. All good things must come to an end however and as the oestrogen levels drop so must the extra hair. It is not uncommon for clumps or handfuls of hair to come out when you are brushing or washing it. So do not panic! Your hair will go back to how it was pre-pregnancy, you will not be bald (phew).
For some mums this will happen from birth and for others it will be when breastfeeding stops.
1. Be kind to your hair, don’t was it excessively (as if you have time to with a baby!) and be gentle when styling it.
2. Try to stay away from hair dryers and straighteners, chemicals and treatments for a while.
3. Take a postnatal vitamins and eat a healthy balanced diet. Essential fatty acids are needed for hair to grow strong and healthy so no low fat diets.
4. Talk to your health visitor or GP is you feel the hair loss is excessive as it could be a sign something else is not quite right.
So I’ve reached the 6 week post baby place. This is usually when you get an appointment with your GP and hopefully are given the green light to exercise. In my GP surgery the 6 week check is carried out at 8 weeks. Fortunately as a specialist in the antenatal and postnatal fitness arena I know what exercise is safe to do at this stage, so this weekend I made a start. I’d love to go for a run and do some high impact work, but I’m very aware that my core is not as strong as I’d like it to be yet and my pelvic floor is still regaining strength. Also Relaxin is still in my system making my joints prone to overstretching. So I’m being patient and holding back. Doing high impact activites such as running, jumping, aerobics can put extra strain on your pelvic floor and joints. So my thoughts and advice are to take it easy and go for low impact options after birth until you have regained some core strength first, this is like your foundation for all other exercise. My Exercise this week: I’m doing some Pilates pretty much everyday. Just 15 minutes is really making a difference and I am now so much stronger than I was. I’m loving 1/2 roll ups, swimming in hands and knees and shoulder bridges with knee folds. I’ve even done a bit of Pilates with baby asleep in the sling 😉 Hard work indeed!
At the weekend I did my first weights session. I focused on squats, lunges, chest presses, shoulder rows and modified press ups. My toddler joined me with her imaginery weights and baby kicked along to the music on his playmat. Exercising with children can be done! It was nice to feel my muscles the next day! Walking is key for me too, I’m making sure I get a walk in 3 time a week, usually this is with baby in the sling or pushing the baby and toddler in the buggy – both make for a good workout 🙂