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J'AIME MARCH 2020

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H E A LT HBanish the

H E A LT HBanish the ‘mum tum’SPORTING A ‘MUMMY TUMMY’? GOT WHAT LOOKS LIKE A ‘HANGING POUCH’? THISMONTH, LICHFIELD’S SMILIEST PERSONAL TRAINER RAÚL ROMERO TALKS POSTPARTUMFITNESS AND HOW SPECIFIC EXERCISES CAN HELP YOU LOSE THE ‘MUM TUM’WITH TIME PRECIOUS,SHORT, EFFECTIVEEXERCISES CAN HAVE ALONGLASTING EFFECT ONPOSTPARTUM HEALTHThis month, I would like to address a topic thataffects the majority of women after giving birth inmany different ways (and that I am also living firsthand at home after my wife gave birth a year ago!)which is; the ‘mum tum’.Yes, it is a symbol of the incredible strength andcourage that women show when giving birth and Istrongly believe that women should be immenselyproud of the changes to their bodies after bringinga life into the world. Yet I have had countless femaleclients who disfavour (to put it lightly!) the ‘mumtum’ and would like to forever banish it from theirbodies.To all these women, I’d like to say that contrary topopular belief, the ‘mum tum’ is not only a cosmeticissue, but is an actual real life medical conditioncalled ‘diastasis recti’ or ‘divarication’. Hopefullyin understanding how and why it appears, we canbe better informed in how to exercise it to help theaffected women feel great about their bodies.During pregnancy, it is common for the two musclesthat run down the middle of your stomach - theabdominals - to separate and stretch sideways,therefore the connective tissue running down themidline of the torso, called the linea alba, canbecome overstretched and weak. This weakness iswhat compromises the back and core, otherwiseknown as ‘diastasis recti’. It is also linked topelvic floor health, can cause digestion issues andcontributes to urinary and stress incontinence.This separation between the stomach musclesshould usually go back to ‘normal’ by eight weekspostpartum; however for more than 30% of women,this is usually longer. This is why abdominal exercises50

are not recommended for the first few weeks aftergiving birth, or better yet, until your postpartum GPcheck to ensure everything is as it should be.From this information, it is crystal clear thatpostpartum health and fitness is immenselyimportant, not only to help women feel great aboutthemselves aesthetically in losing the ‘mum tum’,but also health wise; to ensure you are the fittest,healthiest mama you can be.Specific postpartum exercises:Once okayed by your GP, regular pelvic floor anddeep stomach exercises can help to reduce the sizeof the separation between the stomach muscles andin turn, reduce any digestion or urinary and stressincontinence issues.Pelvic floor exercises:No doubt your midwife will have told you to ensureyou are doing pelvic floor exercises and you mayor may not have been doing them. They are anabsolute must. There is no way around them;pelvic floor muscle exercises strengthen the musclesaround your bladder, vagina and bottom. They areessential in improving postpartum health (includingstopping incontinence and reducing the chance ofprolapse), not to mention can contribute massively inimproving intercourse!The following exercises are recommended by theNHS. You can do them lying down, sitting orstanding. With practice, they can be done anywhereand at any time:Squeeze and draw in your bottom as if you’reholding wind.Squeeze around your vagina and bladder (urethra)as if you’re stopping the flow of urine or squeezingduring intercourse.Long squeezes – hold for as long as you can, but nolonger than 10 seconds, then relax.Short squeezes – quickly squeeze the muscles andthen let them go immediately. Do this until yourmuscles get tired.Aim to build up to 10 repetitions of each exercise, atleast three times a day.It’s important to keep breathing normally while youdo these exercises. Make sure you don’t pull in yourstomach when you squeeze.Sitting on the toilet can be a good reminder to doyour exercises. Just make sure you do them afteryou’ve finished!Postpartum health and fitness is such a massive pointof discussion that I look forward to touching on infuture editions. Once motherhood hits, suddenlytime becomes ever precious so doing short, quick, yeteffective exercises such as these pelvic floor exercisescan have such a big, long lasting effect in improvingyour postpartum health.For any questions on postpartum health and fitness,or health and fitness in general, please don’t hesitateto get in touch with Raúl at raul@ambitionpt.co.uk, or find us on Facebook/Instagram@ambitionpersonaltrainingUKDURING PREGNANCY THEABDOMINAL MUSCLES CANSEPARATE AND STRETCH -LEADING TO THE ‘MUM TUM’51

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