Most of the mothers that I see in our clinic are feeling some level of life overwhelm. Between caring for their children, family and work, they are usually feeling like caring for themselves and getting in things like strength training is almost impossible. We FEEL you!
However, they are usually coming to see us physical therapists because they are in need of guidance to help them regain a healthier version of themselves and this usually will require them to do some work at home. When we start out at their first visit, I have a rule of asking them to work on no more than 3 things. This can include belly breathing before bed, being mindful of resting their head on the head rest in the car, or some other simple exercise. Because the trick to seeing progress is to slowly get the body and mind used to new habits which can be small done once, but transformative when done over a longer period of time.
But as simple as my recommendations may be, most patients struggle at times to get the simple things done.
Here is where the SECRET comes in… we need to sneak in those things we need into the fabric of our typical days. No need to try and move mountains to create large swaths of time. The key is to identify when we may already be in the same position as an exercise we would like to do, and do it then.
1. Working on belly breathing while laying on your side? → Do it once you lay down in bed for a few minutes or while nursing your baby.
2. Have an exercise that you do in a chair? → Sneak it in between tasks at your desk job.
3. Want to work on ankle strength by doing heel raises? → Do it while brushing your teeth.
A favorite place that I like to recommend moms fit in a few exercises is in their kitchen. We often use a ballet barre here at the office, but this could easily be a kitchen counter. Exercises that we love to do at the barre can include:
Incline plank push-ups
Incline plank marches
Hold onto the counter for heel raises
Hold the counter for stagger lunges or squats
Another tip for success is to look at your daily schedule and literally put your exercise time on the calendar and let others in your family know about it so they can support you. This could be getting up 30 minutes or more earlier than normal or tag teaming with your partner to get out of the house to walk when they can watch the kids. We ALL need accountability and bringing in your support people into your journey is vital for your success.
So next time you are brushing your teeth, perhaps you might think about working on your calf muscle strength or balance on one leg. And the next time you are waiting for water to boil in the kitchen, you may remember to do some kitchen counter push-ups. Because the BEST exercise program or plan is the one that gets done consistently. The little things we do regularly will add up to a BIG difference.
Would you like guidance on exactly what your body needs to feel less pain or to feel stronger? Contact us for an evaluation!