Get your body back!

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FEATURE -

NEW moth­ers of­ten find that their body feels dif­fer­ent af­ter the birth of their child. They feel weaker than be­fore. Their backs ache from car­ry­ing the baby. It may take months to get back to lithe and lovely.

When the time comes to hit the gym or start an ex­er­cise pro­gramme again, new moth­ers must first check out what their body can han­dle.

Classes geared specif­i­cally to moth­ers are be­com­ing com­mon. There are even out­door work­outs where the moms can bring the baby buggy, as well as fit­ness boot­camps at pop­u­lar va­ca­tion spots.

"Our motto is ‘Happy mom, happy kid,’" says fit­ness trainer Katja Ohly-Nauber, the founder of Lauf­ma­malauf, a com­mer­cial or­gan­i­sa­tion which ad­min­is­ters ex­er­cise classes to new moth­ers.

Its clas­sic op­tion is an out­door cir­cuit train­ing class, where moth­ers do full body train­ing at dif­fer­ent sta­tions and can have their ba­bies near them in prams.

A spe­cial fo­cus is on the pelvic floor, which weak­ens dur­ing child­birth. It is very im­por­tant to re­strengthen those mus­cles.

"This in­cludes sup­port­ing the back, cor­rect pos­ture and building mus­cles in the leg, said Pe­tra Sch­weers, a midwife in Berlin.

Sch­weers in­structs Kanga Train­ing, a post­na­tal work­out where the baby is close to the mother’s body.

"At the same time it is im­por­tant to take it easy on the pelvic floor. Leap­ing and jump­ing are taboo, so reg­u­lar gym fit­ness classes are of­ten poorly suited," she notes.

Once a wo­man en­gages in ex­er­cises again, it is im­por­tant that she lis­tens to her body and as­sesses her own well-be­ing as she goes.

Sch­weers rec­om­mends women for­get aim­ing to look like a fash­ion model again af­ter eight weeks of train­ing.

Most women must train for longer pe­ri­ods of time to reach their de­sired fig­ure.

Child­birth does not mean all con­tact with the midwife and gy­nae­col­o­gist can cease. Th­ese pro­fes­sion­als re­main the ex­perts af­ter­wards in ad­vis­ing a wo­man what her par­tic­u­lar body can stand.

In gen­eral, there is no set an­swer as to the ex­tent and type of ac­tiv­ity a mother should en­gage in af­ter the child is born. Ev­ery wo­man's pelvic floor and ab­dom­i­nal mus­cles is dif­fer­ent, mean­ing they will strengthen at dif­fer­ent speeds.

Sch­weers and Ohly-Nauber both rec­om­mend a hol­i­day from ex­er­cise for six to 10 weeks – pro­vided there were no com­pli­ca­tions dur­ing child birth. But a fi­nal ex­am­i­na­tion by a gy­nae­col­o­gist should be done be­fore be­gin­ning an ex­er­cise regime. – dpa

New moth­ers work up a sweat push­ing bug­gies round a park.

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