As it’s Mental Health Awareness Week and since this year’s theme is ‘Surviving or Thriving’, I thought I’d give you a little example of how I thrived as a mum of ‘advanced maternal age’ #newmumover40
Now good mental health and physical health go hand in hand both before and after you’ve had a baby.
Staying fit, healthy and happy was a priority throughout my pregnancy, but when I tipped the scales at my six-week check, I was anxious about what my post-baby figure would look like.
After complaining about the cost of gym creche facilities to a friend, she pointed me in the direction of an innovative exercise class which allowed new mums to exercise with their babies. I couldn’t wait to sign up!
Buggies, bums and tums was created by mumpreneur and fitness instructor, Vicki Bradley, to ease mums back into exercise after birth. It’s a great workout for mummies who want to fit exercise around every day chores and means more time with the little ones…without the cost of childcare.
My first class began with Vicki checking my abdominal muscles to make sure I was OK to take part. Then it was on to a warm-up featuring children’s music while Master C got to grips with toys and musical instruments on the floor mats.
After that, there was no messing around. Exercises included a buggy run around the Great Park in Newcastle, push-ups, stomach crunches, tricep dips and boxing…all under the watchful gaze of three-month-old, Master C. He seemed rather bemused by the whole thing.
It was great fun to get out and about with him in the fresh air and also proved a good way of getting him to sleep later on! Once you get over the embarrassment of any dog-walkers watching you, it’s a really fun way to spend an hour.
One thing no one mentions after birth is just how weak your pelvic floor muscles can be and this can lead to embarrassment when exercising. The pelvic floor muscles form a sling across the bottom of the pelvis, supporting the bladder, bowel and uterus. Any weakness can lead to loss of bladder control – which is not good when doing jacks! I wasn’t afraid to ask Vicki about this and she suggested one exercise which is great for helping strengthen these muscles.
Lying with a neutral spine, you squeeze and lift the muscles inside the pelvis upwards and forwards from the bottom to the vagina as if you are stopping yourself passing urine. Hold for a count of five seconds and then slowly relax. Repeat this 10 times. Once you can easily hold for five seconds, you can start to hold for longer.
Vicki’s class was brilliant as I REALLY wanted to get back into the gym after Cyrus was born but it wasn’t practical as I had no babysitters. She was a great motivator and no one judged me because everyone was in it together.
For new mums looking to get in shape, get along to Buggies, Bums and Tums every Thursday, 1pm at Great Park Community Centre, Newcastle.