Safe babywearing with Ergobaby

Pregnancy is commonly accompanied by low back pain, which results from pelvic changes and alterations in weight loading. Most back symptoms do resolve postpartum, however some people may experience persisting symptoms related to incorrect baby wearing and bad postural habits.

Below, are some baby-wearing tips for Soft Structured Carriers like the Ergobaby Carrier. These are simple guidelines to help prevent Low back pain.

Generally, the higher up on your body the baby is, the easier it’ll be on your back. The baby should be close enough to kiss. When a front carry is too low the baby’s weight pulls the shoulders forwards resulting in a compensatory protruding neck. This strains the cervical spine and neck muscles resulting in trapezius myalgia (fatigue accompanied by pain in the upper Trapezius neck muscle).

Trapezius Myalgia

Trapezius Myalgia

The closer your baby is to you, the easier it’ll be on your back. Keeping a weight close to you makes it lighter thus reducing strain on your back.  If the carrier is left loose, the baby will lean away from the body, causing unevenness in the distribution of weight whilst pulling the pelvis into an anterior tilt, increasing the lumbar lordosis (lower curvature of the spine). This strains the supporting ligaments and muscles possibly causing low back pain.

Close enough to Kiss :)

Close enough to Kiss 🙂

The SSC’s waistband distributes the baby’s weight evenly through the pelvis and lower limbs. This wide supporting band should fit tightly right over the hips in a horizontal position. An angled waistband, with a low back carry pushes the pelvis into a posterior pelvic tilt putting strain on the lower part of the spine and supporting ligaments. On the other hand if the front part of the band sits over the pubic bone, and the back digs into the hollow of the back, will make the wearer compensate by leaning back. This further increases the lumbar curvature, eliciting back pain.

Wide supporting  velcro strap

Wide supporting velcro strap

Shoulder straps distribute the baby’s weight through the shoulder girdle and upper back. Loose or asymmetrically tightened shoulder straps will result in the baby being off-centre. This results in loading only one side of your neck and back, causing muscle fatigue. Baby’s legs should be parallel to each other.

Equal weight distribution

Equal weight distribution

Shift to back carrying. When the child gets heavier (around 10kg/ definitely after child has a strong and consistent head and neck control) it is probably best to shift to back carrying your child. Although you may still be able to wear your baby on the front, going for long walks might cause back pain, and back carrying might be a better option. Always be sure not to over tighten the carrier, your baby should feel snug, but should still be able to move.

Back Carrying

Back Carrying

If using your baby carrier causes back pain this does not necessarily mean that you need to stop baby wearing altogether.  Experienced baby wearers can help you adjust the straps for a better fit. If the back pain persists do refer to your physiotherapist for further back assessment and possible pelvic stability training.

TimeTable

Plantar Fascitis

The Plantar Fascia

The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous band of connective tissue located on the bottom of the foot. The plantar fascia attaches to the heel bone and extends along the sole of the foot towards the five toes. Its function is to help maintain the arch of the foot, and it acts as a powerful spring with a fundamental role in shock absorption and forward propulsion.

What is Plantar Fascitis?

Plantar fascitis may develop due to over stretching of the fibrous tissue (fascia) that connects the heel to the forefoot, resulting in small tears in the plantar fascia. This develops gradually and commonly starts as a dull, intermittent pain in the heel or arch of the foot (fig.1). The pain is worse early in the morning and tends to ease up once you move around a bit. When untreated, plantar fascitis can progress to a sharp or stabbing pain. It may hurt when climbing stairs or after standing for long periods of time.

Fig.1 Plantar Fascitis

Fig.1 Plantar Fascitis

 

Causes of Plantar Fascitis

A few conditions that may lead to plantar fascitis include:

-biomechanical factors, such as abnormal inward rolling of the foot (pronation); high arches, tight calf muscles, weak foot muscles, inappropriate footwear.

-repetitive strain (such as running on hard surfaces)

-being overweight

-natural process of ageing

Managing Plantar Fascitis

The best results occur with the combination of deep tissue massage; Exercise therapy; Stretching and orthotics/ appropriate footwear.

First, try resting (stopping or reducing activities causing pain) and ice your heel (fig.2 ). These measures help in reducing inflammation and pain in the heel.

Self massage techniques include ice massage and spikey ball massage.

Fig.2 Ice Massage

Fig.2 Ice Massage

 

Fig.3 Spikey Ball massage

Fig.3 Spikey Ball massage

It is always best to seek advice from your Physiotherapist to rehabilitate plantar fascitis and prevent recurrence.. You might need a detailed foot assessment and dynamic biomechanical correction. A physiotherapist may recommend that you seek the advice of a podiatrist, who may prescribe passive foot devices such as orthotics.

Exercise at 50 and beyond!

While it’s never too late to start exercising, the earlier you begin and the more consistent you are, the greater your long-term rewards. Having an active lifestyle is really an investment in your well-being, both physically and mentally.

Ours bodies were designed for movement, and having to sit down for hours on end is effecting our body both mentally and physiologically.  We are meant to rest from time to time, but rest is supposed to break up the activity not be our way of life.

 

Physical health benefits of exercise

Exercise helps control weight. Exercise helps increase metabolism and builds muscle mass, therefore burns calories.

Exercise reduces chronic diseases. Among the many benefits of exercise for adults over 50, boosting the immune system is one of them. Exercise also lowers blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar levels whilst also increasing bone density, and improving our digestive function.

Exercise enhances flexibility, coordination and balance. Exercise improves your strength, flexibility and posture, which in turn will help with balance, coordination, and therefore reducing the risk of falls as we age. Strength training also helps alleviate the symptoms of joint degeneration (arthritis).

Mental health benefits of exercise and fitness

Exercise improves your sleep. Regular physical activity helps you fall asleep more quickly and sleep more deeply.

Exercise boosts your mood. Exercise is a huge stress reliever and the endorphins produced can actually help reduce feelings of sadness, depression, or anxiety. Being active and feeling strong naturally helps you feel more self-confident.

Exercise improves cognitive function. Exercise benefits brain functions and can help prevent memory loss, cognitive decline, and dementia.

 

Types of exercise

Walking -This is a perfect way of introducing your body to exercise. You can start with 20 minutes three times a week and build it gradually. If you have a fitness tracker, your target should be that of 7000 – 10,000 steps a day.

Fitness classes- these are fun and keep you motivated, as well as act as a social meeting.

Swimming /water aerobics- Ideal for those with Degenerative conditions (such as arthritis), as the buoyancy of water reduces strain on the joints.

Yoga- combines breathing with a series of poses. As you move through the poses you are working on flexibility, balance, strength and relaxation.

Pilates-combines a series of routines to retrain the core, whilst increasing strength, flexibility, body awareness and improving posture.

Exercising safely

Committing to a routine of physical activity is one of the healthiest decisions you can make. Before you get moving, though, consider your safety.

Get medical clearance before starting an exercise program, especially if you have a pre-existing condition.

Start slow. If you haven’t been active in a while build up your exercise program little by little. Prevent injury by warming up, cooling down, and keeping hydrated.

Commit to an exercise schedule for at least 3 or 4 weeks so that it becomes habit.

Stop exercising if you feel dizzy or short of breath, develop chest pain or pressure, break out in a cold sweat, or experience pain. Seek advice if you experience pain or injury.

Drink during and after your exercise programme.

One last tip 🙂 … choose an activity that you like. You are more likely to stay committed if you choose something that you enjoy!

Autumn Timetable

pilates

Pilates Q&A

Will Pilates help with weight loss?

The bottom line to weight loss is that you must consume fewer calories than you burn no matter how much exercise you do. There are no studies to prove that Pilates contributes to weight loss. Pilates is resistance exercise, not aerobic (cardio), although the heart rate will certainly rise for a deconditioned individual, it is not enough to bring about weight loss.  Pilates is a body conditioning routine, which helps increase  flexibility, balance, coordination, and muscle strength whilst improving posture and increasing body awareness.

What is Pilates mat work?

Pilates mat work is a series of exercises that are done on the floor. Mat work is a challenging workout in its own right focusing on flow of movement whilst engaging core muscles. Intensity (varying levels) may be increased as the body conditions and adapts to the exercises.

What should I wear to a pilates class?

Wear clothes that you are comfortable in; exercises are performed barefoot / wearing socks. Pull your hair back with a soft rubber band. Plastic hair clips will hurt when lying down on the mat face up.

What credentials should I look for in an instructor?

There is no local board certifying Pilates instructors, and so instructors can have a variety of experience and training. Instructors should be able to

  • accurately assess a client’s posture and movement patterns
  • understand what the client is doing in a session
  • have the ability to build an appropriate, client-specific program
  • pace the workout for an effective movement experience

.

A Physiotherapist who also practices pilates would be an ideal instructor however there are training bodies abroad that offer intensive training courses and practical experience. It is your responsibility to ask about an instructor’s credentials.

Pilates For Two

When you’re a new mum, trying to squeeze in a shower between feeds and nappy changes can seem daunting — never mind trying to fit in a trip to the gym, or to an exercise class. Thanks to PILATES FOR TWO, mums don’t have to part from their little ones for a moment to get their body back. Pilates is a safe, effective and progressive set of exercises that retrains muscles that have been strained during pregnancy.

Pilates for Two

Pilates for Two

Benefits for Mum:

Rehabilitation of pelvic floor, abdominal and back muscles

It provides an avenue for the body to regain strength

Stretches the upper body to alleviate tension build up

Retrains muscles to recover from extensive changes experienced during pregnancy

Helps with Rectus diastasis (abdominal separation) recovery.

 

Benefits for baby:

Helps them stimulate their physiological development with movement and rhythm

Gives them a chance to interact with other babies

More bonding time with mum

Calm but stimulating environment helps them sleep better

 

Babies rule, so anytime during the session you can attend to your baby for any feeding, nappy changing or settling needs. This class is suitable for mothers with babies that are not yet crawling.

Classes are held on:

Thursday at 4.30pm 

Friday at 10am

 

 

 

 

Let’s get moving, Mummy!

A woman’s body is greatly challenged during pregnancy and beyond that into labour. Even once the baby has been safely delivered, your body will be rapidly readjusting itself: the uterus decreases in size and relocates itself within the pelvis, and your body adapts to hormone changes. A gentle exercise program that can be built up gradually is a must to assist your body to confront these new challenges.  Pilates is the perfect postpartum workout, to re-train the pelvic floor and abdominal (tummy) muscles .

What are the benefits of doing Pilates after pregnancy?

  • Rehabilitation of pelvic floor, abdominal and spinal muscles
  • Stretches the upper body to alleviate tension build up
  • Strengthens the upper body to help with breast feeding and lifting
  • Retrains muscles to recover from extensive changes experienced during pregnancy
  • Prepares the body for aerobic or more high impact exercise
  • Helps with Rectus diastasis (abdominal separation) recovery.
  • Helps build self-confidence
  • Provides an outlet and social activity for new mums
Pilates Abdominal Workout

Pilates Abdominal Workout

The do’s and don’ts of postnatal Pilates

  Do

  • Take things slowly and gradually  build up your work out
  • Wait  6 weeks before attending your first class (8 weeks after a C-section)
  • Be persistent as your body will feel very different from your pre-pregnancy days
  • Enjoy the freedom and ease that your body is now able to feel.

  Don’t

  • Exercise yourself into exhaustion
  • Carry out any forward flexion exercises (crunches) if abdominal separation is present
  • Over-stretch as relaxin will be present throughout the whole breastfeeding phase.

Any postnatal Pilates program should be designed to suit the individual. Every woman has a different and unique experience of pregnancy, birth and how she feels thereafter. Done under qualified instruction, pilates will help women who may have experienced birth complications recover more quickly. If you have any postnatal complications such as perineal tears or incontinence make sure to contact a Women’s Health Physiotherapist for advice or treatment.

Exercise: Preventing Childhood Obesity

Children and youth are more sedentary than ever with the widespread availability of television, computers, and video games, and it’s clear that this decline in physical activity is a key contributor to the global obesity epidemic, and in turn, to rising rates of chronic disease everywhere.

 ‘Maltese 10- and 11- year- olds are the second fattest on earth’… ‘ More than 34 per cent of Maltese children were classified as overweight or obese’ (Times of Malta,  August 19, 2013) .

 Features-SMH

Although nutritional issues have a significant role to play in obesity, physical inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle are associated with being overweight in children and adults. Thus it is imperative to consider exercise and physical activity as a means to prevent and combat the childhood obesity epidemic. Given the challenges of reversing existing obesity in the paediatric population, preventive tactics are likely to be the key to success.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that, being overweight is so common in Europe that it risks becoming ”the new norm”, with around a third of teenagers now heavier than is recommended for their health (Times of Malta, February 24, 2014).

 

The scientific evidence available for the age group 5–17 years supports the overall conclusion that physical activity provides fundamental health benefits for children and youth. Appropriate levels of physical activity contribute to the development of:

 

• healthy musculoskeletal tissues (i.e. bones, muscles and joints);

• healthy cardiovascular system (i.e. heart and lungs);

• neuromuscular awareness (i.e. coordination and movement control); and

• It also facilitates maintenance of a healthy body weight.

 

Moreover, physical activity has been associated with psychological benefits in young people by: improving their control over symptoms of anxiety and depression; and assisting in social development by providing opportunities for self-expression, building self-confidence, social interaction and integration.

 

According to the WHO (2011), in order to improve cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, bone health, and cardiovascular and metabolic health biomarkers:

obese PE

  1. Children and youth aged 5–17 should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
  2. Amounts of physical activity greater than 60 minutes provide additional health benefits.
  3. Most of the daily physical activity should be aerobic. Vigorous-intensity activities should be incorporated, including those that strengthen muscle and bone*, at least 3 times per week.

*For this age group, bone-loading activities can be performed as part of playing games, running, turning or jumping.

 

The concept of accumulation refers to meeting the goal of 60 minutes per day by performing activities in multiple shorter bouts spread throughout the day (e.g. 2 bouts of 30 minutes), then adding together the time spent during each of these bouts.

 

Recommended Physical Activity:

 

Ages 4-6 yrs

Appropriate activities might include running, swimming, tumbling, gymnastics, throwing, and catching. As applies to all age groups, limit screen time to <2 hours per day.

Ages 6-9yrs

In this age group, children improve their motor skills, visual tracking, and balance. Parents should continue to encourage free play involving more sophisticated movement patterns with emphasis on fundamental skill acquisition. These children should be encouraged to walk, dance, or jump rope.

Organized sports (soccer, baseball) may be initiated, but they should have flexible rules and short instruction time, since these children have a limited ability to learn team strategy.

Ages 10–12 Years

Since visual tracking, balance, and motor skills are fully developed, participation in complex sports (football, basketball, hockey, tennis) is more feasible.

 Adolescents

Adolescents are highly social and influenced by their peers. Identifying activities that are of interest to the adolescent, especially those that are fun and include friends, is crucial for long-term participation. Physical activities may include personal fitness preferences (eg, dance, yoga, running), active transportation (walking, cycling), competitive and non-competitive sports. Ideally, enrollment in competitive contact and collision sports should be based on size and ability instead of chronologic age.

 

 

For further information see: http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/pa/en/index.html

 

 

 

The guiding principles

In order to practice Pilates effectively, you need to grasp the basic philosophy behind the method. Joseph Pilates taught that one of the main results of his method was gaining complete control over your body. He drew inspiration from the martial arts- slow, controlled, flowing movements performed with thoughtful awareness. Over the years, different schools of Pilates have attributed a variety of principles to the method. While these may vary in number and name, they are in essence, the same.

8 principles that underpin our approach to the teaching and practice of Pilates:

1. Concentration

Thoughtful awareness of your whole body while you are  performing the movements is key.

2. Relaxation

Focusing on releasing areas of tension within the body before and during each exercise is improtant as it allows constructive change to occur.

3. Alignment (precision of movement)

Correct alignment at the start and throughout the movement is absolutely essential.

4. Breathing

Learning how to breathe more efficiently within movement helps both the mind and body to relax, recharge and focus.

5. Centring

Pilates focuses on maintaining support and control of the body as movement takes place. It does so by encouraging the recruitment of deep core muscles that help to control and stabilise movement.

6. Coordination

Each movement in a Pilates exercise should be performed purposefully with control, focusing on the quality and detail of each movement.

7. Flowing Movements

Pilates movements are controlled, graceful and flowing lengthening outwards from a strong centre. The end result is longer, leaner muscles that are stronger through their entire range.

8. Muscular Endurance

As you master each exercise you will be learning a new movement skill. When ready you can then add more challenging exercises to your programme, thus building muscular endurance.

 

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