This summer I had the wonderful opportunity to write an article in Navigating New Parenthood, a mini-guide with tips for during pregnancy to delivery to after the birth. It was a collaboration led by Jenna Christina, a fabulous documentary photographer whose tagline ("real is more interesting than perfect!") I love. My article is far from perfect and provides only a glimpse into how Pilates can help postpartum healing, rebuilding strength and improving mobility and flexibility - the kind that parents need to be functional and active with their growing children.
Jenna had the foresight to put together a marketing schedule where each collaborator takes a turn to share and promote the mini-guide. I have not written in this blog in a long time and it was the perfect time to "pick up the pen" (so to speak) again and share my experience. Upon finding out what I do now, people sometimes assume I work out all the time. The truth, and the irony, is I seldom get an hour to work out like I help my clients do in their sessions. I actually hate working out and have never been a gym person. When I came across Pilates many years ago (before studios popped up), something clicked for me, and I have been hooked ever since. Understanding the mechanics of my body, learning to be mindful of alignment during movement and static postures (i.e., sitting, standing), Pilates keeps my mind moving as well as my body during my practice - it's almost a form of moving meditation for me.
After I had my second child, I became more diligent with my own Pilates practice and went on to pursue training and certification to teach and share my personal work-in-progress with others (mostly mothers with young children just like me). One of the personal tips I share with my clients is "work it in". There are not enough hours in a day for everything I want to do and adding "workout" as another item on my to-do list was just not palatable. My kids were really young at the time of my training and I wanted to be with them all the time. I started weaving mini-workouts, some as short as 5 minutes, throughout my day, every day. This "work it in" approach made all the difference and reduced any stress I felt about getting, or not getting, as the case was, a workout in regularly. It also allowed me to model healthy movement habits for my kids while having lots of play time with them. Fast forward 4 years - now it's a habit to get some form of movement in whenever I can. It might mean a few core strengthening moves while my kids are playing - as Jenna so beautifully captured here during our quick session to get images for my article.
It could also be a few push-ups, chin-ups, hip lifts, single leg squats using whatever is available at the playground while my kids play and get outside. I can see in their eyes that it's cool to see Mom get across the monkey bars (even if it's only once). Sometimes, if the day completely gets away from me, I do a short routine targeting abs, back, and glutes (on all planes of motion) while I hang out in my kids' room as they slowly enter dreamland at night. I am stronger than I've ever been. I do this so I can play 2-square with my 3rd-grader and continue to pick-up and hold my 5 year old when he needs me to. :-)
So if you don't have time to schedule in a work out, try work it in ... check out my 5-minutes videos to get started!