Easy Stretches for Busy Moms
Taking care of our little ones takes a huge toll on our bodies. When we carry, breastfeed (or bottle feed), lean over to gently put them down or many of the other things that we do throughout the day, one thing we often neglect is our posture. What then follows is chronic and persistent neck, shoulder and back pain. There is also the chance of having other serious issues. For example, if we aren’t careful with how we carry our babies, it’s common to develop De Quervain’s tendonitis which is a painful condition that affects the tendons in your wrist.
However, do not despair! Here are 4 simple stretches which you can do without any equipment of warming up, at any time of the day. You can even do them in your pyjamas! Just do 1 or 2 whenever you can find a spare minute.
To help with neck and shoulder pain:
1. Shoulder stretches using the door frame
Place your elbows on either side of the door frame at shoulder height. Bring one foot forward, and lean in, intentionally opening up your chest and squeezing your shoulder blades back. Hold for 10 seconds. You can do this while waiting for your little one to be done at the potty!
To help with lower back pain:
2. Rounding and arching of the upper back
Many people don't realise that tightness of the upper back is often the cause of lower back pain. When the upper back is stiff, the lower back has to work harder, and the strain leads to aches and pains. A healthy spine should be able to round, arch and stand tall, amongst other things. We often over-do the rounding of our backs (using a laptop or mobile phone, carrying a baby), but we hardly ever arch our backs in a normal day setting.
Look down and round the upper back. Hold for 5 seconds. Look up and bring your chest up to face the ceiling as much as possible. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat a few times.
3. Shoulder bridge
Lie down with your back on the floor, and place your feet under your knees. Lift your bottom off the floor, then your lower back, middle back and upper back. Draw your belly button to your spine and squeeze your bottom. Hold for 5-10 seconds, then slowly lower down starting from your upper back, one vertebra at a time.
To help strengthen your wrists and stretch your forearms:
4. Wrist stretches
A) Kneel down and place your palms down, fingers facing away from you. Spread open your fingers in this stretch and the ones below. Lean forward until you feel a stretch, and hold for 10 seconds.
B) This time, place your palms down but fingers facing you. Lean back until you feel a stretch, and hold for 10 seconds.
C) Lastly, place your palms up with fingers facing you. If you find this difficult, bring your hands closer to your knees. Lean back until you feel a stretch, and hold for 10 seconds.
I hope you will find these exercises helpful for your body!
This article was contributed by Christina Abraham, a mom of 2 and certified pilates instructor/owner of Pilates Kinetics. To find out more about how pilates can help your pre and post-natal body, you can contact Christina at firstname.lastname@example.org.