Mums and Posture! Could your posture be causing you long term health problems?

Mums and postureAre you a new Mum?

Do you have back aches and pains, do you feel stiff with sore muscles and achy joints?

I have been though this and I have the solution!

I can help you reduce your aches and pains, improve your tummy tone, make you feel more confident, give you a stronger pelvic floor (so no accidents), better back strength and the right exercises for you !

Do you know one of the key factors is a better posture !!!

Why new mums need to correct their posture?

There’s no doubt that pregnant mums and mums with young babies carry heavy things from a baby, toddler to bags and car seats !

As we tend to our daily activities, posture is the last thing on our minds. Unfortunately, this can often lead to regular tasks – such as housework and social interaction – being performed in ways that are detrimental to our health and posture. Lifting badly is a common cause of back pain (remember to bend your knees and pull the item close to you).

While postural issues don’t always manifest themselves in a manner that allow us to easily recognise we have them, back pain can be a clear sign that you may need to have your posture assessed. We balance our baby on our hip, the phone against the ear, so no wonder our lower back and neck hurt!

Did you know approximately 70% of women will, at some time in their lives, report low back pain. And during pregnancy, while 50–80% of women have reported back pain, one-third of pregnant women claim this low back pain is a significant problem.

Common Posture Problems

Uneven hips
Activities such as twisting to lift children out of cars, and carrying of babies or young children on the hips, can cause your hips and shoulders to become uneven.

Forward Head Posture
As a woman’s body adapts to her changing weight and shape during pregnancy, the spine and pelvis realign to serve as a counter-balance, One of the issues that can arise from this is Forward Head Posture (FHP).

Dowager’s Hump (or increased kyphosis)
Dowager’s hump (or increased kyphosis) is another postural issue that can occur during pregnancy. It is a condition that increases the natural curve of the upper back.

Pelvis Forward
The increased weight from carrying a child can pull your pelvis forward, increasing the curve to your lower back (or increased lordosis).

In severe cases, long term bad posture can lead to Scoliosis, a condition that results in the spine twisting from left to right, instead of running in a straight line from top to bottom. Depending on the severity, scoliosis of the spine can have a detrimental impact on vital organs, such as your heart, liver and kidneys.

Correcting Posture

The good news is that postural issues can be corrected, and even, in some instances reversed.

A good pilates teacher, osteopath, chiropractor, Physio can assess your posture or send me a photo and I can give you specific exercises – hannah@farnhampilates.com

At Farnham Pilates we give exercises and stretches that, when done regularly, will help to strengthen your muscles and maintain improved posture. Farnham Pilates is an online resource for pilates videos, tips and information to help busy mums solve these common, painful problems.

You can Take Action

1. Assess your own posture in a mirror.

2. Make an appointment to see me – I can recommend daily exercises to improve and maintain your back and core strength.

3. Start a routine of gentle exercise – Pilates, yoga, walking – see link here for Farnham Pilates classes.

3. Commit 3 minutes a day to improving your posture-

My philosophy is to keep moving, stretch do exercises within your limits and find something you enjoy.

Just 3 minutes a day dedicated to exercises to improve your posture can make a tremendous impact on your long term health. People who regularly stretch and maintain a good range of motion are less likely to suffer the negative effects of immobility.

4. Look at your diet and nutrition – Reduce sugar it reduces inflammation that can cause the pain!!

Maintaining a healthy spine, can help you maintain a healthier life.

If you are not local to me or find it hard to commit to a regular exercise session why not take a look at my Yummy tummy Programme.  This programme gives you bite sized exercises which you can do anywhere.  It is a 6 week programme which will help create a flat strong tummy, strong core muscles, and strong pelvic floor which will help solve many of the issues mentioned above.  You get weekly emails and a Facebook support group to join so that you are given the best chance of succeeding  over the 6 weeks.  Click here to find out more or you can sign up below.

Yummy Tummy Programme

Are you scared of exercise? We can help!

scared of exerciseWith Halloween just round the corner again I want to use this scary time of year to motivate people to face some of the biggest fears they have about working out.

 

Gym-phobia is a stumbling block for a lot of people who want to start exercising more regularly but feel really anxious about working out, but I have some tips to anyone who wants to get over their fears of fitness and face their demons head-on.

 

It may surprise some people but the biggest hurdle many face when trying to lose weight, tone up or just focus on their body is the fear of working out in front of people.

 

They feel that they will look silly in tight fitting sports gear or they’ll sweat too much or not know the correct way to do the exercises. It can cause really high levels of anxiety so they avoid working out altogether.

 

Hopefully if you’re thinking of joining a class nearby you don’t think all fitness professionals are scary and we really do just want to help you, so don’t be afraid to ask.

 

I have a variety of options from private one to ones in our specialised Pilates studio, small group classes to larger mat classes at Rowledge Village Hall and soon, Weydon school, Farnham. I run a personal service designing your workout for you and your bodies needs – whether that be private or in a friendly group.

 

Some more advice if you are worried –

 

Try getting a friend to come with you to one of the classes. Working out with someone you know can help you feel more comfortable and the moral support you can give each other can be invaluable

Check for beginners classes or explain that you are new and have no experience and need a few pointers

Wear workout clothes you are comfortable in. You don’t have to have all the latest gear to exercise. If you work out properly it’ll be covered in sweat anyway, don’t feel you need skin tight Lycra just a normal loose fitting t-shirt and leggings will work just as well.

Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone struggles in the beginning and you may not know the moves or the right techniques but you’re not alone

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You may think a reformer or hand weight is something you’d find in the kitchen but try not to get overwhelmed. Gyms can be daunting at first but we all start somewhere, if you stick at it you’ll feel more at home the longer you are there.

Please use these tips from me to push through your fears you face head-on. You never know you may just end up surprising yourself. For full details of the classes we offer in and around Farnham click here.

National Work Life week – how’s your balance?

National Work Life weekIt is National Work-Life Week starting on Monday 21st September with the aim of highlighting the importance of maintaining a healthy work/life balance. Having a lifestyle mix of work, family and health is an important challenge many of us face today with studies showing that those working 55 hours a week or more have a 35% increased risk of suffering a stroke than those who work 40 hours or less.

Maintaining work and a healthy lifestyle is one of the most challenging aspects my clients face and I even struggle at times especially on children’s holidays. Finding the right balance between family, work and looking after yourself can be very stressful and it’s often difficult to get the mix right. We can end up sacrificing our own wellbeing to work or spending time with the family but in the end if we aren’t looking after our health then everything suffers.

Regular exercise boosts energy levels make you feel more alert and happier. It can really make a huge amount of difference in how you perform at work and helps clear your mind and put everything else in perspective.

Here are five easy tips on how you can make improvements in your work-life balance.

• Work out or walk with your partner and friends.
• If you have young children taking it in turns in the evenings to run or go to classes helps encourage each other.
• Do try and get 10 minutes of exercise done first thing even before children are up, then it’s out the way and you will feel so proud of yourself!
• Exercise with the children encourage them to go exercise i.e a bike ride or log onto you-tube, or buy an online programme like the Yummy Tummy 6 week programme for mums.
• Take up Pilates classes. New classes started in September all around Farnham but the Farnham Pilates new studio has small group reformer classes and an open trial day 24th and 25th September.  For details of our classes click here

This weekend I am speaking at the WIFE conference in Guildford (Wome in Fitness Empowerment) all about youtime and how you can obtain a  better balance. If you would like to join us and see other inspirational speakers such as Anna Kennedy OBE who took part in The People’s Strictly the you can find out more here.

And for more info on National Work Life Week have a look at their website here

 

My favourite summer smoothies

Summer Smoothie Recipes

We’ve been enjoying some fabulous weather over the last few weeks and the warm weather can be a great time to look at your diet and fitness regime.  Smoothies can be a great way to up your nutritional intake which is very important if you are undertaking more exercise than usual.  They are also a great addition to a Summer detox. Here are a couple of my favourite Summer Smoothie recipes taken from Juice Tonic one of Soho’s hippest juice bars.

BODY FUEL JUICE

GOOD FOR –  This is an ‘Immune-system booster and a performance enchancer.’ It will help you to avoid a summer cold and generally help keep your immune system in tip top condition.

INGREDIENTS
Half a medium Beetroot
3 Medium Carrots
3 Oranges
1/2 Tsp. Acerola Cherry fruit powder

PERFECT SNACK JUICE

GOOD FOR –  This is a great one to have after a workout on a hot day.

INGREDIENTS
2 Pears
1 Large section of Pineapple
1Tsp. Chia Seeds
100ml fresh Coconut water

ENERGY BOOSTER JUICE

GOOD FOR – This smoothie helps the metabolism, balances your mood and gives you an energy boost.  Perfect for busy mums at this time of year as the kids start the long summer holidays.

INGREDIENTS
5 med Carrots
3 med Apples
1 inch of Ginger
1Tbsp. Lemon juice
1/2 Tsp. Maca

Not only do these recipes do you good, they taste fabulous too so enjoy!

For those of you looking to get a Yummy Tummy this summer do take a look at our Yummy Tummy Pilates programme which includes a 14 day detox to kickstart better eating habits.

 

Summer Detox – Getting the balance right

Summer DetoxA summer detox can be a great way to refresh your body ahead of a summer holiday or to help shift that last bit of weight if you have been following a fitness regime.  On my Yummy Tummy Programme we finish with a 14 day diet detox to help cleanse the body and reset some of our not so good eating habits.

However going straight into a detox can be a shock to the system, causing withdrawal symptoms such as headaches.  It can also fail if you don’t get the timing right.  In this blog I share some advice as to how you can make your detox successful by just putting in some preparation to get the balance right

1) Cut down before starting – If you start cutting back on caffeine and alcohol at least a few days before starting a detox then it won’t be such a shock to the body when you actually start properly.  Withdrawal effects such as headaches and irritability can be so severe if you just go “cold turkey” that many people will feel like stopping their detox before they have even really got started.  A little preparation beforehand can really help lessen these effects and lead to success. Increasing your water intake before hand will also get you used to drinking the amount of water needed on the detox.

2) Ensure you are in the right place mentally – If you are in a stressful place i.e. with work or family commitments then this may not be the best time to start a detox. So try and clear your mind a bit before getting started by perhaps making time to meditate or have a massage and choose a period of time where you can make some time for yourself to relax and do things that you enjoy.  This will make the detox process more manageable and enjoyable.

3) Are your hormones right? – If you are really effected by your hormones at certain times of the month then try and avoid these times to start a detox.

4) Clear your cupboards – get rid of the temptation of high fat or sugary snacks and make sure you have plenty of veg on hand and healthy snacks such as oatcakes and nuts.  If the temptation isn’t there you can’t be tempted, so don’t make things harder for yourself.

5) Get the family involved – I’m not suggesting that your children or anyone else should go on a detox but by talking to them about healthy eating and why you are cutting down on certain foods it can certainly help educate those around you.

6) Get support – if you can find others who are doing the same detox this can be a great help in succeeding.  With our Yummy Tummy programme we have a private Facebook group where we all support and encourage each other which can be really effective in seeing a detox through.

Do comment below if you have any questions about detoxing or have a look at our Yummy Tummy programme for more details.

 

3 fitness tips to lose weight and achieve a flatter happier tummy!

3 fitness tips to lose weight and achieve a flatter happier tummy! 

fitness tips to lose weight

There is so much advice out there as to how you can lose weight and get a “bikini body” that it can be hard to know what to believe.  This blog cuts through a lot of the conflicting advice to make getting your Yummy Tummy a lot more straightforward with just 3 easy tips.

Myth: You Need A Long Workout

Truth: Your body starts burning fat as soon as you start exercising. If you can’t exercise for the 30 minutes a day recommended for adults, a shorter, intense workout is better than no workout. Too much intense working out will wear you out, so start small and work your way up.

Tips: On those busy days, fit in a little exercise when you can.

  • Do jumping jacks for 2 minute intervals while studying.
  • Stretch while you read or study.
  • Challenge yourself to do 200 crunches and squats before you go to bed or right when you wake up.
  • Don’t make excuses not to do a little exercise! You can do it.
  • Aim for 2 strength-training workouts and 2-3 cardio workouts every week.

Myth: Snacking is always bad

Truth: Snacking really isn’t the problem. Actually, most nutritionists will recommend you eat 4-5 smaller meals each day instead of three big meals. The real culprit is what you choose as a snack, and how big your snack is. Another myth buster: snacking will not boost metabolism. Remember, when you’re snacking, you don’t eat to feel full, you’re eating to feel satisfied and to hold you over until you have a meal.

Tips:

  • Don’t eat from the bag of chips/pretzels/cereal/ etc.
  • Choose something fresh, like fruits and veggies.
  • Personal favourite: baby carrots and reduced-fat peanut butter. Weird, but awesome.
  • Use the hand rule: if you can’t hold it all in your hand, it is probably too big of a snack. Drink water with your snack.

Myth: Drinking water helps you lose weight.

Truth: Substituting  high-caloric and high-sugar drinks for water is better for you and will reduce the amount of added sugars in your diet, but the idea that drinking water helps you lose weight has no scientific basis. You might want to carry water with you and drink throughout the day, but water cannot replace food in your diet because you need those essential nutrients to function. Replacing food with water can make you feel worn-down, faint, and unenergetic because of those nutrients you’re lacking.

These 3 simple tips are definitely achievable in even the busiest of lives but if you feel you need a little help to get started or need ideas of manageable chunks of exercise to do every day, have a look at our Yummy Tummy Programme.  Designed for Mums of all ages with busy lives it can get you started on the way to your own Yummy Tummy in just 6 weeks.

Hannah’s top reasons to do Pilates

Pilates has really worked for me which is why I became a teacher. The first time I needed to do Pilates was after a car accident, and then throughout both of my pregnancies. Today, if I ever feel out of alignment or in pain, Pilates is the only answer – I can do it in five minutes and I know I’ll feel better. I believe it’s about a balanced, happy body and mind.

Joseph Pilates designed this revolutionary system of exercise in the 1950s and he is still very much respected and referred to today.
“Pilates is the complete coordination of body, mind and spirit” Joseph Pilates

Hannahs Top Reasons to do Pilates

1. The most important thing Pilates does is support your core, strengthen abdominals, back and pelvic floor. This is important for spinal stability. We don’t guarantee a flat tummy but you’ll certainly get a smaller waist- however we will focus on that next week and how you can improve your tummy with “Hannah’s 7 steps to a summer yummy tummy and her favourite abdominal exercises

2. Your balance will improve – try and balance on one leg – if you wobble you need to do Pilates!

3. Your body will have a better posture and proper alignment which improves your self esteem. Look in the mirror – You will look and walk better as more straight and confident with 2 inches taller!

4. Pilates keeps you fit and toned as you age. As our body and hormones change through the seasons of our life. So its right for all stages i.e. post-natal recovery; amazing 40s; sensational 50s; and sexy 60s plus# whether an athlete or recovering from an injury, the level can be adapted for you!

5. Pilates breathing will help you focus and relax the mind – it will improve your circulation, stimulate the spine and muscles. You will sleep better and learn to relax when stressed, as we run such busy lives. As you focus on the movement, the body and mind will work together more giving mind body awareness.

6. You may well look slimmer as the muscles lengthen and tone and it encourages better body circulation to aid weight loss.

top reasons to do pilates

Pilates can enhance your life in so many ways

7. You will improve your pelvic floor (which in turn leads to a better sex life!!). We rely on these muscles more than you think – they are our foundation like a tree’s roots. Your Pelvic floor is so important not just during and after pregnancy for women ALL their life. We need it strong to support our organs and prevent incontinence – if you have a slight leak when you cough of laugh you need to address this now – it means something is wrong . Your pelvic floor may be weak or Pilates will help you relax other muscles so it can get stronger.

8. You will improve the tone of your muscles (less wobbly bits!) as Pilates wont over develop some areas more than others and each movement lengthens the muscles, Pilates focuses on long lean muscles using eccentric contractions – lengthening not on the contraction like a bicep curl but the return phase i.e. lowering your leg.

9. Your joints will be more mobile and therefore help you feel better and prevent injury – not so stiff keeping fluid moving to prevent stiff joints and less pain which is relevant for all ages!

10. You will feel more flexible as Pilates stretches works on the stretch and increasing of the muscles and range of motion within joints. Clients say they feel so much better and their body feels lengthened and lighter after stretching the muscles and with more relaxed muscles tension in your neck, shoulders and lower back can relax and you’ll have less tightness and pain.

11. It is amazing pain relief as the exercises will isolate or focus on one or a few muscles at a time i.e. your bottom or one leg this will stop your dominate side taking over -as it may when you walk/ run or work. Your body will learn to isolate a muscle and therefore your body and muscles will be more balanced so no pain down one side if you over use it. Or as we get older people tend to lean, so working the weak side will stop this. So it is relevant for rehab after injury, also athletes and all ages – we adapt the exercise for different levels and give modifications so classes tailored to all.

12. Pilates will increase your energy and help you sleep well –and keep you pain free to do more of the things you enjoy like gardening, golf, running, skiing, cycling.

You will get addicted to Pilates plus any exercise you enjoy with make you happy, you will look forward to your session or class and you will stick to it. Pilates classes are fun and relaxing and you may make some friends that motivate you to want to do more!

Testimonial from a client “We started Hannah’s Pilates classes when we were training for the London to Paris Bike Ride to celebrate our 40th birthday and the classes saved us! They made an amazing difference to my body while training and helped relieve stiff limbs and a bad back as Hannah stretched us out and corrected our bike posture. The exercises and stretches were essential for our tired muscles during the challenge at the end of each day, and I’m sure a strong core contributed to us completing the ride with no injuries. We have continued the classes and I have found it is a huge difference to how my body feels and releases any tension after daily work and home stresses. Thanks Sophie Hardy Farnham.

For more info on our Yummy Tummy Programme click here