Having a baby is tough on your body! I know because I have been there. To help you get back to a strong space and hiking well, here are five tips to support you with postpartum recovery so you can reclaim your core as you get out there and hit the trails with your little one. Taking the time within the first few months postpartum to create a stable, aligned foundation will pay off in the end. After all, you have miles to go…
Diastasis recti: Are your abdominal muscles separated? This is very common postpartum as 2/3 of women do experience abdominal separation postpartum. This can be caused by a big baby, how you carried your baby during pregnancy, how much space you have in your torso and overall alignment (ie: sitting at a desk 8 hours per day)of. Abdominal separation can cause low back pain, pelvic instability and make you still look pregnant months after you deliver. You can use this video here for a self check: http://mamalates.com/pages/videos
This supports the abdominals, low back and reminds you to lift ribs off of pelvis. Wear a binder, use a moby wrap- something to draw the abdominals in towards your spine and manually support your core. Resist the urge to collapse and “wrinkle your shirt”- especially as your baby packs on the pounds!
Breath and movement: link the 2. In general, EXHALE ON EXERTION. Your ribs should move laterally as you breathe and you should make sure to engage your abdominals 100% with your exhale while maintaining a 50% engagement during inhale.
Stay Aligned: Try to keep your ribs stacked over your pelvis at all times. Maybe you need to stand/ hike with your weight shifted further back on your heels or slide your ribs down and back. The goal is to use your abdominals to load your pelvis properly and to keep your shoulders
away from your ears.
Hike and Hinge: Use poles! Especially if your abdominals are separated, you are going to want to hinge as you hike (and wrap or bind those abdominals.) It is easier on your back, you are less likely to “bulge” your rectus (6-pack muscles) out making it harder to close the separation and it is easier to stay lifted through the waist. Also, if done properly, you can actually strengthen your transverses (deep core muscle) as you hike!
Wendy Foster is the creator of the mamalates birth recovery method, has been teaching restorative fitness for over 15 years and is a pre/ post Pilates specialist. As an avid outdoor person she has hiked all over the Western US, Canada, South America, Europe and Asia. She can be found at www.mamalates.com