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Mobility Circuit

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Trainer Sydney Torabi takes you through five mobility exercises that you can use to stretch pre- or post-workout or incorporate on your rest day.

The post Mobility Circuit appeared first on Under Armour.

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Training Tips

Exercising After a C-Section

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After giving birth, many women wonder when they can get back to their exercise routine, but it can be particularly confusing for women who delivered via cesarean, or C-section.

“[A C-section] is a major abdominal surgery, and just like any other surgery, it takes time to heal,” says Blair Green, DPT, pelvic-health specialist and coauthor of Go Ahead, Stop and Pee: Running During Pregnancy and Postpartum. Typically, experts recommend waiting six weeks after surgery before restarting your exercise routine, but women who are recovering from a C-section may need to wait longer.

Not only does the incision itself need to heal before you can start exercising, but the core muscles — which are active in every movement we make — have to be retrained.

“If we cut through [our core muscles], they’re essentially ‘injured,’ and even though the injury was a surgery, they still need time to heal and retrain themselves,” Green says.

Here are some tips on when — and how — to exercise after a C-section. 

IMMEDIATELY AFTER SURGERY

  1. Protect your incision

“Initially, you want to protect your incision,” says Jennifer Joslyn, DPT, a physical therapist at Motion Minnesota who specializes in pelvic health. This means avoiding movements that could irritate the incision, like excessive twisting, bending, and lifting heavy objects. Ideally, you’ll avoid these types of movements for the first few weeks following surgery.

“Most women don’t feel well enough to even do much more than just household walking distances and taking care of the baby until about three weeks out,” says Elizabeth Chumanov, DPT, PhD, co-coordinator of the Active Moms Clinic at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Sports Rehabilitation Clinic.

  1. Practice diaphragmatic breathing

While you may not be able — or necessarily want — to exercise while you recover, there are small things you can do during those six weeks to help you begin restoring core strength and function. “One thing I always recommend is deep diaphragmatic breathing,” Green says.

Your diaphragm is a dome-shaped sheet of muscle that separates your chest and abdominal cavities, and acts as the primary muscle of respiration. It actually works with your abdominal and pelvic-floor muscles — a group of muscles on the bottom of your pelvis that support your pelvic organs and help with posture. This means that simply activating the diaphragm can help restore the function of your entire core.

But also that deep breathing helps you heal, because it transports blood and oxygen to your tissues,” Green says.

To do it, lie on your back, place both hands on your rib cage, and take 10 to 20 deep breaths. As you inhale, you should feel air coming into your ribs and abdomen. “And then, when you breathe out, you should feel your ribs funneling down and in, and your abdomen should drop,” Green says.

In an ideal world, you would practice deep breathing three or four times a day. That said, many new moms are simply trying to adjust to their new routine, and may struggle with adding anything else to their plate. So, Green recommends focusing on deep breathing for five minutes at the start and/or end of your day.

  1. Don’t overdo it

Light walking is OK, too, as long as there’s no pain, Green says. But if you were on bedrest for any length of your pregnancy, you’ll want to take greater care with starting any kind of activity — light walking included. “I know a couple of women who were on bedrest for six months of their pregnancy, and in those situations, I would not recommend waking up two weeks after you had a baby and going for a walk,” Green says.

AFTER YOUR SIX-WEEK CHECKUP

  1. Start with basic strength exercises

Once your OB/GYN has cleared you for exercise, typically six weeks after giving birth, you can start incorporating basic strength exercises like squats, lunges, bird-dogs, and planks. In the early stages of rebuilding your fitness, avoid high-intensity and high-impact activities like heavy strength training, running, bootcamp-style and metabolic-conditioning circuits, and plyometrics. You want to make sure your core and pelvic floor are healed and strong enough to handle those types of dynamic movements.

  1. Ease into running, plyometrics, and heavy weightlifting

If you’re a runner, Green recommends giving yourself eight to 12 weeks to recover and retrain your abdominal muscles, and starting with a run-walk program. You can also do low-impact cardio exercise like biking, rowing, or the elliptical to rebuild your fitness before you jump into running again. And if you do plyometrics or heavy weightlifting, wait three to six months, Green says.

  1. Pay attention to how you feel

When you do exercise, listen to what your body is telling you. If you experience pain, heaviness, or pressure in the pelvic floor, doming or coning in your abdomen, urine or stool leakage, or any pain or irritation in your C-section scar, this could be a sign that the exercise should be modified, Joslyn says.

If your abdomen pushes out during an exercise (referred to as “coning” or “doming”), for example, chances are your abdominal muscles aren’t strong enough yet to handle that exercise. Or, it may mean that you need to breathe or activate your core in a different way.

  1. Reactivate your core muscles

“When you’re pregnant, your body has to make room for your baby, and your tissues and muscles are stretching and expanding,” Joslyn says, “and so once you have your baby, initially it may be hard to find those core muscles again and activate them.”

To help women relearn how to activate their core, Joslyn recommends an exercise that targets your deep core muscle — the transverse abdominis. Here’s how to do the move:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent 90 degrees and feet flat on the ground.
  • With your fingers, find your hips on both sides of the front of your pelvis. Then, move your fingers in 1 inch.
  • Inhale, keeping your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles relaxed.
  • Imagine there is a string in-between your hip bones. As you exhale, imagine that string pulling your hip bones together to engage your transverse abdominis.

Once you know how to reactivate your core muscles, you can better activate them during any other exercise.

  1. Try to be patient

Remember: Just because your doctor has cleared you for exercise doesn’t mean you’re mentally or physically ready, or that you can pick up where you left off before your pregnancy, experts say.

It’s important to adjust your exercises and timeline according to how you feel and steer clear of self-judgments that tell you that you “should” be healing or progressing differently. Some women feel great at their six-week OB/GYN appointment, whereas others feel weak and fatigued and may even be in pain.

“Everybody’s just a little bit different in terms of that [exercise] timeline,” Joslyn says.

Try not to rush into exercise, or chase the unrealistic goal of reaching your pre-baby shape as quickly as possible. Remember that your body went through a lot of changes during your pregnancy — and continues changing even after the baby is born. Rather than get hung up on ideas of reclaiming your pre-baby body or achieving an unrealistic post-baby body for you, practice the mindset of meeting your body exactly as it is each and every day.

“We need to respect the recovery time,” Green says, “and that often gets lost in the shuffle.”

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Stay Healthy And Active With These Fitness Tips

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Overall fitness isn't just about cardio. Although cardio is a major component of weight loss and heart health, it is important to incorporate strength training into your fitness regimen. Strength training builds muscle mass and helps you burn more calories post-workout. Follow these strength-training tips to amp up your workout and get a complete workout.

Alternative sports can offer people good fitness options for people, alongside the more regular forms of exercise. Free-running is a sport that emphasizes full body fitness. Climbing, running, and general agility are main requirements to free-run as you run, climb, and jump across many obstacles. Not only are they fun, but they unleash your inner child's desire to run and jump over railings, off the beaten path of adulthood.

Ankle and Knee Stability - Exercises To Build Lower Leg Strength
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If you want to reach your goals in terms of fitness, then you need to work backwards. You should pick a date of completion for your fitness goals and work backwards, listing off all the short-term goals in between. This way you look at your fitness goals as deadlines.

The best way to get children interested in fitness is to be a good example and by being involved with them as much as possible. Try taking an exercise class, playing tennis or hitting a baseball together. Not only will you both benefit from the increased activity, but it's a great way to maintain a close relationship.

To help you include exercise into a tight schedule, you should walk whenever possible. That could mean taking the stairs instead of the elevator at the office or parking at the back of a large lot to give you a brisk brief walk to the store. When it comes to working out, every little bit counts.

Add resistance training to your exercise plan. Resistance training helps build muscle. The more muscle you have in your body, the more quickly and efficiently you can burn calories. Resistance bands or light weights are good options for working out at home. You can also use your own body weight to provide resistance. Exercises, such as push-ups and squats, make your muscles bear the weight of your body and that builds strength.

After every workout, one thing you may want to do is take protein. This can be either in the form of a protein shake, a protein bar, or basically any meat product. This allows for your muscles to recover faster from your workout and overall make your muscles grow larger.

Decide to walk for 45 minutes a day instead of 30. Walking for 45 minutes has been scientifically proven by Duke University to result in fat and weight loss. This can equal up to 30 pounds of weight loss per year for just an added 15 minutes a day. For maximum weight loss, try walking up a hill instead of down.

Obviously, there are many options when it comes to working strength moves into your fitness routine. Keep doing your cardio, but additionally, choose any number of the tips mentioned to keep your muscles strong and prevent injury. Not only will you increase your calorie burn, but you'll have awesome muscle definition to boot.

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Learn About Different Strategies To Improve Your Fitness Level

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Overall fitness isn't just about cardio. Although cardio is a major component of weight loss and heart health, it is important to incorporate strength training into your fitness regimen. Strength training builds muscle mass and helps you burn more calories post-workout. Follow these strength-training tips to amp up your workout and get a complete workout.

If you're just starting out with exercise, start out slow. Don't jump in head first and try to run five miles without having exercised before. You can wind up injuring yourself and doing more harm than good. Instead start with a short walk and slowly increase the length and the speed. Before you know it you'll be running five miles without any problems.

When rock or wall climbing, a great tip is to purchase shoes that fit your feet so tight that you can stand, however, you can not walk comfortably. Wearing shoes this tight will: give you the best control; and will help you use your legs in the most efficient way. Using your legs is crucial when climbing.

A great tip for optimizing your fitness is to wear a heart rate monitor when you work. With a quality heart rate monitor you can track your heart beat to see if you are getting the best workout for your goals. Many can be worn as watches so they are not a bother to workout in.

Work your stabilizers out first! Generally weights like dumbbells can tire your muscle stabilizers out first. A good work out plan uses dumbbells, then barbells, and then machines, simply based on how much the mechanism requires you to stabilize. Good balance and form are necessary for proper work out results and muscle development.

Your fitness program should include regular workouts with quality exercises. The length of the workout is not so important as what you do while you are working out. You should start at twenty minutes and gradually work your way up to an hour. You don't want to be exhausted when you work out or you will not get as much benefit from the exercises.

When you go to a vegetarian restaurant do not think that you have free reign over all of the options they present. Many of the foods at these types of restaurants are just as high in calories and saturated fats. This means you need to stay on guard about what you order.

There are three aspects to fitness that need to work in tandem in order to provide you with a healthy lifestyle. Each of these should be worked on and they are mental health, diet and exercise regimen. If you only work on one or two of these you will never reach your goals.

Obviously, there are many options when it comes to working strength moves into your fitness routine. Keep doing your cardio, but additionally, choose any number of the tips mentioned to keep your muscles strong and prevent injury. Not only will you increase your calorie burn, but you'll have awesome muscle definition to boot.

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