Postnatal exercise isn’t all about losing weight and slipping back into your pre-pregnancy jeans. Exercise is the key to regaining muscle strength which is often weakened through pregnancy and childbirth as well as helping to build confidence and self-esteem. With the huge demands of being a mum, however, fatigue and limited time can make exercise difficult to contemplate.
One popular exercise option for new mums is Whole Body Vibration training with Power Plate. This workout promises to be the perfect postnatal solution as an entire session can be completed in as little as 20 minutes, leaving you feeling energised, not drained.
Madonna, Cheryl Cole and Elle Macpherson are just a few of the celebrities who have regularly used Power Plate as part of their exercise regimes. More recently, Frankie Bridge of The Saturday’s and Strictly Come Dancing told Women’s Health magazine that she used Power Plate as part of her personal training sessions after having her baby.
Jenny Burrell, one of the UK’s leading professional in the field of Pregnancy, Post Baby and Female Fitness, shares her top tips for getting the most out of your Power Plate postnatal exercise routine:
1. Tailored postnatal exercise is key to regaining the connection, strength and function in the pelvic floor, abdomen and back muscles, which are often weakened through pregnancy and childbirth. As with any postnatal exercise programme, make sure you visit your GP or health care provider to give you the all clear at your 6-8 week check. This will be longer for those who have had a caesarean and will be different for every woman.
2. To lose weight and tone up, you should be active at a level that makes you out of breath and speeds up your heart beat. This is aerobic or cardiovascular exercise and includes brisk walking and swimming. You should aim to do this four or five days a week for up to 30 minutes – but start small and build it up. Begin with three or four 10 minute walks or swims in the first week. Then add a couple of minutes to each session each week – so 12 minutes, then 14 and so on. Within 10 weeks, you’ll be up to 30 minute sessions!
3. Try whole body vibration training with Power Plate® at your local studio or gym. This is the perfect postnatal exercise solution to help new mums lose fat, build muscle, restore strength and improve wellbeing. The gentle vibrations of the Power Plate will increase blood flow to bring much needed oxygen and nutrients to your healing body without you having to jump around performing unsuitable exercise for your level of recovery.
4. Boost your ‘feel-good’ hormones – whole body vibration workouts typically last 10-30 minutes. This is the ideal amount of time to boost your serotonin level without increasing your stress hormones like cortisol which may still be high after birthing. High stress hormones can encourage fat storage around your tummy.
5. Banish ‘mummy tummy’ without performing sit-ups! Post birth, sit-ups aren’t your best choice as they can increase any diastasis (tummy gap) that you may have and put pressure on your still healing Pelvic Floor. Whole body vibration works by activating your core (tummy muscles and Pelvic Floor) both consciously and subconsciously so you can rebuild strength safely without creating the pressure associated with traditional sit-ups. In addition, utilising whole body vibration combined with appropriate and controlled movements will lead to a much greater sense of connection to your core enabling you to get back to feeling like your old self again sooner.
6. Reduce lower back pain – Power Plate stimulates the lower back and postural muscles to contract as the body stabilises itself on the vibrating platform and thus helps to strengthen the lower back muscles without loading or straining them. A great exercise for the lower back is resistance band deadlifts which will help your glutes and legs and fires the core to support and improve low back function and postural control.
7. Start gentle aerobic exercise. Aim for 10 minutes initially and gradually build up to 20 minutes over a number of weeks. Two to three Power Plate sessions a week would be ideal and progress should be made slowly based on how you feel day to day and other activities in which you participate. Once the 20 minute session feels manageable, increase the difficulty of the exercises as opposed to extending the total work out time.
8. Exercise with other mums to keep you motivated. A brisk buggy walk followed by a coffee is a sociable way to exercise. Or sign up for a joint Power Plate class with some friends at your local leisure centre: pop the babies into the crèche so you can focus on your workout and motivate each other to complete the exercises.
Visit powerplate.com to find a studio or gym near you.
Jenny Burrell is one of the UK’s leading-edge professionals in the field of modern Pregnancy, Post Baby, 3rd Age and Female- Centric Fitness and Bodywork Therapy. She is also the founder of Burrell Education the UK’s only REPs Endorsed Licensed Education Provider & CYQ Approved Fitness Education Provider dedicated solely to education for these very special populations.