By Rachael Novello at RachaelNovelloFitness
Anyone who has been pregnant knows how exhausting it can be. The changes your body goes through aren’t just something people can see on the outside, there are so many things happening inside as well. The pregnancy process can be brutal, but staying active during pregnancy is just as important for you as it is for your baby.
As a pre and postnatal exercise specialist and an ACE certified personal trainer who has children of my own, I know how challenging it can be. I encourage all of my clients to incorporate some sort of fitness routine throughout their pregnancy and beyond. During pregnancy, it’s incredibly important to do exercises which maintain good posture and alignment, strength and muscle mass, strengthen the core and the pelvic floor; as well as promote healthy weight gain and are not too taxing on the body.
During pregnancy the uterus stretches the muscles in the abdomen to accommodate a growing baby which can often result in Diastasis recti, or the partial or complete separation of the rectus abdominis, or “six-pack” muscles, which meet at the midline of your stomach. Diastasis recti is very common during and following pregnancy and StrongBoard can help the healing process by strengthening the core musculature in a very gentle way without the strains often caused by sit ups or crunches.
After giving birth, it’s normal to want to jump right back into an exercise routine, incorporating sprints, heavy lifting and core movements in a quick attempt to get back into pre-baby shape. Although these moves are very effective if you are conditioned for them, for many women six weeks just isn’t a long enough recovering time. While training a physiotherapist from Germany, I learned that most European doctors won’t clear a mother for exercise until 6 months after giving birth. This is quite a contrast from the US where women are often cleared after just 6 weeks. So listen to your body and ease into your routine. A few minutes each hour, using a tool like StrongBoard, is a great place to start.
I discovered StrongBoard Balance on Instagram just after I gave birth to my second child. As I began working my way back into a regular fitness program, I wanted to do so as safely as I possibly could while also embracing and supporting my new body. When I began researching the benefits of StrongBoard, I was blown away by the versatility it seemed to offer. However when my own board showed up on the doorstep, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t intimidated. Having used other balance products, this one stood apart from the others in so many ways, but mainly because it took me completely outside of my comfort zone. If you are feeling this way, reach out, or watch one of my “beginner” StrongBoard videos here on YouTube. You are not alone.
Five years later and we’re ready to welcome baby number 3 and this time I’m excited to have StrongBoard along for the entire journey! My first trimester was brutal, I was beyond exhausted, most days I didn’t even want to get out of bed; I was nauseous and just didn’t feel like myself. And for almost 12 weeks I embraced it. I allowed my body to rest and when I felt up to it I would find my way to my home gym and do some light weight training using StrongBoard Balance. I would simply stand on the board for bicep curls, shoulder presses and when I was up to it I would add squats, deadlifts and lunges. As I entered my second trimester it was like a switch flipped and I was raring to go. It can be easy to succumb to the effects of pregnancy but once you get into a regular routine and go at a safe pace, working out is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby!
StrongBoard Balance was a huge piece of my recovery after my daughter and is now an integral part of my training during this pregnancy. There are limitless exercises you can do on the board, I often tell my clients “anything you can do on the floor can be done on StrongBoard – within reason” I use it as a platform for almost all of my movements as its full responsive range of motion constantly challenges your proprioception, balance and targets both your pelvic muscles and your core which when it comes to postpartum recovery is incredibly important.
One of the most wonderful things about StrongBoard is that it truly grows with the user. Regardless of whether you are pregnant, postpartum or beyond, StrongBoard can be used for both simple exercises and expert level training. Simply adding more resistance to the board or changing the position of your feet (or hands) while on the board will drastically change how your body responds to the movement.
Adding StrongBoard to any workout during or after pregnancy will set you up for a lifetime of health benefits, not only in building and maintaining core and pelvic muscles, but improving internal equilibrium, body posture, and general physical awareness that’s immeasurably important. Taking the plunge into exercising while pregnant may seem like an impossible task, but every step you take with StrongBoard leads toward the ultimate goal of health and happiness.