3 Things you will LOVE about Hypopressives

Hypopressives a.k.a. Low Pressure Fitness is a conditioning techniqie that benefits the whole core system, and eliminates the injuries caused by detrimental pressure to the pelvic floor.  It starts with a breath technique and takes that technique into many different body postures that involve creating tension and integrity in your body while breathing through the poses.  I incorporate Hypopressives into all of my workouts at home, and love teaching the technique to women in my practice.

  1. Body Education:   First and foremost you will LOVE the amount you will learn about your body.  I fell in love with the technique back in November 2017 at the certification course with Trista Zinn. The awareness for my breathing, posture and abdominal pressures grew with each session.  You will gain a better understanding of how your breath is connected to your pelvic floor and that your abdominal cavity is a pressure filled canister that can affect your pelvic floor and core health in a great way or a not-so-great way.  Knowing that most things we do each day increase the pressure in our abdomen which causes a downward and outward pressure through places in our body that might not be strong enough to support the pressure (pelvic floor, tummy, low back, diaphragm). Hypopressives is a great core exercise that causes NO pressure on the pelvic floor.  This is encouraging to all my clients experiencing pelvic organ prolapse. 
  2. Best Abdominal Stretch:  Women will feel many different sensations during a hypopressive breath session.  Some describe a lifting of the pelvic organs and a reduction of downward pressure, some describe the feeling of a velcro release of scar tissue inside the abdomen and around their C-section scar, and some just love the sensation of their waists drawing inwards and upwards.  It’s such a counter measure to what we feel all day that a 20 minute session can have great results on your core.
  3. Breath Awareness:  2/3 of the technique is teaching the breath.  Mastering your breath is like holding the remote to your emotions.  Getting anxious and overwhelmed?  “Nah, I’m just gong to breath like they thought me and cool those jets”.  It’s pretty powerful stuff that is so overlooked and downplayed.  I teach a certain type of breath that has many different names (ribcage breathing, umbrella breathing, east/west breathing, diaphragm breathing etc.)  Learning how to re-train your breath can be challenging, but well worth the work.

Come out and check out the Hypopressive technique at my MOM FIT classes.  It’s not something you will automatically get on your first try, but with some work it will be your favourite technique to add to your routine.  If nothing else, try dropping words like “Tensegrity” and “Intra-abdominal pressure” at your next party and earn some mad respect from the hardcore gym goers.

 

2018 Hypopressives Canada | Low Pressure Fitness | Pelvic Floor Health | Core Training. https://hypopressivescanada.com

3 truths about Diastasis Recti

Diastasis Recti basically means a separation of the Rectus Abdominis muscles on the front wall of your abdomen. The two rectus muscles (or 6 pack muscles) run from the pubic bone right up the front of the abdomen to the xiphoid process. They are connected in the middle by a sheath of connective tissue called the linea alba. The main function of these muscles is forward flexion of the trunk. (ie. bringing sternum to pubic bone). These muscles usually lay very close to each other however during #pregnancy all women will experience a degree of separation (stretching) of this linea alba, although some greater than others. This degree of separation and healing from this separation depends greatly on several factors (posture, pressures, exercise, genetics). There are many facts about #DiastasisRecti on the internet these days. It seems like everyone has a workout, a treatment plan, or an opinion on the matter. So, what better time than now to chime in with my 3 cents. 
 
 
Truth #1 – Do not fear exercise!
Yes, Abdominal crunches, curl-ups, sit-ups, prone leg raises, leg lifts, bicycle crunches and planks can all cause extra strain on the stretched connective tissue at the front of your abdomen. Yes, this can prevent your connective tissues from strengthening causing the saggy pouchy appearance we all recognize as “mummy tummy”. BUT, there are many ways you can continue to work your core and reduce the stress on your separation. With some re-training of the core system, a little education around breathing, some releases, posture fixes and strengthening, you’ll be back in business baby! And no, I won’t go into all the deets in this post, that’s for another day.
Truth #2 – Posture is a main contributor to Diastasis Recti
Yes, the way you carry your body will have a lot to do with how fast you heal and regain #tensegrity in your core after baby. There are many ways in which posture and alignment can affect diastasis recti, but essentially what it is, is a misalignment between ribs, head and pelvis. Whether you thrust your ribs forward and tuck your bum under, or sway your ribs back and shift your pelvis forward, this unbalanced abdominal posture can put a lot of pressure on the front of your abdomen causing the connective tissue to perpetually live in a stretched out state. It’s hard to be strong when you are stretched real thin…#momlife.
Truth #3 – Intra-Abdominal Pressure is your frenemy
We all have pressure inside our core. It is a main stabilizer of our core structure and a protector of our spine. It acts like an airbag to protect our bones and organs from trauma. We need pressure and love it, but too much pressure or misguided pressure can cause leaks in the system. When we already have a compromise in the integrity of tissues (ie. Diastasis Recti) and pressure is being bottled up and overused for stability, the pressure can and will leak through the most vulnerable crack. For example, if I shook a pop bottle and make a small incision along the front of the bottle, the pop will blow through. This is a lot like how your body would react. But instead of pop, it would be the contents of your abdomen hanging forward. NOTE: Diastasis Recti, isn’t a rip, or a tear in your abdomen, its a stretching of connective tissue. It’s not to be confused with a #hernia.
 
As always you should be seeing your health care provider to confirm that what you are experiencing is, in fact, Diastasis Recti. It’s not life-threatening, but can be life altering, because having a diastasis that is left untreated can lead to more core dysfunction down the road, such as prolapse, incontinence, low back pain and more.

3 Things to do before Stroller Running

Summer is here, and that fancy jogging stroller is begging for some attention. I get it! But jumping back into running as soon as you get cleared for exercise from your doctor can be a bit too much too soon. Considering these three things before you hit the pavement will not only make your transition back into fitness more enjoyable, but they might ward off future dysfunctions or injury.
 
1. Check your Pelvic Floor
Find a post-natal fitness pro to help with strength building and seek an assessment by a pelvic floor physiotherapist before returning to exercise after baby. I can’t say this enough: “Check your Pelvic Floor Ladies!”. Once assessed and given the green light, it’s not all or nothing. We want to build bodies for life long movement. Lovingly and gradually ease back into your cardio routine to build up strength and stamina properly before overloading your body. A weakened pelvic floor and core will not be able to sufficiently support your internal organs while running. Alongside some awesome and safe strength exercises, try jogging small portions of your route and build from there.
2. Re-Train your posture and alignment
When starting a jogging routine you will want to consider the fact that your running technique will most likely be rusty and out of practice. Your weight has been shifted forward for months on end, and your ribcage has been flared up to make room for baby. Your posture and alignment will need to be re-trained before running. Slowly walking up hills will provide a good amount of cardio while shifting your body back into proper alignment. Bending forward from the ankles (called Ski Jump Running by Julie Weibe Pt) will assist you back into proper alignment for optimal pelvic floor use. Also, finding tight muscles and releasing them will aid in your alignment journey. Take it easy, and if you have issues or questions message me!
3. Choose your technique
Be mindful of the fact that most women will run with a stroller for the first time during their fourth trimester and this can be where biomechanical issues arise. The change in technique from running alone to running with a stroller will take some getting used to and feel different on your body. The favourite technique among women is holding the stroller with two hands. This can limit the upper body from rotation and obviously, the absence of the arm swing will feel difficult at first. We naturally slow down our pace when pushing a stroller, but have no fear, research says that your level of exertion will remain the same. Just be aware of aches and pains. Feel it in your low back? Maybe you are leaning forward from your waist onto the stroller. Try moving to a one hand grip and bring a little more rotation back into your upper body. Feel it in your knees? Leaking? Maybe you are landing heavily on your heels or your feet are landing out in front of your body causing impact.
 
Now get out there, have fun, take it slow, feel the sun on your face, work up a sweat and keep the mental benefit of some good old cardio. Seek out help from your health care provider if any of these symptoms arise:
-Leaking
-Bulging or heaviness in the vagina
-Pain in the low back, pelvic floor, knees, hips, neck or abdominals
Other Pro Tips:
#1.  Drink tons of water to rehydrate your body before, during and after running
#2. Make sure babe is protected from the elements.  Bugs, sun and wind can all be a little upsetting for your baby.  Have covers and protective screens on hand.
#3.  For older babies, make sure to pack LOTS of snacks and busy toys.
#4.  Run without the stroller as much as you can.  Our arms are designed to be moving freely during running and pushing a stroller can inhibit this movement.  If you plan on continuing running well past the stroller stage, practice without when you can.
 
There are awesome post-natal fitness experts that can take a look at your form and provide some guidance, I personally LOVE doing running assessments. Call me if you are in the area 🙂 Have fun out there!
Sources:
A good website for running techniques for the postpartum athlete:
 
Stroller Running Research: