Overcoming the Repetitive Physical Stresses of Parenting
Common injuries are:
SIRCS (Sleeping Infant Rotator Cuff Syndrome): shoulder impingement resulting from crying baby falling asleep on your arm or shoulder in an awkward position. There’s no waking a sleeping baby no matter how painful!
Uppy Up Hip & Back Pain: low back and or hip pain and pelvic misalignment due to toddler crying Uppy Up Mom & thus propping her on your hip.
Crib Cramps: low back spasm triggered by leaning over the railing and lifting child out of the crib.
The Hunchback of Baby Bjorn: rounded thoracic spine due to weight of “growing like a weed” baby in the carrier
Bathy Time Bends: Upper back and Knee pain from kneeling beside the tub for bath time
Stroller Strain: low back and/or shoulder strain caused by collapsing the mega stroller & hoisting it into the SUV
SMN (Soccer Mom Neck): tightness or strain in neck and upper back muscles from trying to toss snacks to and/or oversee the chaos of kids in back seat while trying to drive.
Hold My Hand Hunch: a sideways hunch or curve in the spine from walking hand in hand with your much shorter toddler which quickly migrates to low back pain
MMM (Multitasking Musculoskeletal Malady): generalized or localized musculoskeletal discomfort caused by trying to juggle multiple activities while holding or monitoring a young child.
Chances are if you’re a Mom (or Dad) you’re familiar with some or all of these parenting repetitive stress injuries. Well, the good news is that there are several great, easy to do forms of exercise and stretching to help prevent and alleviate these common Parenting Injuries and improve your overall fitness! The most common instigators across these “conditions” are that they entail irregular posture and/or awkward sub-optimal lifting motions. The common resolution is development of a strong and mobile “Core” (the abs, back & hips). The spine is a big shock absorber with very intentional curves in the lumbar (low back) and thoracic (mid/upper back) regions. When those curves are too big (hunched upper back or excessively arched low back) or too small (flat low back) from muscle tightness or weakness, repetitive stress, poor posture, etc., stresses are displaced to other body parts. These imbalances can result in low back pain (most common) upper back and shoulder strain or impingement, hip and glute pain and even knee and ankle injuries.
Abdominal strengthening exercises, most notably Pilates, can help you learn how to use your abs during daily activities to reduce strain on your back. Additionally Pilates can improve posture, helping to restore and or improve the appropriate curvature in your spine and alignment of your pelvis
(Try our Classic Pilates Mat: Ab and Intermediate Ab Series),
Our Classic Pilates Back series focuses on strengthening the back muscles and improving posture of the upper back (reversing a hunch). By strengthening the spine extensors and the muscles around your shoulder girdle, Pilates can help reverse excessive curve (hunch) of the thoracic spine, alleviate neck and shoulder strain from poor scapular stability (i.e. hunching your shoulders to your ears). In addition, Pilates exercises focus on mobility of the hips and spine for bending, flexing, and twisting. Upper Body Tone & Sculpt exercises strengthen the back, shoulders and arms to help with all that lifting, pushing and pulling parents do!
Let’s not forget about the hips and butt, and not just because we all yearn to look good in shorts! The muscles of our hips, including the glutes, quads (front of the thigh), hamstrings (back of thigh) abductors (outer thigh) and adductors (inner thigh) help us with balance, lifting and of course getting around. Classic Pilates Mat: Side Series and Tone & Sculpt: Lower Body exercises can strengthen and tone your legs while improving flexibility and mobility.
And what about your sanity and your energy level? Exercise is a great emotional stress reducer and actually increases your energy. Pilates breathing techniques are a great way to reduce tension, oxygenate and energize your body and if nothing else a pause to allow you to regroup before you explode. You only need three minutes to watch and learn How To: Pilates Breathing (tutorial video).
So, sounds great, but you’re a parent and thus have little to no time for exercise. You’re in luck again. All these exercises can be done in 10-20 minute increments and require nothing more than a mat or towel so can be done anywhere, anytime: during naps, between school drop off and pick up, in the nursery, your living room, hotel, back yard…
So get started now! Take advantage of our 1st Month Free introductory offer (plus apply discount codes for subsequent months) to access all of our versatile 10-20 minute workout modules & get on the road to recovery from your Mommy (or Daddy) injuries.
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Thanks to all my “ladies” for their valuable insights and input into this posting & special thanks to Stephanie and Janine for the inspiration.
Some other great resources for Parenting & Health issues: