Following the birth of her twins, Jackie Steele worked with physiotherapist Becky Dyer to get her body back into shape. After developing a physio-safe exercise program together, Jackie and Becky realised they were on to something worth sharing with mothers everywhere – and Body Beyond Birth was born. With daily workouts only 20 minutes long, it’s a short, sweet online program offering mothers skills for a healthier life, complemented with nutrition and physio advice. Chatting to Becky and Jackie, we discover how their program is making a difference and some of Becky’s recommended exercises for new mums.
How can Body Beyond Birth help new mums?
Body Beyond Birth was developed by mums, for mums, and one of those mums is a physio, which means all of our exercises are safe. As mums, we understand how crazy busy life is, so we’ve made all our workouts around 20 minutes long so you can squeeze them into the cracks of your day. We’ve even made some super short exercise videos so that even on your busiest day, you can crank out five minutes of something. We include nutritional advice and really practical ideas on eating healthily and proper portion sizes. Then we’ve got meditation videos to help you relax and unwind at the end of your day.
Busting post-pregnancy exercise myths
1. You don’t need an hour a day to exercise.
2. You don’t need a gym membership.
3. You don’t need fancy equipment.
Start with baby steps and if that means you really can only find five or ten minutes a day for yourself to walk, do squats, or dance, then start there. Also, don’t overlook incidental exercise – take those stairs, walk instead of driving, stand instead of sitting. It all adds up.
Exercises for new mums
Becky shares her top exercises to help new mums feel strong and healthy…
1. Quadruped plank for core strengthening
As a mum, if you do one strengthening exercise a day, it should be one for your core. It’s time to get your pilates on and strengthen those deep abdominal muscles.
SET-UP: Get down on your hands and knees, hands beneath shoulders, knees beneath hips, spine in a neutral position and lengthen through the back of the neck with your eye line just past fingertips.
ACTION: Gently draw your navel toward your spine, then lift your knees off of the floor approximately 1-2cm. Hold this position for 10 seconds and keep breathing! Repeat five reps, once a day.
NOTE: If this hurts your wrists, make a fist and go up on your knuckles for the plank, keeping wrists in-line with fists. Still no good? Modify by going onto your forearms.
2. ‘Perfect’ squats for backyard strengthening
Having strong legs and butt helps protect your back from injury.
SET UP: Stand up tall with feet spread hip-width apart, hands resting near sides.
ACTION: Draw navel to spine and maintain a neutral spine position. Keep tummy drawn in towards your spine the whole time. Initiate the squat by sticking the butt out and bending the knees. Squat as low as you can while maintaining your neutral spine, with no knee pain. Your knees should track toward your second toe, so don’t go cowboy or knock-kneed on me! Knees do not go past your toes. When you squat, hands reach forward toward chest height with arms extended. Return to tall standing then repeat. Repeat 2-3 sets of 10 reps each day.
3. Sneaky exercise
We all need to move as much as possible throughout our day but when we’re busy, it’s hard to squeeze in exercise. The best way to exercise without making it too hard is incidental exercise – a fancy word for movement with a purpose! My sneak-it-in exercise is walking instead of driving, always taking the stairs, standing/sitting with good posture, and playing with my kids.
Daily mummy muscle exercises
1. Quadruped plank 10 seconds x 5 reps
2. Squats 10 reps x 2-3 sets
3. Walk, stand/sit tall, play Make it a new habit!
Find out more at bodybeyondbirth.com