The benefits of postnatal exercise and special workout programs for new mothers in Dubai & Abu Dhabi
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Dubai Female Personal Trainer & Prenatal Specialist Trainer - Kelly Douglas
Taking gentle, regular exercise can do wonders to get you back in shape after pregnancy in the UAE

Personal Trainer Q & A Category: Pre & Post Natal Exercise & Training

Personal Trainer Q & A Contributor: Kelly

Postnatal exercise is a specialist area. Get the best advice from a leading postnatal personal trainer in Dubai, UAE

Many new mums in the UAE struggle when it comes to getting back in shape after childbirth. There is no quick fix and you should give your body plenty of time to recover post partum. Postnatal personal training and exercise is a specialist area – always seek specialist advice before starting any new training regime.

  • 1We often read about prenatal exercise and the benefits it can have for prenatal mums-to-be in Dubai but how can ‘postnatal’ exercise help new mothers?

    There are many benefits to participating in exercise during you are in the post-natal period in the UAE. The top 5 benefits of exercising are to boost your general health, improve your posture, alter your body composition, improve functional capacity, and for you social/emotional well-being. Let’s look deeper into the benefits of these topics:

    General health

    • Help boost your immune system
    • Improve your quality of sleep
    • Will help improve digestion

    Posture

    • Improve lumbopelvic stability
    • Redress muscular imbalance, strengthen muscles that have lengthened and lengthening muscles that have shortened
    • Create awareness of posture while feeding, lifting/carrying
    • Create awareness of back, abdominal and pelvic posture

    Body composition

    • Reduce body fat and increase muscle mass– return to pre-pregnancy shape
    • Increase basal metabolic rate

    Functional capacity

    • Improve aerobic fitness
    • Increase strength and endurance for activities of daily living including helping ability to deal with the everyday demands of new baby
    • Reduced fatigue – increased energy

    Social and emotional well-being

    • Increase the production of endorphins
    • Enhance self-image & self-confidence
    • Personal satisfaction and achievement
    • Personal identification and social interaction

    Chance to get some ‘me’ time

  • As a prenatal and postnatal personal trainer in Dubai do you think there are any restrictions on ‘when’ new mothers can start with a personal exercise regime?

    There is a lot pressure put on new mums in Dubai to return to their pre-pregnancy shape and the media doesn’t help ease this pressure. Women should respect and appreciate their post baby bodies. Your body has gone through a lot of trauma over the last 9 months, many changes have occurred in the structural support system and your body is still very vulnerable. Be patient with the process and let your body heal before committing to intense exercise.

    Exercise should only commence when a satisfactory post-natal check-up has been completed. If you have had a natural birth with no complications, this is usually 6 weeks after delivery however, ladies who had C-section are recommended to wait 8 weeks after delivery.

    However, within a few days of giving birth you should start with level 1 post-natal core & pelvic floor muscle training. Within 3 weeks you can start low intensity cardiovascular training for a duration of 10 minutes, but remember to start light and gradually increase intensity. A postnatal personal trainer in Dubai or Abu Dhabi can help provide the right advice.

  • As well as exercise, are there any diet suggestions that can help a new mother get back in Shape?

    Keep your nutrition as clean as possible. Concentrate on lean protein, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Try to eat whole foods and keep everything you eat as close to nature as possible, in other words, avoid processed foods. Avoid added sugars, trans fat, saturated fat, refined carbs, refined flours, chemicals and preservatives.

    If you are breast feeding, consume an extra 300 kcal per day. A great tip to achieve this is to eat 5 almonds at every baby feed.

     

    Healthy eating and nutrition tips from uae personal trainers

  • To ease back into regular exercise can you describe some exercises that women can do at home along with the benefits these exercises provide?

    Immediately:

    Core stability and pelvic floor muscle training should commence as soon as possible after delivery, However, I must stress ‘Ab’ training (including sit-ups!) are to be avoided during the post-natal period until full closure of the diastasis recti. There are 3 stages on postnatal core training, level 1 can commence almost immediately after birth. A few examples of level one exercises are below:

    Pelvic tilts

    Hip bridge

    Knee march

    Also, I would encourage gentle recruitment of the core stability muscles throughout the day. Mobility exercises are also recommended as they will help to loosen the body and reduce stiffness

    First 3 weeks:

    Regular cardiovascular exercise is considered extremely beneficial during the post-natal period providing the appropriate frequency, intensity, duration and type are performed. At this stage, stick to brisk walking for 10-15 minutes, three times per week, and gradually increase the time as you get fitter. The intensity of the walk will depend on how you feel and your pre-pregnancy fitness levels however, start with low intensity at this stage.

    3-6 weeks:

    You can continue with cardiovascular activity up to 30 minutes low – moderate intensity, but avoid any high impact activities (i.e. Jogging should be avoided).

    Remember your core and pelvic floor exercises. At this stage you should aim to be on level 2 or 3 however, remember this can vary depending on pre-pregnancy fitness levels.

    After 6-8 weeks:

    If you have had the all clear following your post-partum check-up, you may start reintroducing other cardio and resistance training into your exercise. As you improve your strength, you gradually increase intensity until your pre-pregnancy fitness levels are achieved.

  • Postnatal depression is a specialist area but there are some studies that suggest regular exercise can help to reduce the symptoms. While it is essential to seek specialist advice in the UAE for this condition, from your experience as a postnatal personal trainer in Dubai do you think regular exercise can help?

    Several studies suggest the exercise is effective in treating mild to moderate depression. The research is strong regarding the use of exercise to reduce symptoms of post-natal depression as if can help positively influence the mood of new mothers.

    Cardiovascular exercises can also be therapeutic for dealing with stress and anxiety often experienced by new mothers. As well as promoting the production of endorphins, which together with other hormones are believed to improve mood.

    Exercise can serve as a distraction, or time out from daily routines, and improve self-esteem and confidence.

    Another advantage would be the social and emotional well-being aspect as mentioned earlier, an opportunity to meet other new mums, share experiences and concerns and find that much needed empathy and support from others.

  • What would be your top 5 tips for postnatal mothers who are looking for ways to get back in shape?

    1. Start with retraining your core and pelvic floor muscles. This is very important following birth, these muscles have weakened and before you do anything else, your focus needs to be on strengthening your core stability muscles.
    2. Take care of your nutrition, eats fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean vegetables. Try to eat whole foods and keep everything you eat as close to nature as possible. A great tip is to eat 5 almonds for every feed.
    3. Me time! Every minute of your day will be dedicated to your new born baby but you must also ensure you are taking some time to look after yourself. Whether it’s a few minutes focusing on deep breathing exercise or time to train your core. Focus on yourself for a few minutes every day.
    4. Be patient in the early stages, over exertion may impede recovery. Start with low intensity and gradually increase.
    5. Focus on technique and alignment. You deep stabilisation muscle have weakened during your pregnancy therefore you need to spend time engaging the correct muscle group, even if you mastered the technique of the exercise pre-pregnancy. Opt for quality rather than quantity.
Dubai Prenatal & Postnatal Expert Trainer - Kelly

Kelly is an expert when it comes to postnatal training for new mothers in Dubai either at your home or your local gym.

You can view Kelly’s full Dubai personal trainer profile by clicking the link below.

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