Thursday, 21 January 2016
Four pregnancy birthing ball exercises
Got a birthing ball but no idea how to use it? We’ve got four exercises to ease back pain and tension
Birthing balls are great for pregnancy, as long as you know what to do with them. In fact, doing just a few birthing ball exercises every day can be enough to alleviate pregnancy back pain, relieve upper body tension and generally leave you feeling a whole lot better.
Pregnancy and post-natal fitness expert Dr Joanna Helcke shows us four moves that can help:
Seated waist twist
This is both a postural and mobility exercise, keeping the spine nice and supple all whilst helping to promote strong posture and an opening out of the chest area.
In pregnancy, posture is greatly affected by the increasing weight of the bump, often causing the shoulders to round forwards and this exercise counters this.
The rotational element also helps with stiffness in the back – a common problem as the bump grows and movement becomes more restricted.
Child’s pose is a deeply relaxing position to be in but as the bump grows in pregnancy it becomes hard – or even impossible – to perform this exercise with hands on the floor.
Placing the hands on the birthing ball allows for that extra space needed by mums-to-be all whilst relieving any build-up of tension through the back, neck and shoulders (all common during pregnancy).
The resistance band lateral pull down is another fantastic exercise for encouraging good posture in pregnancy, countering the effects of a heavy bump and, in turn, staving off pregnancy aches and pains.
This exercise does all the right things for pregnancy: it opens out and releases tension in the chest area all whilst tightening and strengthening postural muscles in the back.
Another excellent exercise for maintaining spinal mobility in pregnancy.
One of the key effects of a growing bump is a general lack of mobility throughout the back and a reduction in range of movement makes one more prone to injury.
So an exercise such as this one – done gently and within each person’s range of movement – is the perfect antidote.