Firing your Transverse Abdominus Muscles

Hi Everyone,

Todays blog is really important for all of you wanting to tone up your waistline. I’m going to show you how to find, contract, and sustain your transverse abdominus muscles (TVA). These are deep muscles (highlighted in red in our image) that comprise part of your ‘core’, and learning to control and strengthen them is necessary not only to flatten your tummy, but also to help maintain good posture, alleviate back pain, and prevent injury.

To find your TVA, lay on your back and put your fingertips inside your hip bones, (or ASIS for those of you with knowledge of Anatomy and Physiology). Cough, and you should feel the muscles beneath your fingers twitch. That is your TVA. To contract the TVA take a deep breath in, and then breathe out and at the same time pull your belly button in towards your spine. Those of you who’ve done any pilates will have done this before, and will have heard of the term ‘navel to spine’ many times. To see this movement in all its glory, click here. (virtual image provided courtesy of http://www.lifestylexperts.com)

When you’ve got the hang of this, try holding it for 10 seconds while continuing to breathe. It will be tricky at first but once you’ve learned to ‘fire and sustain’ the TVA you will be able to switch it on any time you exercise, lift baby, or do anything else that requires effort.

If you have any questions on this or any other exercise issue please get in touch. I’d also welcome your comments as to whether you find this info useful, and what I can do to improve the blog. What would you like to hear? Let me know.

Healthy Regards

Mark

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Weight change between births can harm you and your baby

Hi Everyone,

There was an article in several newspapers a while back about the problems associated with gaining weight between pregnancies. This is not the first time this has been brought to our attention, and only a year before an article based on similar research was also published. Around 15 years ago another study produced the same results, so I guess that unlike a lot of studies, this one shouldn’t be sneezed at.

It seems that even a small increase in body mass index can double the risk of high blood pressure and preeclampsia, with larger increases resulting in even more problems.

So what do we do?

Well try and maintain a healthy and consistent weight would be the best thing.

How do we do that?

Not by dieting that’s for sure! I understand the pressure sometimes with our celebrity culture, to try the latest fad diets. The Atkins diet, The California diet, etc etc are all an unhealthy and unnecessary way to go about losing weight. All these restricted calorie or no carb diets result in a loss of lean body weight (muscle). It’s not muscle you want to be losing it’s fat. Muscle is what gives your body it’s shape. Losing muscle weight will slow your metabolism meaning that when you stop dieting you need even less calories to maintain your bodyweight than you did before the diet. Add to this the fact that when you starve yourself your body becomes super efficient at storing fat, and you can see why so many peoples weight goes up and down like a yo-yo.

A sensible diet with good nutritious whole foods is the best way to go. It’s not a diet but a healthy eating plan, and one you can stick with for life. Don’t go for instant gratification but aim for a slow weight loss over a long period. One pound a week is 52lbs a year, and that’s nearly 4 stone!! Add exercise to the equation and you’re laughing. You’ll end up looking great and feeling even better with loads of energy, and who wouldn’t want that?

To read the article in full click here.

Healthy Regards

Mark

Why YOU need a miracle box

This is a pregnancy & postnatal exercise blog and I set it up to give good and practical advice and not to do blatant advertising for The Miracle Box, but I do want to make all mums to be aware of this product. Based around a high quality birth/exercise ball, the Miracle Box gives you lots of extras such as pregnancy and postnatal exercise charts with great quality images and professional instructions. Most midwives will recommend you get yourself a birth ball because they can help you get baby in the correct position for the birth and cut down on your time in labour (and their time at work), but there is so much more you can do with them such as get your figure back afterwards!

This is what midwife Vicky Feeney from www.liverpoolindependentmidwives.co.uk has to say.

I recommend birth balls to all of my clients. They are great antenatally to aid posture and balance as well as being ideal to use during exercise. During labour they can be used in several ways as a means of support and to open the pelvis up to its widest diameter. I carry one for myself as a midwife in labour to sit on to ease my tired back! Vicky Feeney

The Miracle Box Pregnancy & Postnatal Blog

Hi Everyone, I’m Mark Hibbitts, the pregnancy & postnatal exercise consultant for The Miracle Box.

This aim of this blog is to give you up to date information on exercise and fitness during pregnancy and the postnatal period. There are tremendous benefits to be had from exercise both during pregnancy and afterwards. These include greater self-esteem, easier births, and a quicker return to your pre-pregnancy shape. However, all cases are different, and there are several contra-indications to pregnancy exercise, so while we can help with advice, it is important that you consult with your doctor or midwife before starting any pregnancy exercise programme.

Healthy Regards

Mark

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