Happy national gardening week!
I finally got my garden planted this past weekend.
Cherry tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, red bell peppers and lots of herbs!
I love spending time outside, in the sunshine and getting my hands dirty. But I couldn’t help think about the way that I was moving when I was gardening.
When I first started out I was standing up bent over to plant the seedlings, but man that made my back ache. So then I got down and did what I usually do when I’m picking strawberries – I got low and dropped a squat.
I also squat when I pull out the weeds in our yard. I have one of the fancy puller-outter hand held things that actually do the work for you, where all you have to do is jab it in the ground, and step on it. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. You know those weeds with the prickly thistles? If you just put on some gloves (the kind that have the coating so the thistle stingers can’t actually penetrate through the glove) grab it right down where the stalk comes out of the ground, and gently pull it straight up, you’ll get the whole root and you won’t have to worry about it growing back!! If you use the handheld puller-outer –thing it probably won’t get the whole root. (I am a farm girl after all, and this is just one of many things I know about nasty weeds!!)
So yeah, we had a whole bunch of these thistle weeds so I spent much of Saturday squatting pulling weeds in preparation for my hubby to cut the grass.
Squatting as in the hunting and gathering mama squat is a great movement to practice, especially for pregnant mamas. I remember spending hours each week squatting during yoga practice, or in my living room in front of the TV or trying to read a book. I was preparing myself for child labour. If you’re not a pregnant mama, skip down below.
Why you should practice squatting during pregnancy:
• It helps to open up the pelvis, to create a wider pelvic outlet where the baby passes and helps baby descend into the pelvis.
• Squatting strengthens the pelvic floor muscles, which will benefit you during the pushing phase of labour.
• It lengthens the muscles of your glutes (booty muscles), hamstrings, quadriceps (front thighs) calves and psoas muscles. (We need to lengthen these muscles because when they are tight they can reduce movement of the pelvic bones and increase stress and pressure during delivery, in addition to tucking our tailbone and pelvis under which impacts the size of the delivery space.)
• Squatting gives you endurance in your leg muscles that you will need during the birthing process, especially if you will be using a birthing stool, or partner assisted squatting position. (Whether or not you plan on using these positions, you just never know what your body will tell you to do during labour, so plan for the unexpected)
• Helps strengthen your glutes which in turn helps prevent back and pelvic pain. It also stabilizes your pelvis and prevents pain associated with relaxed ligaments. The squat is the most effective and natural glute strengthener. If you don’t want mom bum – do your squats!
Note: Don’t drop a squat if baby isn’t in optimal position around 30 weeks, or if you have a medial reason or pain associated with squatting.
How to drop it like it’s hot (a hot hunter-gatherer-mama!) Or check out the video below
1. Hold onto a countertop is a great start until your legs have built up strength to do without a stable object. If your heels are coming off the floor, roll up a towel or yoga mat for extra stability.
2. Ensure that you have a flat back, and your flaring your butt cheeks so that you sits bones (those are the boney protrusions in your butt are sticking out ) what you don’t want is a rounded back, and tucked pelvis. Also get your ankles right under your knees, and not behind your knees.
3. Gradually try to let go of the countertop and place hands in prayer position and elbows pushing out the inner thigh
Squats for non-pregnant mamas.
Yes mamas, we all need to be doing squats even if you had your baby years ago. Squatting helps to:
• Decrease your lower back and pelvic health by helping minimize and decrease pelvic pain, pain during sex, and even digestive health (think constipation, gas, bloating etc.)
• Our glutes set our pelvis, and if our pelvis isn’t in optimal position we aren’t going to have great stability, mobility, alignment or movement in the pelvis, glutes, core and legs
• Regain core strength and stability in the whole body
• Work your deep core and pelvic floor muscles when using the core breath (inhaling down, and exhaling up while picking up your blueberry)
• Helps open up the hips and maintain flexibility and muscle stamina
The more we prepare for delivery, the more successful the outcome will be. And the more prepared we are for delivery and postpartum, the better able our bodies can handle what’s coming at us.
Want more awesome Strong Mom strengthening exercises? Strong Mom™ fitness classes start next week. Visit www.Strongmom.ca for the details.
In Fitness & Nutrition