As parents we spend a LOT of time walking with buggies. Slowly walking through the park trying to get our littles ones to sleep, quickly walking through the park over every bump possible trying to get our little ones to sleep, through wind rain and shine...you guessed it, trying to get them to sleep...just SLEEP! Anyway, it's quite exhausting having to walk so much especially when you're sleep deprived, so as much as it's hard to even think about posture when all you can think about is coffee, here's a few simple tips:
- Alignment : Posture isn't just about standing tall whilst static, it's about dynamic alignment. All that means is trying to encourage length and space through the skeleton whilst each segment of the body is in the right place. So whilst the legs are moving, the ribs float over the pelvis and there should be space between the sternum (between the boobs) and the naval. As soon as you feel the sinking in of the chest and the length between those two points decrease, drawn the rib cage upwards away from the pelvis and shoulders stacked over the hips. You've just avoided hunch back. You're welcome. There's also one other common issue postnatally - your body thinking it's still pregnant. Often the stomach falls forward and we dump into the lover back, so try to draw the naval back towards the spine and lengthen the tailbone a little.
- Feet : There are 52 bones in your foot, so you really shouldn't forget them. And one bone is called the Phalange which is just quite amusing (showing my age with a Friends gag there, ugh!). Think of your feet as tripods, big toes, little toes and heels. Find equal weight through them, and when you take a stride, walk through the WHOLE of the foot, heel through toes. Your stride will be longer and bouncier.
- Butt : We tend to flick our feet forwards when we walk, it's kinda natural as we don't have eyes in the back of our heads so anything going on back there isn't really very interesting. However it is essential that we recruit our bottom muscles whilst walking, I can't stress enough how important the glutes are, and how they seem to disappear postnatally. The glutes support the hips and back and a whole lot more, they are a hug muscle group, so use them! Really focus on you BACK STRIDE, stretching through the hip flexors at the front and waking up that botty!
- Shoulders : As you push the buggy, keep length in the wrists and the shoulders away from your ears, and elbows drawing towards your waist. It seems silly to create yet more tension through the neck and upper back when you're feeding and rocking a baby ALL the time. Transfer the effort to the legs and bottom, and you're find you can float the upper body along with a nice wide chest and length through the neck. Circle/stretch out your wrists throughout the day in case you do start collapsing into them.
It goes without saying that all of the above is applicable without a buggy too, just keep the arms swinging, especially if you've suffered with any stomach muscle separation, it helps to activate the center and keeps the breath flowing. It's also worth mentioning your choice of buggy, finding the right height for you and your partner, which is often tricky. Make sure you can adapt handle height and the carriage isn't extremely low, to avoid bending over in awkward positions.
Keep on walking people, it's such a great way to gently exercise and blow the cobwebs away.