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5 Ways to Get Back Your Toned Figure after Pregnancy

5 Ways to Get Back Your Toned Figure after Pregnancy

The miracle of birth has no parallel — it’s the most wonderful and most natural thing in the world. Women who decide to become mothers are giving the gift of life to the entire humankind, and there’s nothing that can be compared to this.

The funny thing is that mothers can’t really see the bigger picture here, because it’s very difficult to deal with the physical consequences of giving birth. It’s a whole new mess that needs to be sorted out, and it’s very difficult to deal with the new body figure that comes postpartum.

This problem can even lead to such an amount of dissatisfaction that it can cause depression, which is something you need to steer clear from because your life has a new purpose now — your newborn. Therefore, you should take precautions so that you can avoid some permanent pregnancy marks, but it’s very important not to take your actions to far.

1. Lose Weight at a Slow Pace

While your baby grows inside of you, your stomach swells up; this happens because your body makes room for the baby’s growth and proper development. Now, your tummy isn’t a balloon — although at some point, it will look like it — and you can’t expect it to shrink back to normal the minute after you give birth.

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Hormones know how to behave, and you need to give them time to do their job — all those fluids that amass during pregnancy will start to leak, but that is one slow process that must not be rushed because of your baby’s health and your own.

Those leaks will manifest to sweat, urine and vaginal secretions, and any additional weight you might have picked up along the way will enter a fast-forward calorie burning process.

2. Mind the Bra Size

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    This goes for both — before and after birth. If you don’t pay special attention to the way your breasts change, you will experience unpleasant pain, and that discomfort isn’t something you should add to the list of all the other sensations your body is going through.

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    While your pregnancy is developing, so will your breasts, and you can expect to see a new change each trimester. This is why you should get refitted accordingly. In order to feel maximally comfortable, make sure to wear supporting bras even during nighttime.

    If you’re nursing, you’ll need convenient bras that save you time and help you relieve the pain you might be experiencing. However, you should be aware of the fact your new bra size will reveal itself a few months after you stop breastfeeding, not after you give birth, which is why you need to be patient and wear appropriate sizes.

    3. Be Patient With Your Tummy

    First of all, you need to face the fact that your body shape may change for good after you give birth — your body is going through a huge change, and it’s only natural that it can’t bounce back completely. Only time will tell here, which is why you shouldn’t be impatient.

    Mothers need to give their tummy muscles time to accommodate, and the length of the period necessary for that to happen depends on the shape of your figure before you became pregnant, how much weight you added during pregnancy, your physical activities postpartum, and of course, your genetics.

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    My suggestion is to talk this out with your mother, and learn about her experience on this subject; she can tell you how long it took her to bounce back and which mistakes she made, so that you can steer clear from them.

    Breastfeeding can actually help you with this, because by doing it, you become 500 calories lighter each day, which is one motivating thing to have in mind. As a new mother, you’re a milk machine, so to speak, and your body will invest about one kilogram per week in order to produce enough food for your newborn.

    If you’re eager to get back to the gym and exercise, you need to be gentle with your body because forcing yourself will make you constantly exhausted and that can only lead to a line of serious problems for both you and your child. You can try with postpartum belly wraps — the support they provide can relieve the pressure on your spine, which can take damage during pregnancy, and it can help you get your abs in shape more quickly.

    4. Take Good Care of Your Skin

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      Moisturizing is of essential importance here. Because of the lack of elasticity while you’re getting bigger as your pregnancy envelops, your skin tends to crack which is why stretch marks appear. It’s quite important for you to understand that they will tone down in time, and that they won’t be that visible after a while, so don’t panic.

      However, you can affect the final outcome by moisturizing, and my suggestion is to go with gentle oil-based skincare products, because I have seen them in action, and they do their job well. Just make sure that you’re using creams and oils which are pH neutral and baby-friendly.

      5. Love Your Body

      Not having the perfect body is a very small sacrifice when compared with what you get by giving birth. I know it can be really frustrating — I think my mother never got over her stretchmarks — but if you continue to dwell on it, the problem will only get bigger and bigger inside your head. Learn to love your new motherly figure because it gave you a child, if nothing else, and that’s definitely the biggest source of unconditional love.

      Allow these things go by in their natural course — your body is programmed for this process, and you need to allow it to react. Have in mind that your health is of vital importance to your baby and having to wait a few months longer to be satisfied with the reflection in your mirror is okay. Give yourself time.

      Featured photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/u/freestocks/ via pexels.com

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      Published on May 7, 2021

      20 Energizing Brain Breaks For Kids

      20 Energizing Brain Breaks For Kids

      From coaching martial arts to children as young as four years old, I very quickly came to the understanding that if I wanted to help kids progress their skills, I needed to find a way to help them focus more consistently in my class.

      There are two key ways I found when it came to improving my students’ level of focus:

      1. Make what we’re doing more interesting. Nothing is off the table here—from having ninja clowns on the rampage in a lesson to including popular games with a martial arts theme, tapping into the student’s love of fun to help them focus.
      2. Introduce brain breaks.

      Brain breaks are small mental breaks that help the kids stay more focused. Think of the brain as a fuel gauge that shows the information you can consciously hold in your mind at any given moment. When the kids are focused and working hard on their tasks, the meter is usually full. They can easily concentrate and pass experiences into their long-term memory.

      But when the needle starts to drop, you may observe that your kids are feeling anxious or looking restless. New information, experiences, and knowledge are not getting processed from the staging area or working memory into the long-term memory.[1]

      It’s here that brain breaks make the most difference, as they allow us to “top-up the tank” or reset the gauge so that we can continue to learn and focus and at a higher level.

      If you’ve been home tutoring, you’ll appreciate that brain breaks can help kids in many ways. They can reduce stress and frustration. Think of those times when you’re helping your kids solve a difficult problem. It’s taxing for you both and when compounded with the energy loss after a day at school or watching TV. The stress effect can be compounded, and it’s here that brain breaks can be a lifesaver.[2]

      The following is a selection of brain break ideas for kids. You’ll see that some are physical activities while others are more relaxing. It’s always great to test them out to see which ones connect the best with your children.

      It’s okay to repeat the same brain breaks. Having a clear name and mission to a break can help keep your child excited, knowing that they’ll have the opportunity to take part in a future round of the activity.

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      Active Brain Breaks

      Here are some active brain breaks for kids that you can try out.

      1. Swapsies

      Have the participants stand behind a chair. Call out a character trait, like “everyone with brown eyes.” You then swap places with someone else who has the same characteristic. If you have nothing that matches, you stay put!

      Examples: “Everyone with trainers on.” “Everyone who is left-handed.” “Everyone who is wearing yellow.”

      2. Dance Party

      Put five or six different types of songs on Spotify, including a classic like “baby shark or the hamster dance.” Dim the lights if possible and have the kids dance to the tunes. Then, change the tunes and change the dance style. It’s silly and fun.

      3. Freeze Dance

      Similar to Dance Party except that when the music stops, students have to stay perfectly still until the music restarts. You can make this even more fun by trying to make the students smile. If they smile, they are out and have to sit down.

      4. Keep It Up

      Students must keep a balloon from touching the floor. You can add multiple balloons. You can make it more competitive by having different balloons of two different colors and split people into teams. Whoever keeps the balloons up the longest or the team with the most balloons in the air with a timer of 60 seconds wins.

      5. Simon Says

      This brain break for kids is an old favorite. You can also mix it up with martial arts moves, Fortnite dances, superhero moves, etc.

      6. Animal Movement

      Move like different animals. It’s fun for younger children. We use Flamingo where you stand on one leg, crawl like a bear, stand like a meerkat, run like a cheetah, and walk like a penguin.

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      7. Find It Fast

      “Find It Fast” is a scavenger hunt variation. Call an item out in the room and kids have to stand by it. For example, find a clock, find something with a face, find something smelly, find some money, find a phone, etc.

      8. The Frog

      Physical Challenges can be excellent fun. We have one in the martial arts class called “The Frog” where you squat like a frog, then lean forward so your head and feet are off the floor. These are all old yoga poses, so have a look through a booklet or website for some safe ideas. Other examples are grabbing your nose with your left hand and touching your knee with your right elbow.

      9. Pizza Delivery Time

      Give the students paper plates and tell them to hold the plates above their head on a flat hand. They then run around the room and try to keep the plate in their hand. You can make it more challenging by having other students try to knock others’ plates off. There’s usually a 3-star jump penalty if your plate touches the floor.

      10. Limbo

      We use martial arts belts and the students take turns going underneath the belts. Fun music creates an awesome atmosphere here.

      11. Human Knot

      Split the group of people and have everyone link hands under and over. That’s making knots between everyone in the group. Have the other students try to untangle them and return everyone back into a circle.

      12. Feather Balance

      This brain break for kids works well with gentle music, and you can use a balloon or a straw if you don’t have a feather handy.

      13. Stack them high

      The students should have plastic cups and paper squares. The goal is to make a tower as high as possible, or it could be to make a triangle or even a pyramid.

      Relaxing Brain Breaks

      We talked about brain breaks for kids that are being used to energize the students. But they can also be used to calm and relax them. We’re more familiar with the term mindfulness, but it’s the same idea. These are brain breaks for kids that reduce stress and anxiety.

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      14. Meditation

      Meditation

      is a popular way to reduce anxiety. There are lots of great examples already pre-recorded on YouTube that you can follow along with. Below is a useful classroom meditation example.

      15. Kaleidoscope

      Kaleidoscopes are fun ways to relax. They are mesmerizing and like a peaceful vortex that sucks you into them. Below is a great example of a visual online one you can use.

      16. Reading/Listening to a Story

      When I surveyed the members of our martial arts club about how their kids employ brain breaks at home, there was a clear winner among the families—listening to a story or reading a story. The feedback was that the process of daydreaming a little helps the kids to recharge. But it goes without saying that the story needs to be engaging.

      17. Doodling

      My personal favorite way to brain break as a kid was to doodle. Doodling gives your child a few minutes to draw anything they want. It can be calming for them, and it’s a lot more fun if you have different types of pens or crayons available to use. Add some soft music, and you have a simple way to take some time to relax.

      18. Coloring Sheets

      Coloring sheets are another way to relax the mind. There’s lots of great coloring in pads available, but here are some links to public resources shared on the internet that are great examples.

      19. Deep Breathing

      Deep breathing

      is an epic way to help your child slow down. It is a quick way to relieve anxiety so that they feel more ready for the next task ahead.

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      Try this: put your hands on your tummy, breathe in through the nose, and feel your belly expand like a balloon. Hold it here, then slowly breathe out through the mouth while feeling your stomach get smaller. Repeat this 10 times. Use the following counts: breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and breath out for 4 seconds.

      20. Going Outside

      Go outside was the second most popular response from our parent’s survey about brain breaks for kids at home. Fresh air always feels nice. You can combine this with a treasure hunt, looking for different colored cars, types of birds, or even types of trees, if you’re familiar with these.

      My personal favorite is using a mushroom spotting app on our phones and finding a mushroom or toadstool, then using the app to identify its name. This is surprisingly engaging for children. But a few safety rules about not touching them is important. It gives kids a change of scenery and helps revitalize the senses, providing a welcome break from their homework.

      How Often Should You Introduce Brain Breaks?

      The key to brain breaks is their timing. If you can introduce them before you notice that your kids are entering deep fatigue or their loss of focus has set in. You’ll find a great balance between breaks and effort.

      I’ve observed from my martial arts coaching that younger students have a smaller amount of working memory than older kids. My formula is for five minutes of technical training, we provide five minutes of brain breaks for students under seven years old. Plus, we coach to 15 minutes of training to five minutes of brain breaks for children under 12 years.

      Final Thoughts

      Implementing calming brain breaks for kids is a really efficient way of introducing brain breaks. You have a quick way to allow your students to learn about regulating themselves. Balancing their mind and energy is a useful skill, and you can take this with you everywhere you go.

      Our martial arts center revolutionized our approach to coaching by using brain breaks for kids. We found that although we were teaching less technical skills, there was now consistent progress from the students. Plus, everyone was less anxious, happier, and are having more fun. This is a win overall.

      If you’ve been having challenges with your kids focusing at home, maybe try a mixture of the calming and active breaks to see which types work best for your kids.

      Featured photo credit: Robert Collins via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] SimplyPsychology: Working Memory Model
      [2] BrainFacts.org: Kids Need Brain Breaks — And So Do Adults

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