Exercise! Where to start? If you can squat then you are activating your glutes…right? Wrong!
If you sit down a lot with incorrect posture, maybe slumped feeding the baby, or watching T.V or on our phone (pretty much the majority of us) then your muscles aren’t working as they should. This means when we go to squat our muscles aren’t firing as they should. Generally if we sit wrong, we stand wrong, and move wrong, therefore we exercise wrong!
Why exactly does your body do this? Why if you sit hunched does your body not straighten up? Why does it not tell you that the way you are sitting, standing, walking, lifting isn’t quite right?
It’s simple, your body can’t talk! The only way it can tell you something isn’t right is by giving you an ache or pain, which we often ignore. Instead then, what does your body do? Your body compensates for the incorrect movement pattern and recruits other muscles to give a helping hand. That then changes your posture, therefore changes your mind/body connection and therefore changes the way you move.
Have you injured yourself doing something easy like picking up a tissue from the floor or maybe sleeping wrong and wake up with a neck ache? Often it isn’t that specific movement that has caused the pain, it has been building up with your incorrect sitting/moving/exercising. That is the actual trigger.
I am not saying that we need to always have perfect posture, as there isn’t an ideal posture, we all have our own unique posture but often over the years our posture changes. We don’t realise the changes, the more rounding shoulders, the more forward head, the one shoulder higher than the other from carrying a bag or the one hip higher due to holding a baby on our hip for hours a day!
Trust me though. Look at a toddler and how they play in a deep squat, then look at an older child that sits at school all day, then older still and you will see their skeletal changes. Look at your kids and how they move compared to yourself. Our jobs/daily tasks are the cause of our muscular changes, we weren’t made to sit down at a desk all day, we were made to hunt for our foods and build our homes, that stretching, movement and hard work would have kept our bodies in a better alignment.
The other day I asked my 5 year old to step up on a high bench and here is what I noticed…he put his leg up, breathed as he lifted the other leg off the floor and activated his supporting glute muscle to assist him! It was amazing to watch. He did it by thinking about which muscles were going to assist him.
I then asked a 35 year old mum of 2 to do the same and on the same height bench as my 5 year old. She held her breath, felt it in her knees, didn’t activate her glutes and found it really hard! Why? Because during her everyday activities she isn’t using her glutes as she should, that’s because she has lost her mind/body connection. Does that make sense?
Through everyday tasks and work she has altered her posture over the years which means her muscles aren’t firing as they should to do simple tasks. Her body is therefore recruiting other muscles to help. What she did do was try to recruit her quads instead of her glutes and that’s why after years of squatting at gym classes this lady has bigger thighs and a flat bottom. No amount of squatting will help her until she starts to think differently about movement. Movement is after all exercise!
Another example, I asked my 5 year old again to pick up something from the floor, he did it by squatting right down, I asked a 29 year old lady to do the same and she bent forward and picked the pencil up using her back muscles! That is exactly how you get weak glutes! Our minds are clever and her mind chose the easiest option. Often the easiest is the laziest for our muscles. My 5 year old didn’t think of the easy/lazy way…he has energy to burn so chose to squat right down. This is exactly why as we age we get less flexible.
Now you try it.
What is the answer? More squats? Heavier squatting? More gym classes or a personal trainer?
What you need to do is FREE and readily available to YOU and everyone.
MOVE MORE is the key to less injuries, more flexibility and a healthier body. Getting a mind/body connection is Phase 1 of getting back to exercise after pregnancy (or during pregnancy). It is not about Yoga, Pilates or Strength Training once a week, it’s how you move every day that matters.
STOP, PAUSE AND ACTIVATE before you do any lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
I know you may feel scared to stop running, lifting, squatting or attending that gym class…but are you actually getting and seeing results? Sometimes it’s about not what you do but how you do it.
Supercharged Club really is here to help you with this. We run a series of programmes for antenatal and postnatal mums to help you become stronger so you can handle the physical demands of everyday motherhood. Take a look at some of our programmes to help you get started – and don’t forget to incorporate movement into your everyday activity.