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How To Safely Do Squats During Pregnancy

How To Safely Do Squats During Pregnancy!

Squats can be a great exercise during pregnancy because they not only help keep your legs, glutes + core strong, but they can also help alleviate hip pain, SI joint pain and rebalance your pelvis. Before you jump in, here are a few tips to keep in mind to safely do squats during pregnancy. 

  1. As you progress through your pregnancy, you may notice that you are not able to go as low into your squats as you previously have. That is absolutely ok! Make sure you are only moving through a range of motion that feels good for your body. 
  2. You should also never feel any pulling or tension in your low back. If you start to feel this, reconnect through your pelvic floor + deep core and shorten your range of motion. 
  3. Avoid tucking your bum and/or over-arching your back. This can cause your pelvic floor + deep core connection to shut off and put unnecessary pressure on your low back.

Parallel Squats
  • On your inhale, breathe into your sides and deep into your back.
  • On your exhale, lightly connect through the pelvic floor and low belly. 
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed and lengthening through the top of your head.
  • As you lower down, make sure your weight is evenly distributed through your feet (this includes your toes!)
  • As you come up, keep that light connection in your pelvic floor + low belly.
  • Use the muscles on the underside of your bum to help bring you up.
Medial Squats
  • Rotate your feet slightly inward.
  • On your inhale, breathe into your sides and deep into your back.
  • On your exhale, lightly connect through the pelvic floor and low belly. 
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed and lengthening through the top of your head.
  • As you lower down, send your booty back, avoiding any tension or pulling in your low back.
  • You want to feel some spreading of those sits bones (bony parts of your bum).
  • As you come up, keep that light connection in your pelvic floor + low belly.
  • Use the muscles on the underside of your bum to bring you up.
Wide Squats
  • Take your feet out wide.
  • On your inhale, breathe into your sides and deep into your back.
  • On your exhale, lightly connect through the pelvic floor and low belly.
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed and lengthening through the top of your head.
  • As you lower down, make sure your weight is evenly distributed through your feet (this includes your toes!).
  • As you come up, keep that light connection in your pelvic floor + low belly.
  • Use the muscles on the underside of your bum to bring you up.

I recommend doing 3 sets of 10-20 reps of each squat. This can help you stay strong, energized + feeling your best throughout your entire pregnancy! 

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What To Pack In Your Hospital Bag

What To Pack In Your Hospital Bag

As your due date approaches, it’s a good time to start packing your hospital bag. To ensure you, your partner and your new bundle of joy are as comfortable as possible, here are some essentials we recommend you include in your go bag.
Upon Check-In
  • Insurance Information
  • Photo ID
  • Birth Plan
Labor + Delivery
  • Massage aids/tools
    • Roller ball
    • Foam roller
    • Massage ball
    • Unscented lotion
  • Water bottle
  • Hair tie
  • Extra-long sheet for partner pressure relief
  • Birth ball (if your hospital doesn’t provide you with one)
  • Pair of socks for walking the hospital halls
  • Swim suit for hydrotherapy
  • Snacks (enough for you + your partner)
    • Honey sticks
    • Granola bars
    • Veggie + fruit slices
Postpartum
  • Nursing bras, tanks and/or bralettes
  • Nursing pads
  • Nipple cream
  • Breast pump (to learn how to use it, if applicable)
  • Robe
  • Zip-up hoodie or nursing cover up for easy access to feed your baby
  • Loose fitting clothes, preferably in black or dark color
  • Change of clothes for your partner
  • Padsicles (ice packs for your queen Victoria)
  • Normal toiletries for you and your partner
    • Shampoo + conditioner
    • Hair brush
    • Toothbrush
    • Toothpaste
    • Deodorant
    • Face wash
    • Lotion
    • Bath towel (optional)
  • Cell phone charger
  • Camera
  • Pillow (optional)
  • Other items for your partner
    • Laptop + charger
    • Books + magazines
For Baby
  • Undershirt + sleeper
  • Socks (if sleeper doesn’t have feet)
  • Going home outfit
  • Blanket
  • Infant car seat with instructions
  • Baby book for footprint (optional)
  • Hat and extra blanket for cold weather
  • Mittens to prevent him/her from scratching her face
  • Bath products for hospital to use (optional)
Most hospitals will provide you with a hospital gown, disposable underwear and sanitary pads during your stay. They usually also provide diapers, wipes, a bulb syringe, soap + circumcision supplies for boys (if applicable), undershirts, gowns and blankets for your baby. Check with your hospital to know for sure what they will and won’t provide you with so you know exactly what to pack in your hospital bag!

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Natural Induction Methods

Is There A Way To Jump Start My Labor Process?

As we enter those last weeks of pregnancy, it is completely natural to start researching different natural induction methods to help get the labor + delivery show on the road.

What are some natural induction methods?

Some of the most common methods include:

  • Prenatal Massage
  • Reflexology
  • Acupuncture
  • Exercise
  • Spicy Foods
  • Essential Oils
  • Membrane Stripping
Do these natural methods work?

Sometimes. Most of the methods listed above will not jump-start your labor until your body is actually ready.  If one or more of these methods does happen to get things moving, then great! But I do caution you that using these methods before your body is ready, can sometimes lead to unwanted interventions down the road.

If I did want to try one or more of these natural methods, when is a good time to begin?
  1. If you are 39-41 weeks pregnant and have already started to see signs of labor such as loss of mucus plug or patterned contractions then you could begin trying one or more of these natural induction methods.
  2. If you are having a bigger baby and your OB or Midwife has suggested natural induction methods to help get your labor started.
  3. If you are over-due and need a happy distraction from all the waiting!
Is it ok to wait until my body naturally goes into labor?

Absolutely! Your body has known exactly what to do up until this point. When it’s ready to start the labor process, it will get things moving. In the meantime, I highly recommend you enjoy those last few weeks or days with your partner and/or get some much needed rest + relaxation!

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Pelvic Floor Exercises For Pregnancy

How Do You Know If Your Exercises During Pregnancy Are Good For Your Pelvic Floor?

Before we jump into what exercises you should/shouldn’t be doing during pregnancy, let’s first talk about what your pelvic floor is and the role it plays throughout your pregnancy.

What Is The Pelvic Floor?

Your pelvic floor is much bigger than you may think it is. Think of your pelvic floor as a diamond that runs from sits bone to sits bone (bony parts of your bum) and from the front of your pubic bone to the back of your bum (anus).

What Does My Pelvic Floor Do During Pregnancy?

Your pelvic floor is essentially the base that is holding up your baby + everything else during pregnancy. As you progress through your pregnancy, your pelvic floor has to work harder and harder to hold up your growing baby bump.

Your pelvic floor also plays a major role in your labor + delivery process. Learning how to relax and release your pelvic floor can help you work with your contractions to ease your baby into the world with zero to minimal tearing.

How Do I Safely Engage, Relax + Release My Pelvic Floor?

I want you to sit tall to where it’s comfortable for you and close your eyes.

  • Relax your hips and visualize your pelvic floor spreading.
  • Breathe deep into your back, ribs and pelvic floor.
  • On your exhale, lightly draw that diamond (pelvic floor) together, zip up through your low belly and lengthen tall through the top of your head.
  • On your inhale, let everything relax + release.
  • Repeat multiple times throughout your day to begin creating that muscle memory.
What Exercises Should I Avoid During Pregnancy?

You want to avoid ANY exercise that puts unnecessary stress on your pelvic floor and impacts its function. If at any time you are doing an exercise and experience any incontinence (peeing your pants), stop doing that exercise immediately. Incontinence is your body’s way of telling you that you are putting too much pressure on your pelvic floor. You also want to avoid crunches all together during pregnancy. Doing crunches can shut off your pelvic floor and lead to incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and worsening of diastasis recti (abdominal separation). I also recommend women switch from running to walking as they progress into their pregnancy. While everyone’s bodies are different, the pounding from running can be too much for your pelvic floor to handle so make sure you are listening to your body and if something doesn’t feel good or you start to experience some incontinence (peeing your pants), then it’s time to switch it up!

To learn more, check out the Knocked-Up Fitness® Membership. It is full of great information, tutorials, nutrition tips and workouts that are bump-safe!

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Prenatal Vitamins: Why They Matter + How To Choose

We all know that Prenatal Vitamins are important. But which one is right for you?

Have you ever walked down the vitamin aisle and felt completely overwhelmed by the number of choices? There are so many options out there for prenatal vitamins these days that it’s hard to know which one is right for you.

We’re going to break it down for you from what to do pre-pregnancy to what to look for when selecting a prenatal vitamin!

Pre-Pregnancy. If you are currently trying to get pregnant or planning on starting a family within the next 6 months, it’s recommended that you start a prenatal vitamin now. Why? Because even with the best diet, many women are unable to absorb all the essential vitamins + minerals necessary to support a healthy pregnancy.

If you haven’t been taking a prenatal vitamin, don’t worry! You can start prepping your body for pregnancy, reducing the risk of birth defects and preventing the depletion of your own vitamins + minerals during pregnancy today! Before you start taking just any prenatal vitamin, we’ve put together a few helpful tips when selecting the best prenatal vitamin for you!

TIPS FOR SELECTING THE BEST PRENATAL VITAMIN FOR YOU!
1. Look for a supplement that has little to no iron.

Many women have a hard time breaking down iron and can get enough supplementation from foods such as spinach, lentils, pumpkin seeds, quinoa and red meat.

2. You want a prenatal vitamin with Folate Acid NOT Folic Acid.

Folate is a necessary vitamin in pregnancy that helps promote healthy growth and development but also works to promote ovulation and is the natural version of B6.

3. Choose one that is organic.

The reason this is important is that you avoid any unnecessary fillers and get the purest form of the vitamins + minerals.

Looking for suggestions? Here are 2 prenatal vitamins we recommend:
  1. Seeking Health Optimal Prenatal. This one requires a few pills a day, but it’s extremely high quality and comprehensive. Sarah Morgan is the creator of this product and you can learn all about the science behind her supplements on this episode of my Core Connections Podcast.
  2. Holistic Health Daily Best Prenatal. This prenatal vitamin includes a probiotic which can be extremely helpful during pregnancy. It’s also extremely high quality and comprehensive, but they do recommend you pair it with their Multi-Vitamin for maximum benefit.

Consistency is key when it comes to proper supplementation during pregnancy so make sure you select a prenatal vitamin that is right for you and your body!

Before incorporating any new supplements into your diet, always talk to your Primary Care Physician (PCP) first. They can advise you on how much to take, when to take it and if any of these supplements could potentially conflict with your current medications.  

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Geriatric Pregnancy Explained

We invited Natalie, a Certified Doula to talk with us about geriatric pregnancy. Together, we answer a lot of your questions and dive into a wide range of topics that can help educate, support + empower you to make the best decision for your body + your baby! 

Who is considered “geriatric” or of advanced maternal age?

Anyone who is 35 years of age and older and is pregnant. 

Does being “geriatric” or of advanced maternal age come with increased risk factors?

Yes and No. What we mean is there are a variety of other factors other than age that can impact a woman’s pregnancy. Your health, diet, lifestyle and weight all are contributing factors in determining the level of “risk” associated with your pregnancy. 

Some of the common risk factors that are associated with age are:

  1. Down syndrome 
  2. Pre-eclampsia 
  3. Still birth 

While looking at this list can be scary, I highly encourage you to do your research. The reason being is because when studies say “the risk factor goes up,” that can mean a variety of things. For example, the risk of still birth for women under the age of 35 is 0.6%. At 40, the risk goes up to 0.81%. While the risk does go up, the percentage is still a fraction of 1%. This isn’t the case for all risk factors associated with age, so definitely do your research and talk with your OB or Midwife. 

Should I have a planned C-Section knowing the risks prior to birth?

No. You can absolutely give birth vaginally if you are 35 and older.

If I am of advanced maternal age, should I choose to have the genetic testing done?

This is a personal choice and completely up to you. The most common genetic tests are done at around 10 weeks and again between 15-20 weeks. The first genetic test completed around 10 weeks checks for genetic disorders such as down syndrome and spina bifida. This test is around 99% effective. 

The second round of genetic testing is completed between 15-20 weeks and tests for the same thing along with a few more genetic disorders. This round of testing has around a 50% chance getting a false positive so definitely talk to your OB or Midwife prior to getting this done. 

What additional testing would I need to have done if I get pregnant and am over the age of 35?

There are actually no mandatory tests needed for women over the age of 35. You can choose to have the genetic testing done, but other than that, it completely depends on your health and your provider. 

Some providers will have anyone over the age of 35 go through stress tests beginning at 36 weeks and recommend induction at week 39. This completely depends on your provider, so be sure to talk to them to understand their policies and practices.

Is there an increased risk of postpartum depression, hormone depletion and burn out among those of advanced maternal age?

No, there isn’t any research out there that indicates a woman who is 35 years of age or older is at greater risk.

Do women who are 35 and older have a harder time with breast milk production?

No. Studies have found that women over age 35 actually have an easier time with milk production than those under age 35. 

If I am thinking about getting pregnant and am over the age of 35, are there things I should do proactively? 

Yes! The healthier you are, the better off you’re going to be. For all women over the age of 35, we recommend:

  1. Setting up an appointment with your Physician to do a full physical. 
  2. If you are overweight, obese or have a high BMI rate, try to lose some weight and change your diet to ensure you go into pregnancy as healthy as possible.
  3. Do your research. 

The more prepared you are with questions to ask your Midwife or OB about geriatric pregnancy, the more informed you’re going to be which will help you go into pregnancy with less stress and anxiety!

For help getting your health + fitness on the right track, check out the Knocked-Up Fitness® Membership. You’ll have access to workouts, tutorials, nutrition information, meal plans, recipes and so much more! Your two pre+postnatal coaches are also there to help answer questions, provide motivation and help guide you through every step of your pregnancy journey. 

Coach Annie Tinker is a Certified Birth Doula and mom of 1. Coach Jen has a strength and Physical Therapy background and is also a mom of 2. Jen, like many of us, was considered “geriatric” for both her pregnancies.

Both these women are fantastic resources for you to use while an active member of the Knocked-Up Fitness® Membership! If you want more information about geriatric pregnancy, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

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Getting Your Body Back After Baby!

How many of you are worried about getting your body back after baby? If you nodded your head yes, you’re not alone! We hear this from women all the time and want to give you some excellent advice to help you navigate the unchartered waters of postpartum.

Annie Tinker, Knocked-Up Fitness® Prenatal coach, certified Birth Doula and mom of a 2-year old, answers your questions about how to get your body back after baby. 

1. When is it ok for women to resume physical activity after baby?

Most women are told they can resume physical activity after their 6-week postpartum check-up. While this can be true, I highly recommend listening to your body. If you feel like your body is ready for some activity, start SLOWLY! I recommend beginning with some breath work to begin lightly activating your pelvic floor. This can also be a great stress reliever! 

2. How can women overcome this “go hard or go home” mentality?

Many women feel they need to punish themselves postpartum because they “let themselves go” during pregnancy or feel this intense pressure to look a certain way soon after baby. This mentality is dangerous because doing too much too soon can cause your body to start bleeding again or make any incontinence and/or Diastasis Recti worse. Instead, focus on listening to your body and slowing incorporating your Core Rehab workouts into your daily routine. I also recommend using visualization to focus on what your body should feel like verse what you want it to look like. 

3. What are some tips for women to slowly get back into their workouts?

These three videos These 3 videos are super important to watch right away: 

  1. Posture Video
  2. Walking Tips
  3. Picking Up Tutorial

All of these videos can be found in your Knocked-Up Fitness® Membership and can be a complete game-changer during your postpartum recovery. Your posture while walking, feeding your baby and picking up your new bundle of joy can impact your postpartum recovery. To help ease any aches + pains and support your body postpartum, I recommend doing some organic movements that feel good on your body. Some movements I love are pelvic tilts, cat cows and hip rolls if your body feels ready. You can also feed your baby on a birth ball to help create more strength + stability, all while working on proper posture. 

4. What role does nutrition, sleep and hormones play in postpartum recovery?

HUGE ROLE! Nutrients are super important because they can impact your milk supply and mood. Make sure you are fueling your body with organic high-quality foods. I also cannot stress enough the importance of getting good quality sleep. While this may be difficult because you are only sleeping in 2-3 hour stretches, try making the most out of those hours. Use a face mask, shut your phone off and create an environment where you can get a few hours of quality sleep.

Hormone shifts are going to happen, but getting good quality sleep and fueling your body properly can help you ride the wave much easier! 

5. How do people prepare themselves mentally for postpartum?

Preparing yourself mentally for how you’re going to feel after baby is crucial. I recommend setting aside time each day or week to learn about the postpartum hormone shifts and then using visualization to help you prepare. Visualize how you’re going to feel when you are stressed and sleep-deprived and then come up with a plan on how you can best handle those situations. The more you can mentally prepare yourself, the more relaxed and calmer you are going to be.  

6. Looking back at your postpartum journey, what tips can you give women who are about to embark on the same?

The first piece of advice I would give is to slow down. Looking back, I wish I would have had a simpler birth plan because it would have allowed me to relax more and not put so much pressure on myself.

Second, I would incorporate breath work first and then Core Rehab into my daily routine. As you get further in your postpartum journey, you can always add walking to your Core Rehab assignments, but I don’t recommend anything more strenuous because you could end up doing more harm than good.

Lastly, give yourself as much time as you need postpartum to simply do nothing other than focus on rest, taking care of your baby and savoring every moment in those first weeks/months postpartum. You have plenty of time to work on getting your body back after baby so focus on taking care of you and enjoying those amazing baby snuggles.

For more information, visit www.knocked-upfitness.com or email us your questions at [email protected]

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Tips For Managing Stressful Situations With Little Ones

How many of you have woken up with a sick baby lately? Or maybe you’re the one who woke up feeling like you just got ran over by a Mac truck?

When we encounter sickness, unforeseen obstacles or feel like the universe is working against us, here are 4 tips for managing stressful situations with little ones!

1. Call In Reinforcements

Reinforcements can be in the form of family, friends, a hired babysitter or neighbor you trust that can come help you for a few hours. Whether you need to run into the office for a few hours, get some work done from home, run errands or simply need some “you time”, don’t be afraid to ask for help!

If you are dealing with a lot of stress or feeling super sleep deprived because you have been getting up night after night with a sick baby, I strongly encourage you to call in reinforcements and take a few hours to yourself. Take a nap, go for a walk, do some Pilates or something you love that calms your mind. When you have time to yourself to destress, breathe and re-energize your body, it helps you be the best version of yourself in all other aspects of your life.

2. Breathe Before You React

One technique I use to help calm my mind, destress and not over-react is to breathe for 2 minutes. Yes, two whole minutes!!! Taking deep cleansing breaths in and exhaling the stress out can help you clear your head, destress and create space to come up with a Plan B or way to tackle what’s in front of you.

This is a productive and effective way to help you not only tackle unexpected events that arise with a sick child, but also manage stress when unexpected tasks pop up on your already lengthy “to-do” list.

3. Re-Evaluate Your To-Do List

Do you feel like your never-ending “to-do” list seems to loom over you day after day and even on the most productive days, it almost seems impossible to get everything done? I hear ya, mama!

While getting things done is necessary, we can’t let our lives be ran by a “to-do” list. When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, I recommend re-evaluating your list and asking yourself these questions:

  • Can it wait until tomorrow?
  • If it needs to be done today, can it wait an hour?
  • Can my spouse or partner take on these tasks?

Remember, you don’t have to tackle everything all at once. Whatever items on your list you have determined MUST be done today, move through them one at a time!

4. Communicate

Everyone has been through stressful situations in their life so don’t feel like you are alone. Communicate with your boss, co-workers, friends and others to let them know what’s going on in your life. I promise they will understand and in most cases, be willing to help you with whatever they can.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Asking for help doesn’t make you any less capable of taking care of your family. Use the above 4 tips for managing stressful situations with little ones whenever you begin to feel overwhelmed! I promise it helps!!

For more information, check out the Knocked-Up Fitness® Membership. You can find important information, tutorials, workouts, nutrition information and more!

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Secrets From Your Doula

Have you ever found yourself saying, “I wish I knew that earlier” or “I wish I knew that during my first pregnancy”? Whether this is your first, second or ninth pregnancy, here are 3 secrets from your doula that can help you feel empowered and informed throughout your pregnancy, labor + delivery! 

1: Everyone’s Experience Is Unique

If you’re like most women, you hear different stories from your friends + family about their pregnancy and birth experiences. The truth is…your experience is unique and will not be identical to anyone else’s. This goes for subsequent pregnancies as well. 

The best advice I can give you is to listen to your body and your own intuition. It will help guide you to make the best decisions that are right for YOU! This is YOUR experience and nobody else’s so don’t worry about what anyone else thinks or says. Be confident in your choices and know that you are doing what’s right for YOU and your baby!

2: You Have Options

During labor, you have a variety of comfort measures available to you, many of which hospitals will provide. Some of these options include: 

  • Birth ball
  • Peanut ball
  • Back massager 
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Dimmed lighting
  • Music
  • Essential oils
  • Sheet for hip + back release 
  • Snack options

Since every hospital has different rules, I recommend talking with the hospital staff where you plan to give birth to ensure you have a full understanding of what they will provide and what you can bring with you.

Getting this information sorted out early can provide you with enough time to find alternatives that the hospital will allow. 

3: Your Partner’s Role

While your partner doesn’t go through the physical, emotional or mental changes that you do during pregnancy, they can play a big role in helping you navigate these unchartered waters. They can provide emotional support during appointments and help you make decisions if the need arises. Your partner can also help support you during labor by doing one or more of the following: 

  • Massaging your back or hips during labor to help alleviate some of the tension
  • Give you water and small bites of food during labor to ensure you stay hydrated and you have the energy to keep going.
  • Provide positive emotional support to help encourage you along the way
  • Help ask questions and assist in the decision making if the need for intervention arises
  • Simply hold your hand and reassure you when you need it most

Allowing your partner to help you as much as possible not only makes pregnancy, labor + delivery more manageable for you, but it also allows them to feel more connected to you and your baby. Communicate with your partner to ensure they know exactly what role you want them to play and what you expect of them. The more you can delegate to others, the more you can stay focused on labor and delivering your beautiful new bundle of joy! 

While hiring a Doula may not have been something you thought of, I would highly recommend looking into it. If you can’t afford to hire your own independent Doula, some hospitals provide you with volunteer Doulas so make sure you look into your options. 

Use the above three secrets from your Doula to help you create your birth plan. I also recommend talking with your provider as well as doing your own independent research to ensure you are prepared as possible during labor, delivery and recovery postpartum!

For more information, check out the Knocked-Up Fitness® Membership!

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Postural Tips During Pregnancy

As your baby bump grows, your posture can shift, causing some aches + pains to creep in. To help you feel your best during pregnancy, here are some important postural tips to follow.

I invite you to do this exercise with me. Walk in place and then stop…

  1. Did your feet land naturally under your hips? If not, bring awareness to what your feet are doing. You want to feel your weight evenly distributed throughout both feet.
  2. Are you locking your knees? This is very common during pregnancy because of your growing baby bump. Locking your knees is the body’s way of cheating and puts unnecessary tension + stress on your low back. Start by softening your knees when you stand. This can help release your low back and allow you to connect through your pelvic floor and deep core more easily. 
  3. Lets talk about your pelvis. There is a lot going on in your pelvis during pregnancy.  You want to avoid tucking your bum because it shuts off your pelvic floor + deep core and forces your low back to do more than it should. Instead, I recommend connecting through the base of your pelvic floor, zipping up through your deep core and lengthening tall through the top of your head. 
  4. Are you rounding forward? To avoid this, focus on engaging your mid-back muscles. By lightly engaging your mid-back, you can use these muscles to hold up your neck and head, removing any tension. 

Use these postural tips during pregnancy when you are standing, sitting and moving throughout your day. By lightly engaging your pelvic floor and deep core, you can move more easily, sleep better and prepare your body for labor, delivery and recovery postpartum.  

Take what you’ve learned from today and apply it in this free pregnancy workout! Claim it at https://knocked-upfitness.com/free-workout/

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Astronaut Christina Koch Returns Back to Earth After Setting a Record-Breaking Space Mission of 328 Days

Astronaut Christina Koch, 40-year-old Expedition 61 flight engineer, has safely returned to Earth after making space history as the longest-ever single spaceflight by a woman. She was originally expected to compete a six-month mission, that was eventually extended by NASA, with a goal of collecting data on long-duration space flight effects on a woman (Robert Z. Pearlman, Space, 2020).

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Make it a Date: 5 Move Partner Workout

Working out with your BFF, another mama, or your partner can help you find extra motivation, have fun, and helps time pass quicker (which is especially nice when you’re struggling to get through a tough rep that’s wearing you out!) Grab your bestie and do this bodyweight workout built for two…

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31 Ways to Do You This New Year

2020 is your year to shine. It’s time to say goodbye to 2019 and hello to a new decade. What’s the first step in doing so? Committing to simple daily check-ins with yourself. Doing things that raise your spirit, that honor your body, that serve your well-being, and that lift you up.

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Holiday Hostess with the Mostess Essentials

’tis the season for hosting holiday parties and family get-togethers. Whether you’re planning a sugar cookie decorating event, gingerbread house competition, Christmas Eve party, or New Year’s Eve bash, we’ve rounded up our favorite items for welcoming friends and family into our homes.

8 Fitness Experts You Must Follow On Instagram In 2019

Here are some of the top fitness accounts on Instagram, who don’t just post selfies and bootie shots….

1. Ben Carpenter (@bdccarpenter)

Ben constantly posts quality nutrition advice in the form of helpful studies (without the science babble), videos and the odd infographic. Worth a follow!

 

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2. Scott Baptie (@ScottBaptie)

Sorry, this is shameless but I can’t do a round-up without including me in it. Recipes, fitness infographics along with cute dog and baby photos.

 

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3. Nichola Ludlam-Raine (@nicsnutrition)

Nic is a dietician specialising in bariatric surgery but her IG feed is packed with tasty recipes and useful nutrition tips.

 

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4. Graeme Tomlinson (@thefitnesschef_)

Aberdeen lad Graeme has risen to fame with his excellent infographics dispelling myths left, right and centre. Watch out for his new book coming soon!

 

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5. Lucy Mountain (@lucymountain)

Previously thefashionfitnessfoodie – Lucy posts some beautiful graphics challenging clean-eating BS and challenges many other wrongly held ideas in the fitness industry.

 

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6. Dr Joshua Wolrich (@drjoshuawolrich)

NHS Surgical Doctor fighting weight stigma also been on the podcast chatting about celery juice: FFF 138: Calling BS On Celery Juice, Alkaline Cleanses & Raw Keto Vegan Paleo Carnivore Diets On Instagram – with Dr Joshua Wolrich

 

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7. Aadam Ali (@physiqonomics)

When a fantastic illustrator is also a fitness expert you can be guaranteed the IG posts are going to be superb.

 

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8. Megan Rossi (@theguthealthdoctor)

Dr Megan Rossi (PhD, RD, APD) is the queen of gut health. Her page is packed full of helpful info if you want to get that good gut feeling.

 

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How To Get More Steps Into Your Day When You Have A Sedentary Job

Whatever industry you work in, you know the aches and pains of staying in one place for too long. It’s a common misconception that standing all day is physically more difficult than sitting all day. But with new data showing that our sedentary lifestyles have lasting negative impacts, which one is right?

It turns out, both sitting and standing all day can cause serious health problems. The best way to stay healthy at work is to alternate. But how do you stay productive while making sure to give your body what it needs? The answer is in movement.

The Office Revolution

There are definite upsides to our modern life. You can get to where you’re going without breaking a sweat, in your car or by public transport. We work indoors, instead of long, punishing hours in all weathers.

But the impact that this sedentary lifestyle has had on our bodies doesn’t suggest that we’ve found a way to a healthier workday. From long-term effects caused by slouching in front of the desk, eye strain, headaches, higher cholesterol, and even depression and insomnia, your office job comes with a lot of strain on your health.

Demanding Physical Jobs

Recent data would suggest that the trick is to ensure you’re standing more. Standing and treadmill desks in offices are considered a great way to keep you from spending too much time sitting at a desk. And it is true that finding ways to get your workout in is becoming easier, thanks to desk-sized workout equipment, and a renewed interest in physical fitness at the office.

But the reality is that standing too much at work can also cause problems. These could include:

  • Blood clots
  • Varicose veins
  • Bunions, corns, and other painful foot conditions
  • Problems with posture
  •  Chronic pains, especially of the lower back and hips, leading to musculoskeletal disorders
  • Increased risk of heart conditions

… and more.

As you can see, there are upsides and downsides to both sitting and standing jobs. The takeaway seems to be that staying still in any job will result in everything from heart problems, musculoskeletal conditions, and even negatively impact your mental health.

So what choices do we have? Before you decide to make a drastic career change for the sake of your health, consider these tips for staying healthy while at work, no matter whether you’re sitting or standing.

Keep Moving

a man walking down the prairie as the sun goes down, weight loss

Based on the data we have, the answer isn’t as cut and dried as swapping sitting for standing and vice versa. Instead, work toward a more flexible workplace, which incorporates both. If you need to be standing, try to stay on the move as you do it.

Standing desks sound like a good idea in theory, but they come with some health risks of their own. Treadmill desks are a good way to keep moving and create a healthier office atmosphere.

For more demanding jobs, such as those in the service sector, keep an eye on your break times, and when there’s a lull, choose to sit, rather than standing in place.

Eat Sensibly

Vegetable sandwich and engriendients on a wooden table, useless supplements

Sticking to fast food options for your lunch break just increases your risk of heart conditions, high cholesterol and other health problems. Choose healthy options for your at-desk meals and snacks, and try to bring a lunch from home, or think outside the takeout box. Does your office offer free coffee? Remember to stay hydrated. Cut down your caffeine, and drink more water instead. And remember to take time to eat a healthy breakfast before going into work!

Find Ways To Work Movement Into Your Day

When it comes to staying healthy, it’s the little choices that matter most. Finding ways to work movement into your schedule can help mitigate the effects of staying in one position for too long. There are plenty of surprisingly creative ways to work movement into your workday. Try these, and find what works for you:

  • Park further away from the building
  • Take the stairs
  • Invest in an under-the-desk elliptical machine, a fitness ball or a wobble cushion
  • Take a walk during your break
  • Every time you go to the toilet, drink a glass of water. This will not only keep you hydrated, but will also encourage frequent toilet breaks
  • Use a productivity app: these time you when you working on a specific task, but give you regular 5-minute breaks as well. During these breaks, you can walk, stretch or even perform some mini-workouts

Think about your work environment and where you can reasonably incorporate more movement into your schedule. It may not seem like much, but making sure to keep moving can have a huge impact over time. Researchers have learned that ideally, you should be incorporating movement into your workday every 30 minutes.

Take Shorter Breaks More Often

Meal time with alarm clock, breakfast

Whether you’re working a sitting or standing job, how you take your breaks matters. If you’re taking your break at your desk, chances are, you’re still operating in work-mode, which means you’re not giving your body or brain the break it needs.

Longer breaks mean less opportunity to recharge your brain. Instead of going for an hour-long meal break, talk to HR about taking two shorter breaks, if your schedule will allow it.

If you’re tied to the longer single break, make use of it. Distract yourself from work. If you’re in a sitting job, get up, take a walk. If you’re standing all day, take the time to actually sit (or lie) down, get off your feet, and recharge your mind.

Take In The Scenery

back view of a lady sitting on a beach facing the sea, Mentrual cycle

Even if your break involves sitting, there’s plenty of research that shows off the health benefits to time outdoors. Time outside reduces stress, the effects of inflammation, and chronic pain, and even boosts your immune system.

If you can find a way to take your lunch break outside, or simply park further away, to get in your fresh air and exercise, it can help deal with the problems of being on your feet, or sitting in an office all day.

Most importantly: Talk to Your Employer

Sometimes, staying on your feet, or spending hours hunched in front of a computer screen is unavoidable. A big project is due, you’re gunning for a promotion, or you’re simply too busy to take breaks.

But that’s not always the case. Not moving for a prolonged time is often not necessary at all, and certainly not worth the potential health issues. When you’re feeling overloaded, chained to your office, take the time to talk to HR.

Often a simple change in the schedule can lead to better results, for you and your job. After all, no one wants chronic pain, a lower immune system, or stress to impact your work. You’d be surprised how willing your workplace is to be flexible about your schedule, and your health concerns. After all, you are your employers most valuable asset. As your health is yours.

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How to improve your cholesterol: Seven big myths DEBUNKED

Being healthy in 2019 is becoming the default norm but – if you’re new to the game – knowing what to do about it can get a little confusing.

Low calorie diet or low carb?

Long-distance running or yoga?

When it comes to cholesterol things get particularly tricky.

Most people aren’t exactly sure what cholesterol really is and, even if they are, there’s a lot of complex information out there that makes knowing how to keep cholesterol under control harder.

In this article we’ll tackle some of the myths that circulate about cholesterol, so you know exactly what you need to do to stay happy and healthy. Let’s go.

Myth #1: All cholesterol is bad cholesterol

Firstly, when we think of cholesterol it’s easy to assume that it’s one thing – and that thing is definitely very bad.

This isn’t quite the case.

There are actually a few different types of cholesterol and, for some of these, it’s important to have more not less. In essence, cholesterol is a fatty substance produced by the liver which carries out a range of important processes in our blood. We all need some cholesterol.

One type of cholesterol however is more beneficial to us than others. HDL cholesterol is the type we should be aiming to increase, whereas LDL cholesterol is the kind we shouldn’t have too much of.

There are also other types of cholesterol that can be problematic. These are all referred to as non-HDL cholesterol. The British Heart Foundation are working hard to fund and lead research into good and bad cholesterol, and working on ways to reduce the risk high cholesterol poses, leading to heart disease and more.

Myth #2: Cholesterol depends on what we eat

Until recently, it was thought that cholesterol gets into our system from the food we eat. As a result, people were told not to eat foods with high levels of cholesterol.

Things like shellfish, avocados and eggs are all high cholesterol foods. Hang on, no avo on toast? Sit tight for a minute.

We now know that our cholesterol levels are not affected by eating foods like this so, when it comes to high cholesterol foods to avoid, it’s more about the type of fat they contain rather than their cholesterol content.

Very good news for avo on toast fanatics.

Foods high in saturated fat will increase our LDL cholesterol levels whereas foods high in unsaturated fat will increase our HDL cholesterol levels.

Myth #3: You’ll know if you have high cholesterol

The problem with having high cholesterol is that you often don’t know about it.

Occasionally people will get external signs, like lumps around their eyes, but most of the time you can be walking around with sky high levels of bad cholesterol and not be aware.

That’s why it’s important to get it checked out by a health professional and see what your levels are. Knowledge is power.

Myth #4: Everyone has high cholesterol – it’s no big deal

Shocked confused young woman with opened mouth and raised hands holding copyspace on both palms over yellow background

It’s easy to feel like this when you hear about cholesterol all the time and talk to other people about their cholesterol levels.

But if you’re relating to this right now, you need to check yourself.

Having high cholesterol has become common – but it’s still just as problematic in the long run. Always take the issue seriously.

Some people in the UK that don’t even know they have a cholesterol disorder but, if you think it could run in the family, you should chat to your doctor. They will also be able to talk to you about the particular risks of having high cholesterol, depending on your health status.

They’ll also tailor advice about options if your cholesterol is raised, including whether you should try medication.

Myth #5: You can completely control your own cholesterol

Protein foods, sliced of red meat, fish, nuts, grains, fruits, fruit and chocolate protein shakes, protein powders beautifully arranged on the table, Menstrual cycle

Taking action to improve your health including reducing LDL cholesterol levels is really important, but it’s worth also noting that cholesterol isn’t only determined by the things we can control.

There are lots of different reasons why you might have problems with cholesterol – including your age, ethnic background and family history. Other health problems, such as an underactive thyroid gland and liver disease, can also cause your levels to go up.

However, we can still make a difference. Cholesterol levels are, in part, determined by diet (see above), not getting enough exercise, smoking and having too much body fat especially around your waist.

So, pull your belt in, and start doing some good.

Myth #6: It’s really difficult to find out my cholesterol levels

This is another important myth that needs busting. And, to be honest, it feels more like an excuse than a myth too.

A lot of people put off checking their cholesterol because they think it’s going to be a very complicated process. In fact, for most people over 40 or 45 (depending on your local area) an NHS Health Check at your local GP surgery should do the trick, and your cholesterol will be checked on the spot.

That means no waiting for blood test results to come back, they can tell you then and there. You don’t need to fast before the test, it’s literally just about booking an appointment and turning up.

This is a really great thing to do as it gives you an overall picture of your health and you’ll get advice on things to improve.

Myth #7: Exercise can’t shift cholesterol

When people think about controlling cholesterol, their mind often turns to changing diet and taking medications.

But exercise is also a really important factor.

Keeping active, whatever your age, can have a significant impact on your cholesterol levels, bringing down bad cholesterol and raising up good cholesterol. The NHS recommends getting at least 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise every week, and that means something that increases your heart rate and gets you out of breath.

Walking to the shop to pick up an avocado doesn’t count.

This should then be combined with exercise that helps strengthen muscles, like yoga, weight lifting or simply carrying heavy shopping bags on your walk home. Then that’s okay.

So, seven myths about cholesterol debunked – with everything you need to know about why they aren’t correct. Now you know the truth about high cholesterol foods, what affects your cholesterol and what you can do about it.

Remember, raised bad cholesterol levels can cause issues in the long term so it’s important to know your status and take action if required. This doesn’t need to mean changing your whole life or living like a monk, small simple changes can make a big impact, keeping you healthy and happy for longer.

The post How to improve your cholesterol: Seven big myths DEBUNKED appeared first on Food For Fitness.