Being a stay at home mother to a young 18 month old boy I often feel exhausted, have low energy and have constant tightness in my neck, shoulders and back. After asking other mothers about their own energy level etc... I have come to realize I am not alone. So the big question is; "why are mothers so exhausted?" You might think as I did "I used to be busier before i had children and yet I feel more now, what's the problem?" I will endeavor to explain why mothers are so tired, frequently feeling sluggish, saggy, over weight and sore and how stretching can re-fuel the body with energy and life.
The first reason why your body feels different is you had a baby! Pregnancy is a rollercoaster ride for the human body. The body stretches, expands, joints become looser, muscles are stretched to their capacity and bones move. After pregnancy you have a different body, your body will never be the exactly the same because it has undergone an enormous journey.
The biggest mistake a mother can make is to just stay at home after they have had their baby and do nothing. Obviously there is a period of time which should be used to rest and recover but once you feel strong enough you must begin to engage in some sort of exercise,walking is a great place to start until you have built up the strength to do more. Without engaging in exercise you will not re-pattern the muscular pathways that have been stretched by your growing uterus. If these muscular pathways are not re-connected you will always feel weaker in your abdomen and have floppy abdomens. Weak abdomens will increase poor posture.
For those of you that have or are breastfeeding think about how many hours of your day consists of you feeding your baby. Breastfeeding often means you are sitting holding your baby as he/she feeds. Enlarged milk giving breasts are larger in size and heavier, therefore they are an extra stain pulling your spine forward. Breastfeeding can be a very enjoyable experience for the mother and baby but it can also cause neck, shoulder and back pain. The solution is stretch. Breastfeeding encourages the spine to be in anterior (front) bent over position allowing gravity to compress the spine. So much weight on the spine can cause facets of the ribs to shift causing muscles to knot and pain to erupt. By allowing your spine to revisit three dimensional movements will provide wonderful relief to aching areas. Stretching is a glorious tool. In this case any stretches that open up the sternum, perctoralis magjor/minor (Pecs), and abdominals will offer strength and relief to a compressed spine. Spiral stretches will really make your spine feel glorious and three dimensional.
If you are past the breastfeeding stage or have never breastfeed think about how many hours of the day do you spend sitting holding your child, playing with your child, on the computer or watching your child? For most mothers the majority of their day is spent in a slightly or for some a dramatically slouched position. Just like breastfeeding this will tighten certain muscles making bones to slightly shift causing tension and discomfort. Although a good massage from a therapist is often a wonderful experience for any mother an exercise program involving stretching will work wonders on a daily basis. Stretching will send oxygen to the muscles allowing them to become malleable, freeing up tension. Stretching will increase flexibility and agility. Stretching will train and remind your body to strive for good alignment, this will serve you daily as you sit and play with your child.
Energy is lost because muscles are over used and over excreted. Stretching can teach your muscles to work as a team, supporting each other. If you can provide you body with stretches that utilize its three dimensional nature and engage in exercise at least three times a week you will find you have more energy and less sore muscles.
By Worldwidehealth Editor
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