Monday, November 23, 2015

Gift Certificates

Looking for the ideal Christmas gift for a new mom or mom-to-be?

How about a Fit 4 Two Gift Certificate?  No waste.  No clutter.  Just fitness, fun and friends.

Contact your local Fit 4 Two franchisee for details.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Myth: Being on hands and knees causes Diastasis Recti



No hands and knees?

“I was at a workshop recently and the presenter said that being on hands and knees during pregnancy can cause an abdominal separation.  That is not what I learned at other workshops.  I’m confused.



Being on hands and knees during pregnancy improves circulation, reduces tension, strengthens upper body and may reduce low back pain.  Later in pregnancy, it increases the likelihood of optimal fetal positioning for labour and delivery. 

There is no research to support the idea that spending time on hands and knees during pregnancy can cause Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation). It is a safe position with important benefits.  If a woman enjoys it and finds it comfortable, there is no reason why she cannot benefit from this position during both exercise and rest.

If a pregnant woman does find being on her hands and knees uncomfortable, she should find a different position.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Myth: Twisting causes diastasis recti

When I became a certified pre and postnatal fitness specialist in 2002, my course manual said that twisting caused and worsened diastasis recti. Curious as to why, I scoured the sources at the back.  I couldn't find any backing up this claim.  I did my own research and still could not find a study that proved twisting during pregnancy could cause an abdominal separation.When I contacted the authors to ask about their source, they never returned my calls or emails.

I have seen this idea popping up again.  Genuinely curious to find out if there was now research to back up this claim, I again contacted the well-meaning individuals who were telling prenatal women that twisting would cause their abdominal muscles to separate.  


Guess what? Still no research.  In one case the author said it was her opinion and that moving forward she would make that more clear.  In the other case, the speaker said she wasn't clear and she had meant something else.  


Twisting is a normal movement pattern.  We need to twist in order to put dishes away, grab a file at our work station or pass a water bottle to our child in the back seat.  Gentle twisting during pregnancy flushes toxins, relieves tension, and improves mobility.  Our clients often sigh with relief as they gently ease into a twisting pose.

There is no research to support the idea that twisting during pregnancy can cause Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation). It is a safe position with benefits.  If a pregnant woman enjoys it and finds it comfortable, there is no reason why she cannot benefit from this position during both exercise and rest.


Monday, September 14, 2015

Myth: Pregnant women should continue with their pre-pregnancy exercise routine.

We read this a lot online.  

Where it comes from: The author is usually trying to communicate that it is safer for pregnant women to do things that they are used to.  This makes sense, but it is just half of the sentence.

Perhaps a better way to say it is...

Pregnant women should continue with their per-pregnancy exercise routine so long as it follows the guidelines for exercise during pregnancy.

and maybe add...

Previously inactive pregnant woman should ease into an exercise program that follows the guidelines for exercise during pregnancy
When we leave out the second half of the sentence we may be putting women at risk.  When we neglect to give guidance to women who were inactive before they became pregnant, we are preventing them from the many important benefits of an active pregnancy

There are specific guidelines for frequency, intensity, time and type for both cardiovascular exercise and strength training.  These guidelines apply to all healthy pregnant women with normal pregnancies.  Fit 4 Two recommends completing a PARmed-X for Pregnancy form with your doctor or midwife prior when making decisions about exercise during pregnancy.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Myth: All pregnant women should avoid overhead exercises

 


This myth of pregnancies past has begun popping up again.  

This concerns me because it makes pregnant women feel afraid to move normally.  


The three most common rationales I read online are (a) the pregnant woman might hold her breath and get dizzy (b) it causes too much intra-abdominal pressure and will therefore cause diastasis recti (abdominal separation) (c) it can cause the umbilical cord to wrap around baby's neck.  Let's look at at all three more closely.

Dizziness
  • Holding your breath while doing overhead exercises could cause dizziness.
  • Doing overhead exercises with a healthy, normal breathing pattern does not cause dizziness.  If it stimulates dizziness, something is else going on and the woman should see her healthcare provider.
  • All women, including pregnant women, benefit from maintaining normal range of motion such as moving ones arms above one's head.
  • All women, including pregnant women, need a strong and stable shoulder girdle in order to avoid injuries and to support every day movements such as putting dishes away in an upper kitchen cupboard.
Take Away: Most pregnant women benefit from many overhead exercises.  They should avoid holding their breath while exercising so they do not become dizzy.

Intra-Abdominal Pressure
  • Some overhead exercises engage the rectus abdominal muscles.  Ex. shoulder press
  • Some overhead exercises do not engage the rectus abdominal muscles.  Ex. tricep Extension
  • Women with diastasis recti should avoid exercises that engage the rectus abdominal muscles because doing so could worsen the abdominal separation.
  • Women without diastasis recti should continue with exercises that engage the rectus abdominal muscles  in order to prevent injury, reduce discomforts and maintain strength.  There is no research that demonstrates doing so will cause a separation.
Take Away: If a woman has diastasis recti, she should avoid exercises that engage the rectus abdominal muscles. If she does not have diastasis recti, then she should continue benefiting from a variety of exercises, including those which engage the rectus abdominal muscles. In either case, she should familiarize herself with the guidelines for exercise during pregnancy.

Remember! There is no research to back up the claim that diastasis recti is preventable.  If we are going to get it, we are going to get it. We only know how to prevent it from getting worse once we have it.  If research shows otherwise, I'll be sure to let our readers know.  

If you are not sure which exercises engage the rectus abdominal muscles, ask us.  We are always happy to help.  info@fit4two.ca 

Umbilical Cord Dangers 
  • There is zero, no, nil research connecting a pregnant woman moving her hands above her hard and her umbilical cord wrapping around her babies neck.  None. Nada.

Take Away: Pregnant women can dance to YMCA without putting their baby in danger.
 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Myth: Pregnant women should not do cow pose



No more Cow?

“I read online that pregnant women should not do the cow aspect of cat and cow because it can cause an abdominal separation.  Should I avoid doing cow with my pregnant clients?”
Cat and cow has long been a fan favourite combination among prenatal women.  It increases mobility, decreases discomforts, improves circulation, reduces tension, strengthens upper body and deep core muscles, encourages quality of breath and massages digestive organs.  Spending time on hands and knees later in pregnancy also increases the likelihood of optimal fetal positioning for labour and delivery. 

There is no research to support the idea that cow can cause Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation). It is a safe movement with a plethora of benefits.  If a woman enjoys it and finds it comfortable, there is no reason why she cannot do both cat and cow.

If a pregnant woman does find cow uncomfortable, suggest she try cat and neutral or doing pelvic tilts on elbows and knees. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Running with strollers. Safe or Not?

For many, a jogging stroller seems like the ideal way to get back in shape after having a baby. Once the stroller is paid for, running is an accessible, no or low cost exercise option.  What many parents-to-be don’t realize is that it might be quite some time before baby is old enough to come along for the ride.


When is it safe to run with baby in the stroller?
Organizations like Healthy Families BC recommend waiting until baby is at least one year old because “Infants have weak neck muscles and cannot handle the impact of jogging or jostling on bumpy trails.”  Safe Kids Canada states that “Jogging strollers should not be used until children are at least one year old. Children need good head and neck control to support a bike helmet and handle the movement and bouncing involved in the ride. It is recommended that a child in a jogging stroller wear a helmet as it will provide protection if the stroller was to tip over or collide with another hard obstacle. There are no helmets available for children under one year.”  Stroller manufacturers vary in their recommendations.



What should you tell you clients?
That’s up to you. At Fit 4 Two we promote informed choice. We give them the facts and allow them to make their own informed choices. 

What about at class?
Just like your clients have the right to make an informed choice, so do you.  At Fit 4 Two, because we are responsible for everyone’s safety during class, we ask moms not to run with their strollers in our programs.  We design our classes in such a way that this is very rarely an issue. At the same time, we do not pass judgment for what moms choose to do outside of class. 

How do you teach a solid stroller fitness class without stroller running?
You can design an awesome stroller fitness class without stroller running.  It just takes some planning.  We find that intervals of stroller power walking, cardio drills and strength training work really well.  When teaching your cardio drills, always show a low impact option first so that moms who are not ready to run/not wearing a supportive sports bra can still get in a good workout. Share and find stroller fitness teaching ideas here.

BONUS: Not running with strollers is GOOD FOR BUSINESS
Not all moms have jogging strollers.  If that is a pre-requisite for your classes you are going to lose potential participants.  Focus instead on designing classes that offer progressions and options so that everyone, regardless of fitness level, is being challenged appropriately. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Why Choose Prenatal Barre?



Prenatal Barre is quickly becoming one of our most popular classes. Women love it because they leave class feeling long and aligned.  Here is what some of our current participants have to say about Fit 4 Two Prenatal Barre.

“I came to Barre with Fit 4 Two because I wanted a fun but safe way to stay active throughout my pregnancy.”

"I thought that this class (Prenatal Barre) was well rounded, it covered a bunch of areas related to core, stretching, and preparation for pregnancy that I thought sounded really good.”

"I really felt that I was working out and not just stretching. It was so much fun being with other women and watching their progress and their bellies grow each week. Its a good group to attend when you’re pregnant.”








Monday, February 16, 2015

80% of parents think their kids are getting enough exercise

.... but only 7% of Canadian children are meeting the recommended amount of Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA) each week.  

What can we do about it?

1. Be Active
Kids do what kids see.  Some studies suggest that if both parents are active, their kids will be 5.8X more likely to be active themselves.

2. Be Active With Your Kids
Why not make family time + active time?  Check out Active for Life for some fun and realistic ideas for families of all ages and stages.  We are also big fans of the BC Healthy Living Alliance.

3. Support Your Kids in Sport
If your child wants to try a new sport, do your best to provide the opportunity.  If finances are an issue, check out programs like Jump Start and Kid Sport Canada  Most community and recreation centres also have access programs as well.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Overcoming Barriers


Research shows that certain barriers may hold pregnant women back from exercising throughout their pregnancies.  Fear, discomfort, younger children at home, lack of support from their partner and lack of role models are all common barriers.

What can women do to overcome these barriers?
Activity Patterns During Pregnancy (Mottola & Campbell 2003) found that factors correlated with women exercising throughout their pregnancies included post secondary education, no other children at home, being a non-smoker and regular involvement in recreational activities.

Education
Being aware of the benefits as well as the safety guidelines for exercise during pregnancy can reduce fear, increase awareness regarding potential reduction of discomforts through active living, and motivate partners to be more supportive.

Children
"In my experience, one of the most common and challenging barriers for second and third time moms is making time for fitness when they have a little one at home," says Fit 4 Two founder Melanie Osmack. Here are some creative ways to overcome this barrier:
Working Outside the Home Moms
  • Walk to and/or from work. 
  • Find a class or fitness facility close to work so you can do regular shorter workouts at lunch or right after work.
  • Schedule one night a week that your partner/friend holds down the fort so that you can enjoy the benefits and camaraderie of a prenatal fitness class
  • Invest in some basic home fitness equipment like a yoga mat and resistance bands.  Not sure what to do?  Book a session with a pre and postnatal fitness certified personal trainer to get your started on the right track.

Working in the Home Moms
  • Go for power walks or jogs with your young child in the stroller.
  • Take your child to the park and workout while they are playing.
  • Schedule one night a week that your partner/friend holds down the fort so that you can enjoy the benefits and camaraderie of a prenatal fitness class
  • Invest in some basic home fitness equipment like a yoga mat and resistance bands.  Not sure what to do?  Book a session with a pre and postnatal fitness certified personal trainer to get your started on the right track.
  • Join a mobile outdoor stroller fitness class that you can attend with a toddler.
  • Join a daytime postnatal fitness class while your child is at preschool.  Most postnatal fitness class instructors welcome prenatal women as well.

Discomforts
Pregnancy safe and specific exercises can actually help to prevent and manage many common prenatal discomforts.  Low back pain, the most common physical complaint of pregnancy, can be avoided and lessened through strengthening core muscles and stretching the lower back and hip flexors.  More details here.  An outdoor power walk has been known to ebb pregnancy-related nausea.  The list goes on.

Get Social
Prenatal specific fitness classes are a fantastic way to ensure a safe and functional workout.  However they are also an excellent way to meet other expecting mom, stay motivated and build community.  Feeling part of a group makes exercising regularly more likely.
What obstacles do you face and how do you overcome them?

________________

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Finding it difficult to stay disciplined with your pelvic floor exercises on your own? Feeling like you need more instruction and cues? You're in luck...there's an app for that! Download the Fit 4 Two-approved Pelvic Floor Trainer App and enjoy both visual and audio routines at your fingertips.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

5.8X

We make a pretty bold statement on our PEAM infographic: Children of active parents are 5.8X more likely to be active themselves.  This statistic came from Influence of parents’ physical activity levels on activity levels of young children (Moore et al). Interestingly, this is when BOTH parents are being active.  The same study states that if just mom is active, the children are 2X more likely to be active and if just dad is active the children are 3.5% more likely to be active.This highlights the importance of both parents being active role models whenever possible.

One of our favourite videos of a mom being an active role model is from England's recent campaign, 'This Girl Can'.  It is called Kelly Vs Mummy.  Watch it here.


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