Stretch Sequence For Stress Relief, Mobility & Flexibility

This stretch sequence is a full body program that will not only provide your body with movements that assist with mobility and flexibility, but also provide your body with an opportunity to relax and recover.

When I am dealing with a stressful time, and my body is telling me to slow down, I find this sequence helps me to take a moment, breathe and be kind to my body.

However, this sequence can be used as a recovery workout during your week. It is important to include such sessions in your week to assist your body in remaining supple to cope and benefit from your other, more strenuous or higher intensity workouts.

And, for new mums with young babies, when you are feeling fatigued or are running on little energy or sleep, sometimes a nice, gentle full body stretch is what is required to stimulate the muscles, and stretch out tight spots from awkward postures that motherhood brings. This sequence will also give you the benefits of relaxation and deep breathing, which will help with any anxiety or feelings of stress that you may be feeling.

Given that we are holding the stretches a lot longer than normal, this enables us to go deeper with the stretches, which will also stretch the fascia, which is a type of connective tissue that runs in and around your muscles.

During each stretch I take the opportunity to close my eyes, slow my breathing and focus on my breath or visualise a place or situation which brings me calm and joy.

Move through the sequence 1 to 3 times, depending on your available time.

Be gentle with your body and only take each stretch to the point of tension. Then, if through your breathing, the muscle relaxes, only then take the stretch a bit deeper.

Length: 30 – 45mins       Intensity: Low

Equipment Needed: Chair, Stopwatch or Clock, Towel, Theraband or Strap, Cushions or a Mat for comfort

If you would like to view the video of this stretch sequence please click here .

Lower Back Stretch 

Lie on your back with your knees bent so that your feet are flat on the floor.

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Gently grab both your knees and pull them slowly up toward your chest. If you feel discomfort in your knees doing this, hold the backs of your thighs. Keep your neck and shoulders relaxed.

 

 

Slowly straighten your arms, img_5885continuing to hold onto your knees, as you breathe out.

Repeat 10 times

 

 

Lying Spinal Rotation

Lie on your back with your knees bent so that your feet are flat on the floor, and your knees and feet are together. Take your arms out to the side so that your arms are resting on the floor, half way between your hips and your shoulders.

img_5887Gently drop you knees to one side, and, if more comfortable turn your head to look the opposite way. Hold for 1 to 2 breaths. Then gently drop you knees to the other side, and turn your head to look the opposite way.

Only drop your knees until you feel a gentle stretch. If you feel discomfort in your back, straighten the bottom leg.

Hold each side for 5 counts – Repeat 10 times each side

Quad/Hip Flexor Stretch

img_5875Using a chair, couch or bench, place one foot on the edge. If necessary place a cushion or folded mat under that knee for comfort.

Bring your other leg to 90 degrees at the hip and the knee. Keep the torso vertical, and your back hip over your back knee. The back leg is the leg that is being stretched.

Ensure you gently brace your abdominals and squeeze/activate the buttock muscle on the back leg.

Hold for 2 minutes each leg

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Option 2 (on video):

If you do not have a chair, use the same hand as the back leg to assist the stretch.

Hold for 2 minutes each leg

 

Option 1 (on video):  If this stretch is too intense or causes discomfort in the back leg, try this variation:

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As I am not lifting the back leg, I have pushed my hips forward to increase the stretch.

Before pushing forward, ensure you have lengthened your back by doing a slight tuck under with your pelvis.

Hold for 2 minutes each leg

Glute/Buttock Stretch

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Prone Glute Stretch – bend your front leg at the knee. and push your back leg out behind you. Keep your hips even and square to the ground. Fold your body over your knee and relax.

Hold for 2 minutes each leg

 

If the prone glute pose is too intense, do the lying glute stretch.

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Lying Glute Stretch – Lie on your back, with both knees bent. Cross the ankle of one leg over the upper thigh, just above the knee, of the opposite leg. Lift the lower leg off the ground, and let the knee of the top leg drop away from the body. Keep your head and shoulders relaxed and on the floor.

Hold for 2 minutes each leg

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For a more intense stretch, grasp the shin of the lower leg with both hands.

Hold for 2 minutes each leg

 

Hamstring Stretch

(use a towel, strap or theraband to assist with this stretch)

Lie on your back. Hook the towel/band around your foot, and pull your foot towards your face and straighten your leg until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your leg.  The position of the other leg is dependent on how tight you are.

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Keep the other leg bent if you are tight.

 

 

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To increase the stretch lengthen out the other leg.

Hold for 2 minutes each leg

 

ITB Stretch (use a towel, strap or theraband to assist with this stretch)

img_5879From the Hamstring Stretch, take both ends of the towel/band in the opposite hand, and pull the leg being stretched across your body. Pull the leg slightly towards your shoulder.

If you wish to add more intensity to the stretch, pull the hip of the leg being stretch back towards the ground, while maintaining the stretch.

Hold for 2 minutes each leg

Back & Butt Stretch

img_5788Sitting on your heels, spread your knees so they move away from your body.

Allow your feet to move into a comfortable position, but so that your toes are touching or almost touching.

Push your butt back over you heels, aiming to sit on your heels, while pushing your knees apart.

Fold over your knees, towards the ground, while keeping your butt over or on your heels.

Hold for 2 minutes 

If you would like to view the video of this stretch sequence please click here .

 

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Jody is a pregnancy and post-natal specialist, with tertiary qualifications in exercise science and registered as a Level 3 Exercise Professional with Fitness Australia.
Jody is also a mum of two small children under 5, and therefore understands the demands and challenges of being a mum.
Jody is passionate about educating, energising and empowering pregnant and post-natal women through the provision of safe but effective exercise programs and fitness sessions.
Contact me today to see how I can help you with your fitness and health!
Disclaimer: This article is advice only. All individuals should discuss the suitability of their health and exercise program with their doctor, exercise professional, physiotherapist or midwife.
For further advice about your individual fitness needs, speak to a pregnancy and post-natal exercise professional, women’s health physiotherapist or health professional.

3 Simple Ways To Manage Your Stress

Well, I can’t believe that Christmas is only weeks away. And, I don’t know about you, but my calendar is already being filled with end of year events, school assemblies, Christmas activities and, some where in all that, ensuring Santa visits our home this Christmas!

This is the time of the year where we are so busy that we don’t really have a chance to stop and breathe. And, this can be a time of much stress for many of us (even if we don’t admit it!) as we are pulled in so many directions during what is supposed to be a season of “joy”,”peace” and “good will to all”.

So, this really is a good time to remind ourselves how important it is to look after our emotional wellbeing and manage our stress levels.

Our emotional wellbeing is just as important, if not more important, than our physical wellbeing. And if we are emotionally not in a good place, then, let’s face it, our physical wellbeing suffers.

For anyone who knows me well will know that I have truly high expectations of myself, and those closest to me. And, being a perfectionist means that for many years I have put a lot of pressure on myself, causing myself much stress, and, as a consequence my health has suffered.

I have been on my own journey this year. A journey to become a healthier, happier, less stressed version of me.

And, until this year, I really did not understand or appreciate just how much chronic stress impacts on your hormones – do you?

[Check out this YouTube video by Naomi Judge where she explains the interaction between stress, your thyroid, blood sugar, progesterone and estrogen.]

So, this month, I really want to share with you 3 simple ways I have learnt to help look after my emotional wellbeing, particularly managing my stress that, as mums, we face every day…

1. Include Movement and Exercise In Your Life

In a recent article in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise it has been demonstrated that it is important to stay fit, particularly in relation to ones cardiovascular fitness, especially during periods of high stress.

The researchers demonstrated that the relationship between an individual’s perception of stress and cardiovascular risk factors is moderated by fitness.

When an individual is stressed, they also generally suffer from impaired mental well-being and an increase in depressive symptoms. Stress also raises the likelihood of cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure and an unfavourable blood lipid profile.

shutterstock_196137764Interestingly, it is generally during periods of high stress that individuals reduce the amount of time they participate in exercise. Sound familiar?

Therefore, being in good shape, and including some form of movement or exercise in our daily routines, especially during periods of high stress, is so important for our health, both our physical and emotional health.

2. Take Time To Be Mindful

Over this past year I have really become so very aware of just how powerful our mind, in particular, our thoughts, impact the way we feel every day.

And, more importantly, I have truly come to appreciate how we really do have a choice every day as to how we approach the day no matter what is going on. This might be obvious to many, but it’s taken me almost 39 years to really understand the power of the mind.

As part of this, I have learnt to enjoy more quiet time – whether it be through movement and exercise, yoga, meditation or a simple walk outdoors. And, I encourage you to do the same.

shutterstock_324606446Meditation is a wonderful stress management tool to have in your emotional wellbeing toolbox. And, I have found, it is following these brief moments of being still and in the moment that I have more clarity and the answers to so many different issues become clear.

And, it is when you have clarity, you really do appreciate all that is good in your life and that there is a way forward, no matter what the situation.

However, if meditation is really not for you then just breathe, keep a gratitude journal, or find an activity where you can just be present in the moment, such as going for a walk and being aware of all the sights, sounds and smells.

3. Discover The Amazing Benefits Of Pure Essential Oils

The scent of smell is very powerful. It has been shown to have effects on mood, stress and feelings of anxiousness. Why? Well when we inhale scents and smells, they communicate with the olfactory system that then stimulates our limbic system, which is responsible for basic emotions and drives memories.

Therefore, img_4818when we diffuse or inhale pure essential oils, such as lavender and lemon, studies have shown, and from my own experience, theses scents can help to relieve stress and anxiety. They also help with relaxation and improve the ability to focus.

Learning the benefits of the many gorgeous pure essential oils available, and how blending them can provide support when your feeling stressed to relax and balance, or, if your mood is low, to uplift and energise, is a wonderful way to manage your stress and support your emotional wellbeing.

 

Please know – not all stress is bad. In fact, we do need some stress to ensure that we know how to act in the moment and fast if necessary.

However, excess amounts of stress, especially over a long period of time, can harm our health. And, in reality, no amount of nourishing food or supplements are going to make a difference if you do not learn to manage your stress. And if you do not include some form of regular stress management in your daily routine, you will simply be sabotaging your efforts with exercise as well. Believe me – I know!

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Jody is a pregnancy and post-natal specialist, with tertiary qualifications in exercise science and registered as a Level 3 Exercise Professional with Fitness Australia.
Jody is also a mum of two small children under 5, and therefore understands the demands and challenges of being a mum.
Jody is passionate about educating, energising and empowering pregnant and post-natal women through the provision of safe but effective exercise programs and fitness sessions.
Contact me today to see how I can help you with your fitness and health!
Disclaimer: This article is advice only. All individuals should discuss the suitability of their health and exercise program with their doctor, exercise professional, physiotherapist or midwife.
For further advice about your individual fitness needs, speak to a pregnancy and post-natal exercise professional, women’s health physiotherapist or health professional.

Lemon – The Oil of Focus

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Lemon essential oil is one of the most versatile of the essential oils, with multiple benefits and uses. Taken from the rind of the lemon, this essential oil has uplifting, invigorating and refreshing properties.

Lemon naturally cleanses the body & aids digestion. Simply add a drop or two of Lemon essential oil to still or sparkling water and sip throughout the day.

I love to start my day with a glass of water, a drop of Lemon essential oil and some organic lemon slices so I obtain all the health benefits lemons provide.

Some other ways to use your lemon essential oil are:

During Pregnancy: Use to assist in easing constipation and help support the body in its circulation of excess fluid, therefore assisting the body in reducing swelling/edema.

Supports Healthy Respiratory Function: Take internally, with lavender and peppermint, to assist with seasonal respiratory discomfort. Or diffuse the same blend of oils to ease any respiratory discomfort.

Diffuse: To create an uplifting and energising environment. It has been shown to improve mood, nourish the mind and assist concentration.

Natural Cleaning: Add Lemon oil to a spray bottle of water to clean tables, countertops, and other surfaces.

Simply add a few drops to olive oil to clean, protect, and shine wood finishes.

Lemon oil is a great remedy for the early stages of tarnish on silver and other metals.

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Emotionally lemon is the oil of focus. It nourishes the mind and aids concentration. The crisp scent of lemon improves the ability to focus. Lemon dispels confusion and bestows clarity.

 

 

Would you like to know more about doTERRA® essential oils and products…..

If you’d like to learn more about doTERRA® therapeutic essential oils and how you can use essential oils to support you and your family’s health and wellbeing, contact me to have a chat or go to my doTERRA®website to find out more about doTERRA®.

Disclaimer: All information provided are recommendations & advice only. All individuals should discuss the suitability of their health and exercise requirements with their doctor, exercise professional, physiotherapist, midwife or health professional.
For further advice about your individual health, wellness and fitness needs, speak to a health professional, women’s health physiotherapist and/or pregnancy and post-natal exercise professional.

Sunshine Beach Run 2017

The Sunshine Beach Run is back for 2017!

And we had so much fun last year, that we have decided to be part of this amazing event again!

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On Sunday, 19 February, 2017 at City Beach, join “Team MumaBubs” to walk or run 1km, 3km or 5km.

Join us with your families at the 6th Annual Sunshine Beach Run and support Red Nose (formerly known as SIDs & Kids) continue their research, education and bereavement counselling services for WA families experiencing the sudden and unexpected loss of a child to miscarriage, stillbirth or SIDs.

This amazing event is a wonderful family event raising funds for a very important cause!

Click here to register as part of “Team MumaBubs”.  Early Bird entry closes 21 January 2017! However, if you’re like me and never quite get back to things (blame mummy brain!), if you are planning on joining us, then just register today!

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Jody is a pregnancy and post-natal specialist, with tertiary qualifications in exercise science and registered as a Level 3 Exercise Professional with Fitness Australia.
Jody is also a mum of two small children under 5, and therefore understands the demands and challenges of being a mum.
Jody is passionate about educating, energising and empowering pregnant and post-natal women through the provision of safe but effective exercise programs and fitness sessions.
Contact me today to see how I can help you with your fitness and health!

Naomi Judge, Naturopath & Nutritionist

naomi-judgeAs part of the health journey I’ve been on this year, I have been working with an amazing Sydney-based Nutritionist & Naturopath, Naomi Judge, and a passionate Health Coach, Brenda Janschek. Both of these women are incredibly knowledgeable, experienced, and extremely generous with their time.

I started working with them after watching a series of 3 webinars called “6 Simple Steps To Reset Your Hormones and Shed Stubborn Weight”. I was really intrigued, particularly as I work with so many women who have experienced issues with their hormones, whether it be early onset of menopause, struggling to fall pregnant or just feeling like they’re on a never-ending rollercoaster of emotions. However, after the first webinar, I realised that I needed to know more and I joined their amazing 28-Day Break Through Program this past June.

I am still working with this amazing lady through the follow-on BreakThrough Plus program. I have learnt so much about how we can use nutrition to nourish our bodies, reset our hormones and not only shed weight, but feel more invigorated and energised! I notice that when I stray from the recommendations made, I do start to feel sluggish, more stressed and more rundown.

Naomi’s YouTube Video “How Stress Impacts Your Hormones” is one of the many interesting videos she’s done to help women understand their bodies and empower them to make the changes that will help them and their families live healthier, happier lives.

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Jody is a pregnancy and post-natal specialist, with tertiary qualifications in exercise science and registered as a Level 3 Exercise Professional with Fitness Australia.
Jody is also a mum of two small children under 5, and therefore understands the demands and challenges of being a mum.
Jody is passionate about educating, energising and empowering pregnant and post-natal women through the provision of safe but effective exercise programs and fitness sessions.
Contact me today to see how I can help you with your fitness and health!
Disclaimer: This article is advice only. All individuals should discuss the suitability of their health and exercise program with their doctor, exercise professional, physiotherapist or midwife.
For further advice about your individual fitness needs, speak to a pregnancy and post-natal exercise professional, women’s health physiotherapist or health professional.
Further, I receive no financial incentive or remuneration for promoting Naomi Judge or her associated products and services.