Posted by: MummyTravels | April 20, 2012

Post-plane pregnant Pilates

Even at 5ft 4 (on a good day), I come out of planes feeling like I’ve been scrunched up into a tiny ball after a few hours in economy. And unsurprisingly, being pregnant doesn’t exactly help.

So until the time when I can jet around the world in business or first class (I can dream), I need some way of safely stretching out after I land – and the same for cramped cars and restrictive railways. So for a few simple tips, I got some advice from TenPilates trainer Amy Ryan, who specialises in pre and post-natal exercise.

Swollen legs – this is common throughout pregnancy as the extra weight of the bump mildly restricts blood flow returning to the heart. And sitting for long periods makes it worse. Try these regularly throughout the flight.

  • Calf Pumps: Sit with both knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Point your toes, lifting your heels off the ground, to rest on the balls of your feet. Then put your heels to the floor and lift the toes and the balls of your feet up off the ground. Repeat this 15–20 times and try to do it every 30-40 minutes

Stiff back – as your body changes, so does your posture, and you may find your shoulders and neck become stiff and sore especially after sitting for long periods.

  • Neck Stretch: While sitting, put your right arm behind your back and use your left hand to draw your ear down to your left shoulder. Then draw your chin down towards your chest to increase the stretch. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side. Perform this stretch a couple of times a day.

Preventative measures – pelvic floor strengthening exercises are essential and the good news is they can be performed anywhere, so there is no reason not to remember them whilst travelling!

  • Pelvic floor muscles – draw up the muscles between your legs (as if you are trying to stop the flow of urine) and hold for a count of 10 seconds, breathing as normal. Perform 10 times. For even better results, alternate these with “quick hold” versions, holding short bursts of strong contractions for 3-5 seconds each.

Image: kandyjaxx/Flickr

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