Our culture is clearly fixated on image. There’s a lot of attention paid to how our body looks with less emphasis on how we feel. In a quest to tighten and tone the parts of us that no longer match our self-image in motherhood, we unwittingly set ourselves up for a certain amount of pain and discomfort by limiting our ability to move in all the ways we are designed to move.
Creating strength in the body is crucial, especially core strength that supports all of our movement and becomes most destabilized after pregnancy. Maintaining muscular strength throughout life is an important part of healthy aging.
Equally vital is maintaining the mobility and flexibility that supports healthy movement patterns. Given the amount of sitting we do, even as busy parents, it bears noting that being aware, and integrating practices into our day that keep us mobile and flexible will serve us long into the future. The bonus is that these moves are fun for the whole family.
Go Barefoot. How we move begins with our feet. Most shoes, including slippers, create unnatural movement patterns in the feet which filter up through the body, creating misalignment in the knees, hips, and throughout the body. Practice standing barefoot and finding neutral alignment with your feet balancing your weight equally between the front and back of your feet. Check in a few times a day to notice how your weight is distributed through your feet.
Shake it Out. Shaking the body is a foundational part of many Eastern medical movement systems. There is an energetic component to it, and it also helps to move our lymph, which helps to move toxins out of our body. This simple practice simply involves a full body shake, letting your muscles shimmer, your joints gently bounce, and consciously releasing any tension you feel anywhere in your body. Turn on your favorite song or simply begin to bounce and shake while coffee brews in the kitchen.
Keep Your Hips Happy. Sitting, whether at a desk, in the car, or on the couch binging Netflix, creates tightness in the muscles of your hips. Tightness in the hips can easily translate into back pain and unhealthy posture. It might seem inconsequential in the moment, but left unattended, tight hips will create an imbalance in the body and pain down the road. A few times a day, practice bringing your hips into extension. Extension, where your leg extends behind you as opposed to bending in front of you, lengthens the deep muscles of the hips that can get shortened by too much sitting. One way to do this is to step one leg forward into a lunge. Tuck your hips under and straighten the back leg as much as is comfortable. Without straining through the hips, feel those deep muscles release. Contract the glutes of the back leg to help support and deepen the stretch. Take 5-10 breaths, and be sure to relax your jaw as you do.
Kalia Kelmenson grew up on Maui and can’t imagine a better place to raise kids. She is the creator of The Salt in Us and helps women live on purpose without burning out. Follow her on Instagram at @thesaltinus