Mind & Body

7 Reasons Why Prenatal Pilates Can Help the Expecting Mum

Pre-natal Pilates is a great exercise method that teaches a mother to deal with the physical changes through pregnancy, and get ready for childbirth. Here are the 7 ways of how pre-natal Pilates can benefit a mum-to be.

Precious new life: Getting ready for the big day

Friends Jodie and Steph share their experience of how the UFIT Pre-Natal Program kept them in great mental and physical shape throughout their labour and into the delivery room. Each Saturday over 7 weeks they and other expecting mums were guided by UFIT specialists on everything relating to pre-natal fitness, nutrition, and meditation. Here is how it helped them.

What were your favourite parts of the program?

Steph: I liked the variety of sessions. I wouldn’t have taken myself to see a nutritionist or learnt how to meditate in pregnancy if it weren’t for the program. I didn’t appreciate or understand the importance of these areas and of some of the other topics covered until learning about them.

Jodie: I also liked the variety of topics and practical components covered in the course. I didn’t know what my limits were when exercising in pregnancy so it was good to go through that and things like proper technique when lifting and doing gym exercises with Holly.

Steph: Life is so busy. I would spend 5 days of the week carrying on as normal and working hard. It was nice to take the time out every weekend to focus on my pregnancy. It was a great way to connect with the baby and to meet other like-minded individuals in their pregnancies.

Was there anything you were surprised to learn?

Jodie: I found the talks on nutrition really interesting as I hadn’t realised there were certain foods that could prevent that feeling of nausea that comes with morning sickness.

Noa provided us with some great recipes that I continue to use.

Steph: I was surprised to learn what Women’s Health Physiotherapists do both during pregnancy to alleviate pelvic pain and immediately after delivery. It was good to know the service was there if we needed it.

Jodie, you’re a second-time mum – did you still find the UFIT Prenatal Program Beneficial?

Jodie: Yes! Firstly, it was a reminder of how the body changes in pregnancy and of the postpartum recovery. Secondly, I felt this program had a very different focus compared to the Antenatal classes that I attended in my first pregnancy. Other programs focus on the delivery, breastfeeding and how to care for your baby whereas this was more about the mother and how to maintain your health and fitness throughout your pregnancy.

Steph: The UFIT Program was unique in the sense it was very holistic – it was more about how to look after yourself which in turn will help your baby.

Have you kept in contact with the other participants from the course?

Steph: Yes, we see each other fairly often for walks.

Jodie: Most of the girls have posted a photo of their newborns on our Facebook group once they’ve had the baby which has been really nice.  

Would you recommend the UFIT Prenatal Program to others?

Jodie: Definitely. It is very different from other Antenatal courses out there and it was great that it incorporated both theory as well as practical sessions in areas such as yoga and meditation.

Steph: I have already recommended it to friends who have since participated in it and loved it! The information presented was relevant and concise and the presenters are all pre and postnatal experts – I wouldn’t have had access to this information and to these presenters if I hadn’t have signed up for the course.

The UFIT Pre-Natal program is a 7 week program by UFIT's pre-natal experts who will prepare you for a safe and comfortable pregnancy and delivery, and includes:

* weekly seminars from experts in nutrition, exercise science, physiotherapy and psychology

* weekly exercise classes by our physios, yoga teachers and trainers

* a pre-natal personal training session

* a pre-natal massage session

* a meditation session

* a pelvic floor muscle assessment 

* meeting others on the same journey as you. 

 

 

 

 

5 lesser known benefits of massage

OK, so we are mostly aware of the obvious reasons to get a massage; relaxation, stress relief, easing muscle soreness, injury prevention and management. All of these are fantastic and very well documented ways in which massage therapy could and should be a part of our lives on a regular basis.

But as more and more people are pushing their bodies to the extremes of their limits, (UltraRunning Magazine saw a jump of 10% in participation in 2013 on the previous year) and occasionally suffering a little for it, how else can one of the oldest manual therapies in the world play its part in preparing us for the long haul? UFIT Clinic massage therapist Lynsey Keynes shares the five lesser-known benefits:


Increased range of motion

Whether you’re engaged in five UFIT bootcamps a week and not stretching out properly (naughty naughty), or whether you're stuck under a laptop all week and suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, your muscles are getting used and abused on a daily basis. Building regular massages into your routine can help soften, open up, stretch, release and allow extra, oxygenated blood to flow into those muscles and joints enabling you to reach and push further than before.


Balance improvement

Racket sports, driving, carrying kids on one side, generally just not being ambidextrous (who actually is?), all have an effect on the shortening of our muscles, and therefore tightening on one side. In a sporting environment, achieving good balance is key, and with a good massage to realign the posture, you could be well on your way to equilibrium.


Decrease migraine frequency

Exercise can be a migraine trigger (which presents a bit of a conundrum). Massage can help relieve muscle spasms, improve circulation, enhance sleep quality and increase serotonin, all of which can play a part in preventing not just tension headaches, but vascular headaches. Any migraine sufferer knows an attack can happen any time, so begin by pre-empting the threat and having a massage once a week to keep them at bay.


Boosts immunity

Having just one massage can boost your immunity. How? Massage interacts with the hormone system and decreases levels of cortisol, the stress hormone in the body. When you’re stressed, you probably notice you get more colds, sleep less well, just don’t feel 100%. Massage manages that cortisol away, and encourages the production of white blood cells, which defend your body against illness. So no more excuses not to get out for that run!


Eases symptoms of depression

Massage releases dopamine and serotonin, eases physical pain, calms the mind, decreases anxiety, soothes tense muscles and the sheer act of touch can simply be enough to lift your spirits. So use massage therapy alongside regular exercise, to help stabilise moods and tackle those challenges whether they be physical, emotional or mental.


About the author

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Lynsey is a UK trained massage therapist and certified in both ITEC and BTEC level 4 Massage and Anatomy and Physiology. Having spent 15 years working in high-pressure marketing roles, Lynsey decided to embrace her ultimate passion in bodywork and use her experience to help people overcome the physical and mental stresses that modern life puts upon us.

She is a passionate believer that massage and sports massage should be a part of our everyday lives to support our bodies in whatever challenge we put upon them; whether you are a professional sports person, have a sore back from carrying your baby, or simply need to release some tension from a day in the office.

Too scared to jump on a trampoline with your kids? Not sure when to return to exercise after having your baby?

Maybe you should see a Women’s Health and Continence Physio!

What does a women’s health and continence (WH &C) physiotherapist do?

A WH & C Physio is a physiotherapist that has done additional study at University to specialise in the areas of continence and women’s health. They can treat every day aches and pains and sports injuries but are also able to treat conditions related to pregnancy and pelvic floor muscle dysfunction.

 What does an assessment with a women’s health and continence physiotherapist involve?

Initial assessments are usually between 45 minutes and an hour long. The physiotherapist will spend most of the first session asking questions to determine the source of your symptoms. If the pelvic floor muscles need to be examined, the initial and follow up assessments may involve the use of real-time ultrasound over the lower abdomen, to providing visual biofeedback during pelvic floor muscle training.

What conditions do women’s health and continence physiotherapists treat?

WH & C physiotherapists treat a diverse range of conditions related to pregnancy and the postnatal period as well as conditions related to pelvic floor muscle deficiency in men and women at any point in their lifespan, including: 

 1. Antenatal services

  • Management of musculoskeletal complaints such as back and pelvic pain, pubic symphysis disorder and carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Advice on exercise in pregnancy
  • Pelvic floor muscle assessments.

2. Postnatal services

  • Management of musculoskeletal conditions such as back and pelvic pain and
    de Quervain’s tenosynovitis
  • Assessment and management of abdominal separation
  • Pelvic floor muscle assessments
  • Advice on return to exercise
  • Treatment of blocked milk ducts
  • Treatment of perineal pain and swelling after delivery
  • Pelvic floor muscle rehabilitation after obstetric tears
  • Assessment of altered bladder sensation.

3. Other conditions treated by a women’s health and continence physiotherapist

  • Urinary incontinence
  • Faecal incontinence
  • Constipation
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Painful intercourse
  • Vaginismus
  • Provoked vestibulodynia
  • Coccyx pain.

If you would like further information on the services or if you would like to book an appointment please contact UFIT clinic.


About the author

After spending the first part of her career juggling work, athletics and travel, Kelly decided to pursue her passion for Women’s Health and completed a Graduate Certificate in Continence and Women's Health at Curtin University. Upon completion of her course, Kelly worked for a specialist Women’s and Men’s Health and Continence Clinic where she gained further experience in the assessment and management of ante-natal and post-natal conditions, incontinence, post prostatectomy complications and pelvic pain disorders. Read more

Declan “Half-rep” Halpin with Kelly Latimer

A trip down memory lane for Kelly Latimer and her time spent with Declan, Head Physio at the UFIT Clinic so far. In Kelly's words...

I first saw Declan a couple of years ago after he reached out to me via social media. He had heard of an issue I was having that was initially diagnosed by another physio as a hamstring problem and said he would like to take a look at it. As my last physio was utterly useless, I agreed. A proper diagnosis and a few weeks of treatment later, I was back up and functioning like before, if not even better. His multi-pronged approach of manipulation, massage and strengthening exercises was exactly what I needed.

It was at that point I decided to start training with Declan too. We assessed my goals and he came up with routines for me that kept me safe and helped me reach new levels of fitness. We trained to prep my body for pregnancy, so that I could train through pregnancy. I’m happy to say that I’ve managed to escape a lot of pregnancy issues like trapped nerves in my back, back aches and excessive weight gain. I couldn’t have done it without Declan’s assistance and guidance.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Declan’s services to anyone. He is brilliant. Open-minded and always eager to learn more to help his patients, he’s now increasingly harder to get hold of. However I also know that he has cultivated the creme de la creme of rehabilitation specialists in Singapore (and likely South East Asia) at the UFIT Clinic, so whoever you see will be sure to get you back on the road to recovery - providing you do your exercises.

Thank you, Declan. And thank you, UFIT.


For more information about the UFIT Clinic team and how they can help you find our more by visiting the website here www.ufitclinic.com

If you're looking for specific pre and post natal services please check out the latest with what's going on in our UFIT mama's corner.

Is perfectionism in sport good? Bad? or both?

Perfectionism has been placed under the researcher’s microscope in recent years to determine whether this complex personality trait has a positive or negative influence on performance and well-being.

Some of the most controversial examples of perfectionistic individuals can be found in the world of elite sport.

When Tiger Woods won his first Major at Augusta he was the longest off the tee by more than 30 yards. He was hitting wedges & 9 irons into the par 5’s and that is when talk of Tiger proofing Augusta started. He won by a record 12 strokes and immediately began the task of transforming his swing.

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Move to the centre court at Wimbledon and you will see the cameras fixed on Rafael Nadal’s eccentric on-court routine. In front of the chair Nadal is sitting on during breaks you will always see two water bottles (one chilled, one not). Every time play changes ends the bottles are lined up so the labels face the baseline of the side he is playing. As they are repositioned he takes a sip from both without fail.

Critics and fans alike have questioned whether these obsessive behaviors are the result of perfectionism gone awry or the secret to success. Is perfectionism, good, bad, or both?

This is the question posed by many Sport Psychologists including myself. Recent research emphasizes perfectionism as a double-edged sword.

On the bright side, perfectionism has been labelled a hallmark of Olympic champions, characterised by extremely high personal standards and an insatiable appetite for success.

On the flip side, when that drive to succeed becomes an obsessive need to avoid failure, the darker side of perfectionism can rear its ugly head.

Research has shown that an adaptive form of perfectionism is indicated by high personal standards for performance, neatness and precision, and persistent hard work and effort in one’s achievement striving. In this form, a perfectionistic individual exemplifies very similar traits to the “high achiever.”

It appears that perfectionism becomes problematic when these seemingly motivational traits coexist with a tendency to be over-self-critical and extremely rigid in one’s performance pursuits such that anything less than perfect is viewed as failure.

The combination of these traits forms maladaptive perfectionism. Unlike those exhibiting maladaptive perfectionistic traits, positive perfectionists aim high but seem to be more accepting of their limitations and limitations in their environment.

So what does perfectionism look like in the real world? We live in a society that praises perfectionistic striving and demands high standards and precision, in order to stand out from the rest. Take a closer look at your own experiences and there’s no doubt you have found yourself tied up in the perfectionism paradox at one point or another.

For some of us, a healthy dose of perfectionism has fuelled our pain-staking efforts to put out a superior product on the job, or stay behind in training countless hours to refine a change in your technique or master a new skill.

Take a look at your habits outside of sport and inside the academic zone. I am certain that as an athlete and student with the desire to reach the top, you have found yourself doing anything you could in order to avoid writing that important mid-term paper.

Not because you hate writing, but because you must produce a perfect piece, and you perceive failure before you begin typing. Instead of starting the project you organize your inbox, clean your apartment, or perhaps even dust off your running shoes.

Many of us don’t realize that procrastination is a key indication of maladaptive perfectionism. When our intentions to deliver an excellent product is confused with a mistake-free product, we are left with doubts about our adequacy to get the job done, resulting in high levels of stress and ultimately, total avoidance of the task. Sound familiar?

So then, how does one maintain the perfectionist’s edge without crossing over to the dark side? What is the secret to finding a balance? For insight into preserving the bright side of your perfectionist nature, look no further than the media releases of the world’s best athletes.

In the ramp up to the London Olympics 2012, BBC news revealed the startling demise of swimming sensation Michael Phelps during his London Olympic campaign. After winning eight gold medals, in a week-long display of invincibility at the 2008 Games, expectations for the then 23 year old “Baltimore Bullet”, rose to nothing short of sheer perfection. Without the freedom to make mistakes, Phelps instinctual move was to avoid the pool at all costs, which he did successfully for almost 2 years from 2009-2010.

Reporters declared Phelps’ come back to Olympic form a by-product of his revived competitive drive. However, when you peel back the layers of Phelps’ perfectionistic nature the truth behind his recovery is in plain sight. The 27-year-old explained, “Everything I’ve done, I’ve been able to learn from – mistakes I’ve made in the pool, mistakes I’ve made out of the pool”.

Showing signs of freedom to be less precise and less self-punitive, Phelps tweeted a month before the Olympics, “My life, my choices, my mistakes, my lessons, not your business.” “Physically it’s been painful, but we’re taking steps in the right direction.” Adaptive perfectionists are people who derive a real sense of pleasure from the labours of a painstaking effort and who feel free to be less precise.

Through the ebbs and flows in the careers of some of the world’s best athletes, we can learn the art of harnessing an adaptive style of perfectionism. The following section provides tips for preventing the dark side of perfectionism and promoting a healthy competitive mind-set for competition and adaptive habits on the range and practice green.

TIPS FOR PREVENTING THE DARK SIDE OF PERFECTIONISM AND PROMOTING HEALTHY ACHIEVEMENT STRIVING IN YOUR TOUR READY ENDEAVOURS.

DEALING WITH FEAR OF FAILURE
Individuals with negative perfectionistic tendencies are driven by a fear of failure.
Confront your fear of failure and breakdown your irrational thinking: Ask yourself: “What is the worst thing that could happen if I didn’t do everything just perfectly?”

Sit down with your coach and discuss “worse case scenarios” and positive responses for the upcoming competition, looking at undesirable situations in the preparation phase, the warm-up before the round, and on-the course.

Planning positive responses to “worse case scenarios” can help you more readily accept the limitations in yourself and your environment and recognise that there is no such thing as perfect preparation, or a perfect round of golf for that matter.

It helps you to feel more in control and ready to adapt your actions and expectations in any situation.

Fear of Failure = Procrastination and Avoidance Behaviour:

Fear of failure often leads to procrastination in training and avoidance of effort in competition to protect against experiencing intense disappointment from not achieving an error free, perfect performance. This is the behaviour associated with the “ALL OR NOTHING” MINDSET OF A PERFECTIONIST.

To prevent this type of behaviour in your own training:

  • During your pre-competition phase of training, plan regular sessions that involve stepping outside of your comfort zone without a focus on the end result but instead on “how much you can learn” This will encourage intense effort without worrying about NOT performing “perfectly.”

Reinterpret the Meaning of Errors and Mistakes

  • Remember that mistakes are inevitable so there is no need to focus on “NOT” making errors. Instead, focus on what you want to see yourself doing well.
  • Recognise mistakes as opportunities to gain feedback to make improvements.

Learn to Let Go
Players with highly negative perfectionistic tendencies often engage in obsessive thoughts about their recent performance and ruminate over mistakes. Put in place rituals that help you step away and focus on other things in their daily life.

  • Debriefing sessions at the end of training or competition with very concise take home points can stop you from repeatedly playing your last golf round over in your mind and take away a clearer, constructive evaluation.
  • Create a “symbolic” physical space/area for stepping in and out of the training environment.

Misplaced Effort is Typical
Be careful not to over-generalise the importance of competition events. Misplaced effort can lead to greater disappointment.

Learn to distinguish between life essentials and non-essentials, priority events and events simply for experience/learning. Your annual plan should clearly specify priority events, events for preparatory purposes, and new events for experience and learning (even at the elite level).

This will promote an adaptive mind-set and allow you to better manage your expectations and energy.

Create Objective Goals for Training
Maladaptive perfectionists focus on avoiding errors and performing every shot/ skill/ set perfectly, therefore these golfers:

  • Have no specific goals for training other than error free performance.
  • Often overlook positive actions in their training or competition.
  • Lose confidence quickly from even average performances.

Keep a structured training diary that specifies:

  • Specific goals for every training session and measure effort 1 – 5 on certain tasks or sets.
  • 3 things you did well and 1 thing to improve.

Aim high but set your expectations at the level you have been performing at in practice. Maintain realistic goals based on real facts about your performance standards.

High personal standards in achievement striving that coexists with these important thoughts and actions around performance, has the potential to be a “perfectly positive disposition.”

About the Author

Dr Jay-Lee Nair PhD | Performance Psychologist at the UFIT clinic

Book an appointment with Dr Jay-Lee at the Singapore UFIT Clinic to learn how a Mental Notes psychologist can work with you.