Having a baby is a massive milestone in anybody’s life. If you have recently had a baby, you may be thinking about ways to ease yourself back into keeping fit after, understandably, taking it easy for a while. Getting fit after having a baby should be approached slowly, as it isn’t a good idea to immediately rush back into intense workouts and exercise. Rather, find simple and easy ways to ease back into keeping fit, and, over time, you will soon be back on track to where you want to be and meeting your goals.

Walking

After having a baby, it’s essential that you don’t overdo it through an intense exercise regime. You will be able to get back to it over time, but in the early days, it is worth taking it easy. If you are looking for an easy, effective and safe way to burn calories, walking is the perfect option. You can burn just as many calories through walking as you do with running; it may take longer, but it is achievable. If you have a dog, go on regular dog walks, or meet up with friends and try and go on a long walk around the area once a week. You could discover local walks you haven’t done before, or if this is particularly difficult, sign up at a local gym and hit the treadmill. You can also set the treadmill to different inclines so that you are efficiently burning calories but aren’t letting your body suffer for it.

Yoga

Yoga is a brilliant option if you want to get your healthy lifestyle back on track. Double check with your doctor in terms of recovery time and when is best for you to start yoga up, but with a little patience, you can slowly build up your muscular strength, balance, and tone up through yoga. There are even options for mom and baby yoga that you may want to consider if you want to make the most of spending time with your newborn.

Meal Supplements

Meal supplements and low-calorie meal products are another easy, hassle-free solution to getting your fitness levels back to the level you wish after having a baby. There are various diets out there which offer meal supplements in the form of shakes, as well as low-calorie products that don’t compromise on nutritional value or quality. Be sure to head online and check out comparisons to discover the best possible products available.

Drink Water

Drinking water is another essential to keeping fit after having a baby. You will most likely have maintained a good fluid intake throughout your pregnancy. However, it is just as important to keep hydrated after having a baby, too, especially in the first few weeks where you will be physically and mentally tired and drained at times. Help you to help yourself, and keep hydrated so you are as focused and energized as possible, meaning you can tackle the day and enjoy spending quality time with your newborn.

Cuddle Fairy

Our feet and legs work very hard for us all our lives, but other than worrying about whether they look good in our new pants or shoes, we often don’t give them a lot of thought. In reality, your legs and feet need as much TLC as the rest of you! There are a lot of things that you can do to keep your feet and legs healthy and help them to stay fit and strong. If you haven’t paid much attention to your lower limbs over the years, now is the time to start pampering!

Diet

What you put into your body makes your body what it is. If you eat more calories than you need, you will inevitably put on weight. Extra weight puts an unnecessary burden on your heart and its ability to pump blood effectively around your body. Because your legs and feet are the furthest away from your heart, they are more likely to suffer the effects of reduced circulation. This can result in swelling of feet and ankles, due to a build-up of fluid. More seriously, reduced circulation can result in blood clots and ulcers in the legs. By maintaining a healthy diet and keeping your weight within advised parameters, you will be able to avoid these unpleasant side effects. It’s also important to drink plenty of clear fluids every day to make sure your body is hydrated sufficiently and to avoid thickening of the blood.

Exercise

Along with maintaining a healthy weight, the best way to look after your feet and legs is to give them plenty to do! The worst thing for your legs is to be inactive, and if you don’t work the muscles in your lower limbs, you will be far more likely to suffer from varicose veins and aching legs. It is much better for them to be active than sedentary, so if your job involves a lot of sitting down, you need to find ways to exercise during the day. For example, make sure you get up and walk at frequent intervals throughout the day, take stairs instead of elevators, and consider purchasing one of the exercise machines that will fit under your desk. You can then gently exercise your limbs while you work. It is particularly important if you find it hard to fit in an exercise routine outside of work. If you can, then the more exercise your legs get, the healthier and stronger they will be. Choose your exercise carefully; for one thing, you want to do something you will enjoy and not want to quit doing; for another, you need to find an exercise that is suitable for your abilities and any health issues you may have. For example, running is an excellent form of exercise and can be thoroughly enjoyable, providing you build your fitness up sensibly and have the right gear. You should get the best running shoes you can afford, that offer the correct support and reduce concussion to your limbs. The best idea is to have your feet assessed to see if you need shoes for flat feet or orthotic inserts; visit Shoe Guide for more information.

Skin

If you are taking care of your insides by eating well and exercising regularly, you should have a healthy body that reflects the good care you are taking of it. Nevertheless, there are still surface problems that can arise. Your skin needs to be exfoliated and moisturized regularly, so find an exfoliation method that suits you, and a moisturizer suitable for your skin type. There are many ways of exfoliating, from simply rubbing with a pumice stone to using one of the ranges of gently abrasive lotions and creams. You need to remove any dead skin before applying your moisturizer, to ensure you are treating living skin cells and to make your skin glow with health. Pay special attention to dry areas such as the knees, on which you may need to use a richer cream. On your feet, you may find you get a build-up of hard skin or calluses, which, although not normally painful, are unsightly. There are several methods of getting rid of this skin using specially designed manual or electric abrasive tools. You may prefer to visit a chiropodist to treat this hard skin, and if you are feeling adventurous, you could try putting your feet in a pool with special skin eating fish, a treatment that sounds slightly bizarre but is very effective. Keep your feet moisturized and use a cream designed to help prevent hard skin forming. When it comes to toenails, keep them short using nail clippers and avoid cutting down into the sides of the nails as this can lead to ingrowing toenails.

Problems

There are all sorts of things that can go wrong with your feet. Bunions, corns, athletes foot, and verrucae are some of the more common examples. If you find any painful lumps, discolorations, or itchy patches on your feet or between your toes, get them checked out by the doctor or pharmacist. There are effective treatments for all these conditions, you just to need to make sure you know what the cause of the problem is. One of the most frequent causes of painful feet – as well as aching legs and backs – is the wearing of poorly fitting footwear. While a pair of heels might be fine for a night out, you will be doing yourself a favor by wearing something less extreme during the day. Don’t ever squash your feet into shoes that are too small or that pinch, you will regret it the next day! If you do want to wear high heels then at least use supportive insoles or gel pads that will protect your feet somewhat.

When you think about it, your legs and feet deserve to get some special treatment considering all the things you make them do! So go out on a cycle ride, or whatever form of exercise you favor to get your circulation pumping, then fire up the foot spa and give your feet the pampering they have earned.

 

 

3 Little Buttons

How are you sleeping? We know that we should spend a lot of our life asleep. This is vital for our mental and physical wellbeing. In an increasingly busy world, it can be difficult to switch  off and get good sleep. With so many of us leading active online lives as well as juggling responsibilities in the  real world, getting good sleep can seem impossible. I want to let you know about a sleep campaign that will help us all put shut eye at the top of our agenda.

Sleep Campaign

Bed Guru’s sleep campaign

Bed Guru is an online bed retailer who are sleep specialists. They are determined to help solve the sleep loss epidemic by raising awareness through the Choose Sleep campaign. The campaign educates people about the importance of sleep and ways to help get the most from a good night’s shut eye. I wanted to get involved in the campaign as I am keen for people to have their best chance for great mental and physical health. As a busy parent, I know how damaging it can be to become sleep deprived. I spent many years of my early parenting in a depressed state and looking back I think lack of sleep contributed to this condition.

Tailored to individual needs

Bed Guru understand that no two people share the same sleeping requirements. I like how they recognise we are all individuals with our own  needs and circumstances. The negative effects of poor sleep are only just being acknowledged. Lack of sleep causes negative effects on human health and well-being, and the long-term effects of sleep deprivation has been associated with numerous conditions, such as diabetes, depression, hypertension and obesity.

Personal sleep issues

As a busy mum, it is easy for me to see how my sleep deprivation led to mental health  issues and becoming pre-diabetic. Recently, as someone who gained weight and struggled to lose it after becoming a mum, I have watched the links between obesity and sleep loss with interest. I am also very aware that when I am tired, I can be irritable and grumpy which impacts negatively on relationships with  family and friends. I long for those days of yesteryear when I could sleep as long as I wanted which made me so much able to cope with the day ahead. As I get older and wiser, I am insisting on more self-care and recognising that by getting good sleep, I can be my best version of me. This in turn means my family and friends get quality time with me.

Making sleep better

The mission of the Choose Sleep movement is to encourage a better night’s sleep, not only through sleeping on the right bed, but through making the right choices in life to combat the sleep loss epidemic.

This post was written in collaboration with Bed Guru.

 

My Random Musings

Let’s talk about breasts urged Sarah as she asked for my help in promoting her efforts to help other women. She has a strong story speaking to women, of all ages about what a mastectomy is and the unseen challenges faced by those who have this surgery. Mastect Expect is bold, different and a breath of fresh air to those on the google mission to find more information about breast cancer surgery. Sarah was a woman I wanted to know more about and I hope you enjoy hearing about her journey.
Breasts

Please tell us a little about your childhood and teenage years?

Change is not something new to me as moving house almost became a bit of a hobby in my teenage years! I was born in the Midlands and lived in Sapcote, Leicestershire for the first few years of my life. We then moved up to Cheshire where I attended primary school and the first two years of secondary school. At Lymm High School we had swimming lessons and were asked who would be interested in joining a synchronized swimming team, about 8 girls put their hands up, including me. At this stage of my swimming life I could have passed as a synchronized swimmer with the amount of splashing and time spent underwater, however this was when I was attempting to swim a simple length of front crawl. My enthusiasm to join a synchronized swimming team was probably one of shock to my coach and in my first few sessions I would receive the sympathetic, ‘bless, at least she is trying’ look. However, with resilience and a lot of time spent in a swimming pool it became a huge part of my life. As a teenager when peers went shopping or to sleepovers I would be training. I had fantastic opportunities and have a collection of medals ranging from bronze to golds that I will treasure forever.

At 13 we then moved up to Dumfries, Scotland where apart from the first day when I cried and refused to speak to the deputy head because I was petrified of moving school, all went well. We then (we have moved a lot) moved to Amersham in Buckinghamshire when I was 15 and ready to sit my GCSE’s. With a quick, ‘oh my goodness your entire History coursework is on the highland clearances, that is not quite what we study in England’ panic, I started my academic studies at the Amersham school. I went on to get good GCSE’s and strong A-Level grades which enabled me to study at the University of Portsmouth.  

 Please tell us about your first job?

 My first job out of university was at Chesham Park Community College as a cover supervisor. Nothing quite like being fresh out of university and dealing with hormonal teenagers on a day to day basis! This sparked my passion for working with young people and helping then reach their potential. I gained qualified teacher status through the GTP programme and have not looked back since. 8 years on and I have seen the school change in to an academy, worked with a whole host of fantastic teachers and also seen many young people achieve great things. As expected I have also witnessed teenager behaviour at its best and at its worst, I have learnt the meanings of words which I am sure are not featured in the oxford dictionary and the craze of ‘flossing’ is something I cannot get away from.

 What  health issues have you faced?

 Regarding health issues, I am starting to believe that walking over three drains or a mirror smashing may bring bad fortune as it does seem to follow me around. These have ranged from being accident prone to unforeseeable issues. Asides the usual childhood knocks I have had a sneaky cyst on my ankle which was discovered on an xray after my trampoline skills were much to be desired. This turned out to be benign but did result in a plaster cast for what felt like years. As I have got older I have faced a few issues but I am not a dweller. The obvious and recent one is my genetic predisposition to breast cancer. Breast cancer has always been a feature in my life, with women from both my mother and father’s side of the family being diagnosed. After the death of my auntie I explored genetic testing as I did not want to continue to feel like a sitting duck. At the time (2007) genetic testing was not as advanced as it is today so I was instructed to come back in a few years where there may have been more options. Following this advice I returned a few years later to find out that I was ‘NICE high risk category’ of developing the disease. The advice given to me was to have risk reducing surgery in the form a double mastectomy as soon as possible and then have my ovaries removed after I turned 35. A lot to take in! Following this I had my double mastectomy and reconstruction in August 2016 at the age of 27. I refer to it as a hurdle in life. I knew it was going to be difficult to get over it but if I worked hard and stayed focused, then it was achievable.

Breasts

 Who has supported you during your challenging times?

 During these more challenging times I have had amazing support from both friends and family. I am not one for grand gestures of affection or what I would describe as ‘mushy’ comments but throughout the mastectomy process my husband was incredible. He helped me with the practical bits like changing, washing and brushing hair but he also helped me laugh and feel chirpy when the odds were against it. My family and friends cooked, helped me get through significant amounts of chocolate, helped me chuckle and get through lots of movies! Horror films whilst you still have drains in is not advisable, jumping with fright isn’t ideal when you’ve got sore boobs and alien like tubes coming out of you. My Mum moved in for a week post surgery to help however in a bizaare (but funny looking back at it now all is ok) twist of fate, I was admitted back into hospital for that entire week due to an infection!

What led to you setting  up Mastect Expect?

 Before my surgery I was a keyboard warrior trying to find out what to expect from the surgery. I was looking for practical advice to help manage my expectations but also help me prepare. After my operation, I decided to start documenting my experiences and from there, Mastect Expect was born. I started to build a website, which was a challenge as I wouldn’t put myself under the heading of tech savvy. However, the more people I spoke to, the more it became obvious that a central go to resource focused on mastectomy surgery and recovery was needed. The practical advice rather than medical jargon was freshing for women because it gave them a place to ask questions that were not necessarily suitable for their surgeon or on the radar for their surgeon. Following the launch of the Mastect Expect website I started to get emails from women across the globe. This spurred me on to continue to blog my experiences, update the website but also build a presence on social media so I could reach others that could benefit from Mastect Expect.

Breasts

Why do you feel it is important to talk about serious health issues with humour sometimes?

 You only live once, and there are always going to be obstacles in life, you can either face them with doom and gloom or you can make the best out of a bad situation. I use humour for lots of reasons, my first is that it is a natural position for me, I am very much half glass full. The other is that I believe it can help encourage people to engage and talk about things that they might find difficult. Talking about mastectomies can be difficult, whether it is about yourself or a loved one, people can find it awkward to talk about boobs, giving a bit of humour can help put people at ease and make them feel more comfortable with asking questions. I very much believe it is better for someone to feel like they could ask a question rather than the anxiety build up inside of them. In addition, people worry, which is natural, giving a bit of laughter can help make them feel better about a difficult situation.

 What do you want to change via Mastect Expect?

I want Mastect Expect to be able to support women on the mastectomy journey. I want people to feel comfortable talking about mastectomies and be able to find down to earth practical advice. It is very easy to come across horror surgery stories or medical jargon that makes no sense to the everyday person, but why isn’t it easy to locate friendly useful advice that will help put anxieties at ease? Mastectomy surgery is daunting, it can be frightening and it is the unknown. If someone breaks their leg or has a cold, you know what to do, but what about a mastectomy? I want to give people confidence in their mastectomy journey, whether it is their journey or the journey of a loved one. It does not need to be the area of the unknown, it can be known using Mastect Expect and knowledge can help people, families and friends in feeling supported and ready to embark on their next hurdle in life.

If you could recommend one book to a woman, what would it be and why?

 Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. As you read about Eleanor’s life, you see that she doesn’t fit with what would be considered the ‘norm’. As a reader you become invested in her life and as she goes through her routines and her thoughts, you start to relate. Everyone has part of them that can relate to Eleanor Oliphant and she makes you feel good. She makes you realise that everyone is different and that is ok, you almost become her cheerleader as you want everything to turn out well for her.

If you could recommend one website other than your own to a woman, what would it be and why?

A topical website would be tickingoffbreastcancer.com as it’s a fantastic hub of links and knowledge about all aspects of breast cancer.

 

3 Little Buttons
Cuddle Fairy

I am short-sighted and after years of wearing glasses I am tempted to get some contact lenses. For whatever reason I was into my late teens before my parents worked out I had issues with my eyes. I remember the optician saying they wondered how I had got such good exam results when I could not possibly have been able to see the blackboard. With my own children, they have had regular eye checks and two of them are very short-sighted and wear glasses.

My history with glasses and contact lenses

My first pair of glasses was so ugly and it was not long before I decided to try contact lenses. I thought I looked better in them but this was back in the Eighties and I found them uncomfortable to put in and wear. There is an infamous occasion where on a date my contact lenses were playing up so badly that my eyes were streaming with tears which must have made my date a little uncomfortable. It was not long after that that I went back to wearing glasses.

Considering contact lenses again

In my last couple of eye tests, my optician has mentioned the possibility of me using contact lenses again. At first I was against the idea remembering the hassles of yesteryear. However, it only takes someone to mention an idea a couple of times for it to make me wonder. Contact lenses sound so much better these days. There is only one way to find out for sure so I am going to give them a whirl.

Focus Dailies contact lenses

I like to do my research before making decisions. I am considering Focus Dailies contact lenses available from Vision Direct who are a respected brand. Having put off the whole idea of contact lenses for years, it is brilliant to know that I can get next day delivery to start my new adventure with them. Initial ordering is simple and reordering just involves 3 clicks from email. You can even reorder by text which is super convenient in my busy life.  You have the freedom to order the amount you need when you need them. When comparing with high street opticians, the same brands seem to be available but Vision Direct seems to offer better value. As a newbie to new style contact lenses the fact that customer service is available 24 hours per day 7 days per week is hugely reassuring.

Conclusion

I have spoken to friends who wear contact lenses. They tell me contact lenses are definitely the way forward. It seems they combine good vision with comfort and convenience. Wish me luck on my new contact lenses adventure.

My Random Musings