Ergonomics Made Easy Blog

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Staying Fit While Pregnant

Thursday May 26, 2011

I've posted before about sustaining productivity while pregnant with regard to work.  Today, I thought I'd bring it home a little more with working out safely and ergonomically, which always go hand in hand.  Working out can be challenging while pregnant- trying to stay in shape, while protecting yourself and the baby, of course, is a work out in and of itself.  I know- I'm on my third pregnancy and am just on the other side of morning sickness {knock on wood}.  I am just now ending a 2 or 3-month hiatus from exercise and trying to work out again because I was told in the labor room that being in shape really helped me deliver quickly and easily.  I plan on doing it again!

On the flip side, trying to work out and actually accomplishing it {safely} with 2 little ones also at home is challenging!  I will say that working out from home is my cheapest, quickest option because I don't have to pay for a gym membership or child care, and there's no travel time.  That said, I have 2 choices- we purchased an inexpensive used elliptical machine and I also got Gillian Michaels' Shred DVD.

Tips for Exercising Ergonomically While Pregnant

As for actually exercising, the most important thing to remember is that you're pregnant!!  You simply can't work out to the degree that you were when you were in peak shape.  The goal now is to keep a routine, stay healthy, keep flexibility, and not push it too hard.  

Avoiding injury is essential- thus, never skip warm-ups or cool-downs.  As with office ergonomics, never strain your neck, back, shoudlers, hands, or wrists- warming up and cooling down will help, as will fewer high impact routines.  Give your growing, changing body a chance at health with a good warm up and cool down.

Finally, modify the moves!  You may need to slow down or choose a lower impact version.  I know the Shred offers a modified version, which I take advantage of and apply to other exercises I try.  I also eliminated the hardest, highest impact level because it was too bouncy for my body for many, many reasons {fellow moms will understand}.

You can still exercise while pregnant, but it's important to apply the same ergonomic principles as when you're at work, such as avoiding strain and injury.

Posted in children , exercise , pregnancy | Make a Comment

Ergonomics for Pregnancy & Early Parenting

Thursday April 21, 2011

Parenting is Physical

Most of us have an intuition that parenting will be difficult.  Most of us think of bullying, broken hearts, and bad choices.  We never seriously consider all the sleepless nights, horsey rides, and bump town shenanigans we will be party to.  Early parenting is nothing short of an Olympic feat.  Why does no one tell us how physical parenting is or that we will drop into bed minutes after our kids?

Practicing Ergonomics During & After Pregnancy

There are tons of resources out there for parenting with purpose and intention, and even some with tips and strategies for developing milestones and dealing with set-backs.  There is quite a bit less on dealing with the physical toll pregnancy and the early years of parenting take on your body.  Not that we have all the answers or that this list is exhaustive, but here are some practical tips for keeping yourself in shape and in good physical condition as a young/new parent.

Tips for Ergonomic Parenting

  • Stay in shape.  Don't start a new, rigorous program, but there's nothing wrong with taking walks or even light exercise, being careful to focus on being in shape and not staying in peak performance mode.  Be sure to modify any hard impact exercises {such as jump training, running, etc.}.
  • Sleep wisely.  Unfortunately, as your body changes, so will your sleep posture, whether you want it to or not.  Make sure you sleep ergonomically with plenty of back support- this usually means avoiding sleeping on your stomach and even on your back.  It's safer to sleep on your side, and you can even use a body pillow for added comfort.
  • Practice good ergonomics.  Whether you work on a computer or just use it socially, be sure to be diligent ergonomically- as your body takes on the extra weight and strain of a developing baby and all that entails, it's even easier to strain yourself.  If possible, use an ergonomic chair with back support.  Ergonomic products are wonderful for pregnant women because of their adjustability, and since they're constantly changing, it's great to have products that can match you.
  • Use an Ergo Carrier.  Once you have the baby, you're ergonomic concerns are not over.  Your body is returning to size, but you still need to safeguard your body.  A great find I made with my second baby was an Ergo Carrier- a truly ergonomic way to attachment parent {or just take care of your first and ensure that your infant is well-cared for}.
  • Protect yourself.  Finally, it's easy to pull a shoulder out of socket or slip a disk in your back while parenting- whether you're reaching behind you in the car to retrieve a fallen sippy cup or an impromptu piggy back ride.  With that in mind, please remember that horsing around is great until you get hurt.  Find a way to protect yourself while playing with your kids.

It's easy to think of ergonomics as a work thing and neglect them elsewhere.  However, it's just as important to practicegood ergonomic principles during the very physical stage of early parenting.

Posted in adjustability , ergonomic chair , pregnancy , Uncategorized | Make a Comment