Helping New Mums Return to Exercise Safely and Build strength from the Inside Out

Post-natal exercise has proven to have a huge range of both physical and mental health benefits including:

-      Helping to prevent and manage post-natal depression

-      Strengthening of abdominal and pelvic floor muscles, as well as improving upper and lower body strength. Helping to get rid of Mummy Tummy.

-      Reduce the chance and manage common injuries and reduce back and neck pain

-      Relieve stress

-      Increase energy levels

-      Weight management

Every mum is different and it is important that a one size fits all approach isn’t taken. Your journey back to exercise and recovery will be different to your friends with little ones and that is ok. Working with an Exercise Physiologist can help determine what is the right type of exercise for you at different time points.

So what is safe after giving birth?

The body goes through a number of physiological changes throughout pregnancy so it is important to gradually re-introduce physical activity with the appropriate guidance. Your return to pre-natal exercise levels will depend on a number of factors including the type of delivery you had and any complications that arose.

There are a number of types of exercise that have significant benefits for new mums. These include pelvic floor, abdominal and glute exercises, aerobic exercise and strength training.
Pelvic floor, abdominal and glute exercises assist in rebuilding the strength and stability around the core and pelvic floor muscles and joints of the pelvis which is essential in reducing discomfort, preventing incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, as well as returning to pre-natal activities.

Aerobic exercises such as walking, running and cycling are important activities to increase your cardiovascular fitness post-birth, improve your energy levels and reduce stress. Though, it is generally not recommended to begin impact exercise, such as jogging or running, until at least 12 weeks post-birth and only with clearance from a health professional. We often liken this post natal period to the same time and care you would take if you were recovering from a sporting injury. You don't just jump straight back on the field after an ankle sprain. Performing impact exercises to soon in your postpartum period can overload your unstable joints and pelvic floor muscles which can increase the risk of sustaining an injury or pelvic organ prolapse.

Strength training can assist in building strength in areas of the body that are heavily used in the daily life of a mum, as well as reduce the chance or manage injuries, and help relieve stress. As a new mum you will experience incidental strength exercises by caring for your baby (lifting, carrying, bouncing etc), this is a great way to begin strength training post-birth. You can generally increase your strength training approximately 6 weeks after giving birth, with the appropriate clearance and guidance from health professionals.

How do I begin exercising after birth?

Soon after giving birth you will often be given pelvic floor and simple abdominal exercises to perform by your physiotherapist. You will also be able to begin walking, which is a great way to slowly get back into exercise and fitness. Start with slow gentle walks and gradually build up the intensity when you feel ready by increasing your speed and duration, or walking uphill. A good goal to aim for initially is to be physically active for 20-30 minutes each day as long as you feel comfortable to do this. This can be broken up into multiple small bouts of physical activity to make it more manageable.
When beginning strength training exercises, it is important to perform exercises that are safe and appropriate for you and what you want to achieve. Seeking the right guidance from a health professional is recommended, especially if you have not performed any strength training in the past. Another focus we have is teaching you how to both engage and relax pelvic floor muscles. We tend to use different breathing exercises to assist with this and then combine this from simple pelvic floor exercises on the floor and progress through to standing and strength based exercises such as squats and deadlifts.  

When beginning or returning to exercise post-birth it is essential to remember that each new mum is different so it is best to seek advice from an Accredited Exercise Physiologist to help you devise an individualised exercise plan that is tailored to your needs. For more information on how we can help, please contact us on 8969 6300 or

Client of the Month: Cate Hawley

Cate has been working with Ashlee throughout her breast cancer treatment since January 2017. Ashlee does a home visit with Cate once a week and has been focusing on strength exercises and a home program during her chemotherapy treatment as well as improving her strength before surgery. Our focus has been on finding ways to keep Cate active that were realistic and she would enjoy doing. Although she did have some setbacks with days when getting out of bed seemed like a mountain to climb, Cate always showed determination to make the most out of her exercise sessions.

We are pleased to say she has now finished her treatment and is moving onto the next challenge!

Returning to Exercise Post Pregnancy

One of the most common questions is how soon until I can start running after giving birth or how soon until I can start doing exercise to get my pre-baby body back? Whilst having this motivation to exercise is great it is also important to remember the other benefits of exercise post-pregnancy and that your return to exercise is done safely to prevent complications in the future.

Exercise Benefits Post Pregnancy:

  • weight loss/management
  • improve aerobic fitness
  • strengthen deep core muscles helping to prevent injuries, back pain and incontinence
  • increase energy levels
  • improve whole body strength to keep up with the demands of motherhood
  • improve posture
  • promote better sleep

Throughout your pregnancy your body has undergone an enormous amount of changes. One of the most notable is called Diastasis Recti. This is when there is an natural separation of the abdominal muscles due to stretching of the connective tissue (also known as the linea alba).
This is a normal occurrence during pregnancy, however it is essential to reduce this separation after birth.

Another important aspect to be considered is strengthening of the Transverse Abdominis and pelvic floor muscles. These muscles work together to assist in preventing injury to the lower back, pelvis and hips, as well as urinary incontinence.

Transverse Abdominis Function: Stabilise the lower back and pelvis prior to movement occurring. In other words, it activates in anticipation of movement occurring.

Pelvic Floor Function: Support the bladder and reproductive organs. For them to function correctly the tension between the front and back must be balanced. 


After pregnancy, there is often excessive lengthening of the Transverse Abdominis which can cause an absence or delay in its anticipatory function.  This can often lead to dysfunction, pain and injury. The pelvic floor muscle recruitment patterns can also become altered post-pregnancy. If this is not corrected it can lead to lower back, pelvis and/or hip pain, or urinary incontinence. 

We have just started offering a range of Post Natal Exercise Programs including a 6 week Core Foundations Class, Strong Mums Outdoor Fitness Class and 1-1 programs. All programs mums are more than welcome to bring bub with them. Our Strong Mums class has proved to be a hit, we run this class on Tuesdays at 11am-12pm at Brightmore Reserve or in the studio in the weather is bad. All new participants will need to book in for an Initial Assessment with one of our Exercise Physiologists.

In order for you to get back to your pre-baby exercise routine safely, it is essential that these dysfunctions are corrected with appropriate exercises prescribed by an Accredited Exercise Physiologist. For more information on how we can help, please contact us on 0419 287 631 or


Have you met our new neighbours, Physio on Miller?

Physio On Miller is a modern physio, Pilates and massage clinic that is passionate about health, fitness and complete wellbeing. They have enjoyed operating in Cammeray for the past 6 years and during this time have fixed many sore bodies, helped clients return to sport and maintain their active lifestyles.

Practice Directors Melissa Lever and Robyn Ivett and their team of highly qualified and experienced Physiotherapists and Pilates Instructors are dedicated to health and wellbeing, which perfectly compliments their caring and hands-on philosophy.

Physio On Miller offers Remedial Massage and a range of Pilates classes alongside their physio services. Their small group Pilates classes ensure individual attention and great outcomes. Ideal for men and women, it is renowned for preventing and rehabilitating injuries. Physio On Miller also provides a boutique service for pre and post natal clients.

Whatever you require, be it treatment for chronic pain, to soothe everyday stress or for general fitness, they can provide it. They look forward to welcoming you to their clinic. As Exercise Physiologists, Anna and Ashlee look forward to working with the Physio on Miller team in providing a great transition from physio treatment to returning to exercise and sport using targeted exercise programs.
Opening Hours:
Monday – Thursday, 7am – 8pm
Friday, 7am – 3pm
Saturday, 8am – 1pm
Address: Suite 6, 506 Miller St (ground floor, rear)
Ph: (02) 8065 6902


Client of the Month: Sue Campbell

Sue has been attending sessions with Anna for about 12 months consistently with her husband Stu. After struggling with a stress fracture in her foot, chronic lower back pain and finding out she has osteopenia Sue committed to sessions twice a week and a home program. She has comes from strength to strength and always works hard in her sessions. And to top it off this lovely lady just celebrated her 60th Birthday and is also training with CanToo and Anna for the Palm Beach to Whale Beach Ocean Swim in January. Wishing her a Happy Birthday and looking forward to plenty more sessions together.

Sue's Comments:
"I can notice a huge difference in my fitness since training with Anna-Louise. After a broken foot last year she has helped strengthen my foot and legs back to better than before. No more lower back pain that used to plague me and back to ocean swimming! Feel better at 60 than I did at 50...Thanks Anna-Louise, You are Awesome!"

Men's Health: Staying Active to keep your mental health in check

Things happen in life, like difficulties with work or finances, the breakdown of a relationship, overwhelming family responsibilities, or a significant setback. These challenges can take a serious toll on your mental health, if left unchecked. Many men tough it out and struggle alone.

Poor mental health is a huge issue facing men in Australia and in the world:

·      1 in 2 Australian men have had a mental health problem at some point in their life

·      On average, 6 men each day take their life through suicide in Australia

·      Around the world, on average we lose a man to suicide every minute of everyday

·      3 out of 4 suicides are men.

Untreated mental health conditions can carry a high risk for suicide among men. The distress a man experiences at these times can distort his thinking so it becomes harder for him to see possible solutions to problems, or to connect with those who can offer support.

There are several factors that have been linked to an increased risk of suicide, including:

  • Previous family or personal history of mental illness
  • Harmful drug and alcohol use
  • Isolation or loneliness
  • Ongoing stressful life situations such as unemployment, relationship difficulties or chronic health issues

What can you do?

Establishing and maintaining relationships, talking about the hard stuff in life and taking action when times are tough are proven ways for men stay mentally healthy and cope with the stress of everyday life. Good overall health and wellbeing is linked to not only to better mental health but also reduces the likelihood of suicide.

The role of exercise in mental health

There is mounting evidence that suggests exercise is an effective treatment method for people suffering from acute and chronic mental illness, with some studies suggesting that exercise is just as effective, if not more effective than pharmacological intervention in alleviating depressive symptoms.

Exercise can make a big difference in mood and needs to be a fundamental part of mental health treatment. Even one work out a week is known to have great benefits. Exercise can also counteract the side effects of some medications such as reducing the risk of falling by strengthening muscles and helping control body weight and blood pressure.

Why exercise is so important for Men’s Mental Health

·      Exercise helps our body pump out endorphins. Endorphins are basically the body’s ‘feel great’ drug, so we get a natural high when we get moving

·      It gives you time – when your life is busy with work, family and friends, going out to do some exercise can give yourself a bit of time to do no thinking and more focussing on you

·      If you enjoy team sports, then it’s a great way to work on social connections that help us create a more fulfilled life

·      Exercise helps the body combat and prevent chronic disease, meaning that you will live a longer, healthier life and a better quality of life. Many chronic conditions are linked with an increase in mental health conditions.

·      When you exercise you are creating a healthier version of yourself – this will help you feel more confident!

Don’t know where to start and need some help from a qualified professional?

Our team here at Balanced Bodies Lifestyle Clinic is more than happy to help you get started in becoming healthier. We assess and design individual exercise programs to cater towards your needs and goals! We have worked with many people with different health concerns, including that of mental health and are more than willing to help you in your exercise! If you would like to enquire about how we can help you, please contact us on 0419 287 631 or

Client of the Month: Troy Cairns

Troy has been attending sessions with his wife Camilla and more recently group classes since January 2016. He is committed to his home program and enjoys swimming and cycling each week. This commitment has paid off with some great improvements in strength, mobility and reduction in back pain. Troy is pictured in the centre after a cycling endeavour in the Italian Alps earlier this year

Troy's Comments:
"My New Year's resolution as I faced turning 50 was to improve how I moved and felt doing the everyday things. And wanted to get strong enough to go surfing with my son. I had a sneaking suspicion this might require some action from my core - an area that has lain dormant for many years.  I roped my wife in and we have been doing sessions with Anna since.
I've had a chronic back problem for almost 30yrs and my wife has ongoing neck issues. Anna took both these things into account in devising a program for us.  We now happily grunt and sweat out way through her sessions because we have seen the improvement. I now move with more confidence and once again can tackle simple things like bending over, without trepidation.  It's not really been about fitness for me - as I am pretty active swimming and cycling regularly. The benefit has been that I now use my whole body rather than just some favoured parts when I move. I am now looking forward to catching a few more waves this summer - and to tackle the more challenging exercises that I suspect Anna has in store for us"