My Experience with Aerial Hammock

We all have that bucket list, the things we want to do that are top experiences for us that push our boundaries, create memories and take us out of our normal day to day lives. So far my completed list was go to England, swim with manatees, try parasailing, see James Taylor in concert and most recently added my dream to be a honorary member of Cirque du Soleil. Since that requires years of training I’m starting with aerial hammocks. 

I have always been a larger person, but I’m active, I keep up with my kids, walk, bike, challenge my Fitbit friends to 10k steps a day. I’m not the running type, yoga is too slow paced for me and a gym membership? Just not my thing. My favorite types of workouts include doing things where I don’t realize I’m working out actually. So swimming, dancing, chasing children in a rousing game of playground lava monster… you get the idea.  I found out about hammocks 2 years ago while newly pregnant with my youngest child. “Well, guess I’ll wait since it’s not recommended for pregnant women.” Then I found myself a few weeks ago revisiting that idea of aerial hammocks and the mind game that also ensued. I’m not in shape, what makes me think I can do this? Will it even hold me? My good friend Elizabeth who happens to be the owner of Safe Haven Cat Sanctuary and also a new instructor tipped me off that there was a new studio opening on Broadway called Aerial Roots and that was it. I committed.  I went online, downloaded the MINDBODY app and bought a starter pack.

For those who know me I can hear you all yelling as you read this HOW DOES SHE HAVE THE TIME…Yes,  I’m busy but aren’t we all? As a moms and (insert various roles here) we are busy. But I made time.  I invested in ME this year. As a mother, wife, volunteer, doula and business owner I’m constantly giving of myself and I’ve felt burnout before. But that is a whole blog in itself. So back to hammocks!

This is one hour a week for ME.

What I loved- It’s every level friendly. But for the first timers here is how my mindset went…

  1. Start class with some stretches and then the Instructor shows you the beginning moves
  2. Roll my eyes, laugh out loud and then swear under my breath
  3. Then fight with myself mentally for 5 mins while convincing myself I can do it.
  4. Everyone encourages me, I break free of the head game and boom… I did it.
  5. When I wasn’t able to do a move, I modified. They were great with teaching modifications. It’s your pace.
  6. Cool down, stretch and lay in a cocoon. Feel like a badass

5 weeks later…

  1. Start class with some stretches and then the Instructor shows you the beginning moves
  2. Roll my eyes, laugh out loud and then swear under my breath OR beam with confidence and do said move
  3. GET TO IT! try try try! 
  4. Support the others who are working on the move 
  5. Still modifying when needed but it’s becoming less and less needed 
  6. Cool down, stretch and lay in a cocoon. Feel like a badass

The first move I learned  took me 15 mins to get the move then 2nd class all of 30 seconds. Now it’s 2nd nature. It’s a full body workout but you are so focused on the trick you forget you’re using every muscle in your body but don’t worry, a day later. You’ll feel it.

While you can’t do this exercise while pregnant, You are good to go once you have the OK from your doctor that you can resume working out post baby. All sizes all shapes. The hammocks and supporting beams hold 10,000lbs.  I did notice I am not able to do hip hangs due to scar tissue from my previous c-section but I just modify those moves.

I don’t feel like I’m working out. I am too busy challenging myself to flip this way, or pull this down, enjoy the stretch, or celebrate the completion of a move to notice what is happening. Add that to a fun atmosphere and great tunes and the hour flew by.  They offer multiple packages or just try it once! But I truly feel you need to do it more than once because of a little word… CONFIDENCE.

Beyond aerial hammocks they also offer Silks (Kaukauna location only), Pole Fitness, Barre, Pilates and Yoga.

Like them here on facebook.

 

 

Take a mom break and do something for you.

Why Doulas Love The CUB

As doulas we are told to have our tips and tricks with us in a birth bag. But the reality is I only have a change of clothes, some snacks for myself, a phone charger, a water bottle and the CUB.

 

We stumbled upon the CUB about three years ago in a Pinterest board and haven’t looked back.  Here is our the top reasons why the doulas of Green Bay Doulas love the CUB.

Starts Conversations

When we bring a CUB to a clients house, the older siblings love to play on it, which helps to get everyone comfortable with it and us. Who doesn’t love a new toy?  Nurses and Doctors stop, look and ask lots of questions, all conversations end with “well that’s wonderful, we need some of those!” Wausau Aspirus Hospital currently has one for their labor and delivery unit after we supported a client while using a CUB.

Stability

Unlike a birthing ball which can put pressure on the sacrum, and requires some balancing, our clients like that it is more stable than a birthing ball, but still offers movement if needed.  When we would use birthing balls on the bed for gravity based positions, it would be hard to find the right size, where if our clients are using the CUB we can use both or just one chamber and the belly fits right in there to let them just layout and rest while feeling supported.

Versatility

From end of pregnancy to in the laboring room on the floor (sitting), in the bed (hands and knees) or even in the shower on its side on top of a chair so they have a perfect height to learn against, we can set the CUB up to support our clients when needed.

Ease of Use

It takes seconds to inflate, seconds to deflate, folds up small and it’s lightweight. Also, it’s easy to sanitize or dry off.

Affordable

For the benefit it brings it’s a great tool for all families. I was so excited when I heard the CUB was coming to the USA. No more international shipping! It can be also used well beyond pregnancy and labor, as I said the kids love it, and provides a great alternative to a couch or chair while providing support.

 

If you are ready to join the Green Bay Doulas and experience the CUB you can at https://www.the-cub-usa.com/

 

Let’s Talk Anatomy: Pelvic Floor

A huge thank you to Jeanette Knill, PT for guest blogging for us on this important topic!

I am a Physical Therapist that specializes in treating women with pelvic floor disorders (PFD) which means most of the women I see in the clinic have UI or pain in the pelvis, especially during intercourse.

Here are some research findings related to UI:

  •    Nearly 30% of the female population in the US has a problem with urinary incontinence.
  •    It takes the average woman up to 7 years before she tells her healthcare provider that she has a problem. Why? She is embarrassed or thinks it isn’t a problem because many of the women she knows also pee in their pants.
  •    Kegel exercises are only part of the solution to help you regain continence.

Let’s talk anatomy: The pelvic floor muscle is the bottom of the body. In a female, it is the muscle structure that supports the uterus, vagina, bladder and rectum. It controls when we use the toilet and is important in sexual satisfaction. This muscle is like a hammock. It attaches in the front to the pubic bone and in the back at the tail bone. The sides attach to part of the hip bone and a hip muscle (obturator internus) on each side of the body. Other hip muscles that attach near the pelvic floor muscle are the gluteal muscles (your butt) and the piriformis muscles. The low abdominal muscles attach to the pubic bone, just above where the pelvic floor muscles attach. Your low abdominal muscles and hip muscles are very important in the function of the pelvic floor.

Usually, the first recommendation for women who report UI is to do Kegel exercises, tightening the pelvic floor muscles like you are trying to stop pee or gas from escaping. Why gas? Remember I said the pelvic floor is a hammock from front to back. When you tighten the muscle in the front-around the urethra (where pee comes out) you also tighten the muscles in back around the anus (where gas and poop come out). The person next to you knows when you pass gas but you can hide pee in a pad! Thinking about stopping gas can send a stronger signal to the brain and gets a better contraction. Do not tighten your butt cheeks when doing a Kegel exercise.

Some other Kegel tips for success: When you tighten your pelvic floor it is a squeeze and lift. Imagine you are sitting on a grape and you want to pull it up into your vagina. Silly, right? I bet you just did it!

But…it isn’t just about Kegel exercises. Strength at the low abdominal and hip muscles are also important. Crunches are not an effective way to strengthen the low abdominal muscles. Planks and challenging the muscles with leg movements are more effective. Hip exercises that work your “butt cheeks” are beneficial. Stay tuned for future blogs that will highlight the best way to strengthen your abs and butt.

-Jeanette Knill, PT, works at Bellin Health Generations clinic as a physical therapist specializing in the treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction.