It’s rare I meet a woman with a diastasis recti who hasn’t beat herself up for “slacking off on my exercises” (I bet men would
say the same thing, but I’ve never yet met a man who realizes he has a DR. Come join the DiastasisRectified party, guys!).
The paradigm is: 1) “my body is screwed up” and 2) “I need to do exercises to get it better” and 3) “Why am I not doing my exercises?” 4) “Ugggggh.”
So this post is not about exercises, because let’s just give that a rest for a minute. This post is about habits. We’ve spent (x) number of decades forming habits of movement: how we brush teeth, lounge, carry stuff, sit, open stuff, cut things, and on and on. Maybe we spend one hour a day three or four or even more times a week doing concerted “exercise” efforts, but what about those other 23 hours each day?
Our bodies take the shape of our habits
All those tens of thousands of times we do those things will create some pretty deep neural pathways. Copying what parents/caretakers did, getting all that sitting practice at school (what activity did we do more than sitting?!), and then friends, culture, environment, sports, interests (bike riding, reading, video games), and personal preference.
What likely didn’t shape our habits was what would be most beneficial for our bodies over time: protect joints, prevent injury (like diastasis recti, eh?), get blood flowing, maintain healthy muscles, stay flexible, yada yada.
Unless your parents were yogis and you lived in a furnitureless yurt in the rainforest canopy and foraged for food. If I just described your childhood, please let’s be friends.
Below are pictures of me doing a habitual body position and then trying an updated option that doesn’t add more stress to my already totally stressed out diastasis. I’m working on keeping ribs down, untucking my tailbone, and keeping the weight in my heels.
Rewriting the code of everyday movement…in pictures
|Instead of this…||I’m trying this|
|Being stationary in my favorite clamshell, reading about moving||Pelvis elevated above heels to allow tailbone to untuck|
| Rounded spine, tailbone tucked. This actually hurt,
but I just don’t pay attention to the dull ache usually.
| Untucked pelvis, using my hammies to hold me
up, trying to keep ribs from thrusting toward counter
|Lots of strain on the old pelvic floor (esp if you hold your breath!)||Tailbone not as tucked, feet elevated. Feelin’ so fly.
You could also try zees, but my husband has forbade.
|I do this ALL THE TIME, like I am
incapable of holding my own body up
for the two minutes it takes to brush
my teeth (yes, I time it so what)
|There you go, lady. That’s better.|
|Working on my chair-shaped bottom|| Sometimes life calls for chair sitting, but sitting
on the edge means I can untuck the tailbone.
| The ever-popular holding child on hip
whilst contemplating something
| Using arms to hold kid instead (okay maybe there is a
little leaning but have you seen the size of that guy?!)
| It feels so normal to pick stuff up this way,
but I’m putting tons of pressure on my spine
|Switching it up to a squat, I feel the work in
the pelvic floor. Been trying this a lot more this
week and it is feeling more normal.
| Using momentum to send me out of this
chair, while knees go way over toes
| Keeping knees over toes, turning
“getting out of chair” into “hey let’s squat”
| Moving ribs up and out (like the illustration above)
in order to reach the cabinet
| Keeping ribs down (and therefore abs “on”) while
reaching up. Feeeeeeling the burn in the shoulder
Now that I’ve done these, I am thinking of so many more! How I pick up my kid, getting out of bed (remember friends, no jackknifing!), opening heavy doors, stirring a big pot of something, how I always sit on one foot, etc.
What are some things you can switch up?