Me Time: Just for Women

Beauty and fitness

Physical therapist Ashley M. Witson works with a client during a therapy session.  

Fitness, post-baby

Are you a new mom looking to get back into a fitness routine? Although your doctor may clear you for exercise at six weeks, it’ll take time to return to your pre-birth levels of fitness. In general, here are guidelines to get you started:  

  • 0-2 weeks’ post-partum: walk and do gentle pelvic floor and abdominal contractions, plus breathing strategies
  • 2-4 weeks: increase time/distance of walking and begin exercises based upon functional needs of motherhood, such as gentle squats, lunges, bridges, and rolling
  • 4-6 weeks: introduce stationary cycling or elliptical trainer exercise and continue functional strength exercises based upon needs of motherhood
  • 6-8 weeks: begin scar mobilization (if appropriate) and power walking; increase the duration of low impact activities, do gentle deadlifting and gentle resistance training with bands, and/or light weights.
  • 8-12-plus weeks: Move into swimming, spinning, and a graded return to a running program if there are no pelvic health concerns; build on training volume (distance/time) before intensity.

Ashley M. Witson, physical therapist, Feldman Physical Therapy and Performance, Fishkill and Poughkeepsie,

Kristine Devine leads a chair-based exercise class at the Gardiner Library. The fitness program incorporates moves that can be done while participants remain seated.

Exercise while sitting in a chair

   Designed for women and others of all ages and abilities, chair-based exercise offers an effective way to work muscles and joints; increase stamina, muscle and bone strength; and boost flexibility.

   The exercise program incorporates techniques that build on different areas of fitness, including moves that use a person's body weight to target muscle strength and promote eye-hand coordination. Some exercises involve resistance bands and balls, including one move where participants squeeze a ball placed between their knees. Moreover, doing the exercises at a slow tempo allows people to feel their muscles work.

"All of sudden people feel accomplished," says certified personal trainer, Kristin Devine, leads an hour-long weekly chair-based exercise class at the Gardiner Library in Gardiner. "They feel better and have more stamina. It's a personal accomplishment and the reduction of stress automatically goes with that."

Gardiner Library, chair-based exercise class,


Keep skin soft and silky 

Dry skin may not be a serious issue for most women, but it can be irritating, especially in winter when the dry air can worsen its redness, tightness and itchiness. Keep your skin supple with by following these tips:

  • Moisturize to seal skin and keep water from escaping.
  • Limit water exposure by keeping bath and shower time to 10 minutes or less. Use warm water instead of hot and avoid bathing more than once a day.
  • Skip soap, which can be drying. Choose cleansing creams, gentle skin cleansers and shower gels with added moisturizers.
  • Cover up when it’s cold or windy outside since winter can be especially drying to skin. Be sure to wear a scarf, hat and gloves when you go out.
  • Invest in a pair of rubber gloves and use them when immersing your hands in water or are using harsh cleansers to help protect your skin.



Natural hair care

If you’re looking for natural ways to care for your hair, skip the bathroom and head to your kitchen, instead. Shea butter, chamomile, sunflower oil, avocado oil, witch hazel, olive oil, honey and Aloe vera contain properties that enhance hair. For instance, use this avocado blend for shiny hair:

  • Mix 1 small jar of real mayonnaise with an avocado in a bowl
  • Mash the mixture until it turns minty green in color
  • Apply the blend directly onto your hair, from scalp to tip
  • Cover your hair with a shower cap and leave it on for 30 minutes
  • Rinse thoroughly

Source: Techniques to Achieve Naturally Healthy Hair,