Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Why Exercise During Pregnancy?

Most woman these days understand the importance of keeping healthy during their pregnancy, and the best way to achieve this is to eat a healthy diet and exercise. I know, the thought of exercise for many woman is not that appealing, however, it really makes a difference and is definitely worthwhile.

Need some convincing? Okay, let's talk about back pain. For those of you who haven't experienced child birth before, back pain is a common problem for expectant mothers, at times it can be unbearable. The extra weight you carry around takes a huge toll on your back and it definitely gets worse during child birth.

Guess what? Exercising helps relieve back pain! There are even women who claim to have no back pain because they exercised during their pregnancy.

How about weight gain? No I'm not talking about the extra weight you put on for your baby, I'm talking about excessive weight gain. You know, the weight that has nothing to do with baby! This is also common during pregnancy and again, it can be controlled by exercising. And as a bonus, because you've kept your body toned, strong and healthy, your body will return to it's pre-pregnancy weight a lot faster than if you don't exercise... now that's good news.

Stress! Yes, that's another problem pregnant women deal with. Worrying if your baby will be healthy, worrying if they'll have five fingers and five toes, worrying if you'll get to hospital on time, worry about who will be around to take you to hospital, worry about child birth and on and on it goes. You'll also need to deal with the midnight trips to the toilet and sleepless nights, all thanks to your pregnancy.

Guess what? Yes, you got it! Exercise helps reduce your stress levels and also helps you get a good nights sleep. Sorry, it doesn't help much with the toilet trips but two out of three ain't bad.

Are you beginning to understand the benefits of exercise? I hope so, I can't stress how much it will help you cope with the mental and physical demands of pregnancy. Exercising really is your key to a healthy, happy pregnancy and there's so many forms of exercise you can choose from. You'll easily find something that you will enjoy and will suit your situation. Give it a go, seriously.

Okay, now you've decided to exercise during your pregnancy, here's a few things to think about:

1/ Consult your doctor and discuss your intentions with him so he can give you the best advice directly related to you and your situation

2/ Avoid exercises or activities that have an increased risk of falling. eg; horse riding, cycling, roller blading, skiing

3/ After the 3rd/4th month avoid exercises or activities that involve lying on your back

4/ Always listen to your body, if it doesn't feel right, DON'T do it

5/ Don't over exercise! A good test is the talk test, you should still be able to carry on a conversation while exercising, if you're gasping for breath or can't talk, you need to stop or slow down

Here's a list of popular pregnancy exercises to get your started:

1/ Walking - walking is one of the best cardiovascular exercises and it's easy and safe to do. Almost anyone can do it with little to no effort, by that I mean no fees, you don't have to drive anywhere, no video or DVD is required, you can walk around your home, street or local area. Change your habits to include walking, walk the dog, walk your kids to school or pick them up, walk to the shop, you get the picture right?

2/ Swimming - this is highly recommended by many doctors and fitness experts as the best and safest activity for pregnant women. It exercises most muscle groups and gives you a good cardiovascular workout at the same time. The weightlessness you feel while swimming is wonderful and it's a refreshing and fun way to exercise.

3/ Pilates - this is one of the most popular forms of exercise for pregnant women in this day and age. Many women are doing it including celebrities. It's an exercise that combines flexibility and strength training and has huge benefits for your breathing, relaxation and preparation for child birth. It takes a lot of stress off your pelvis and back and many say it helps your baby get into the correct position for delivery.

4/ Yoga - very similar to Pilates, yoga focuses on stretching and helps maintain muscle tone and relaxation. Definitely worth consideration, it's known as an all over wellness exercise.

5/ Weight Training - you may think this is an odd exercise for pregnant women, funnily enough it's actually really popular. It strengthens and tones your muscles and prepares your body for child birth. It also helps you return to you pre-pregnancy body weight a lot faster.

So there's a few examples of exercises to do while pregnant! But the best advice I can give you is to find something you enjoy. The main aim is to DO SOMETHING! I wish you well with your pregnancy and please please please, strongly consider doing exercises during your pregnancy, it will make the world of difference.

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