Thriving Through Pregnancy – Exercising

So I’m talking about ways to not only make it through pregnancy but to enjoy it and this week I’m talking about exercise.  Yes, I said the big E word and yes, I even paired it with pregnancy.  Trust me, it’s not that hard.

I’ve always enjoyed exercising myself, but I understand that a large percentage of people do not feel this way.  I was always active as a child/teenager and it’s just kinda continued into adulthood.  Is it harder to find time to exercise now?  Of course it is.  But for me exercising has never had to involve going away from my home so I’ve been able to fit it in during most points of my life.  I don’t really enjoy gyms or exercise classes because I feel like the having to get up and leave my house is a lot of trouble and it’s not very conducive to my lifestyle.  Luckily I’ve always got something on hand at home that I can pop in or turn on where I can get a sufficient workout in my living room, in my pj’s, without even brushing my hair.  My other option is walking/running around the neighborhood.  We have lots of sidewalks where we live so this works out well most of the time, although this time of the year you’re going to want to get up early to beat the heat.

I’m not going to spend much time on the importance of exercise when you’re pregnant because it’s pretty much the same reasons you would exercise when you’re not pregnant.  Here’s the short list:

1. You have more energy when you exercise (** if you exercise in moderation like you should, you can do too much in one session and be left feeling tired instead of energized)

2. It will make labor easier (I think this is mainly because you are strengthening muscles that will be used during labor and it helps increase your endurance that you will need for labor)

3. It will help you stay more flexible throughout your pregnancy (think about those women you see that waddle, you don’t want to be a waddler)

4. It will help you to keep you weight gain under control (pregnancy=weight gain, but you can tend to gain too much unneeded weight)

5. You’ll be glad you did after baby is born (it sure helps to keep toned up since you’ll be carrying a baby around afterwards, and chasing toddlers, and maybe even participating in  the evening backyard baseball game)

So what is a good exercise plan for pregnancy?  Well it depends on what kind of exercise plan you had before pregnancy.  If you’ve been exercising for 20 minutes a day doing low to mid impact workouts, then by all means keep it up.  Stop abdominal exercises and anything else that is painful, uncomfortable, or causes you breathing problems.  If you’re a runner then keep running as long as it’s comfortable, but if you weren’t a runner before you may want to stick to walking.  If you haven’t been doing any form of exercise then walking is always a good place to start.  Then maybe look for some low impact workouts or they even make workouts specifically for pregnancy.

The two most important things to remember about exercising during pregnancy:

1. Stay hydrated – Be sure to drink plenty of WATER before and after your workout, dehydration can cause cramping as well as other problems.

2. Stop any exercise that is painful – I’m talking about painful as in cramping or shooting sharp pains, stop the exercise and find an alternative.

So there are my tips.  What are you experiences with exercising or not exercising during pregnancy?

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