In the past, women were told to refrain from strenuous physical exercise because it was thought to not only hurt the mother but also the baby. These days, it’s practically recommended to work out regularly during pregnancy because there are tons of benefits that come with it! NOTE: If you haven’t been exercising regularly before pregnancy, now is clearly not the time to start working out a lot, but easing your way into a routine will help with one’s pregnancy tremendously. I was a runner and attended a gym regularly before I got pregnant, so I was ok with continuing my routines, but obviously I had to take precautions. I have to remind myself to not over-due it, because I have been known to push myself a bit too much. I find that when running, especially outdoors, that I’m exhausted easily after a mile, but after my body relaxes after my run, I feel great. I may be sore the next morning, but there is never a moment when I sit down and regret my decision to run or lift weights for that matter. I have run twice this week as well as including some weight lifting, and I feel great knowing that there are some individuals who make excuses to AVOID working out, and here I am 6 months into my pregnancy still plugging away. My goal is to gain minimal weight, make the pregnancy and labor experience less strenuous as well as minimizing other pains and discomforts commonly associated with pregnancy.
Check out part of this recent study findings:
A recent study published by the Institute of Movement Sciences and Sports Medicine at the University of Geneva, in Geneva, Switzerland, found that “regular physical activity has proven to result in marked benefits for mother and fetus.”
Maternal benefits include improved cardiovascular function, limited pregnancy weight gain, decreased musculoskeletal discomfort, reduced incidence of muscle cramps and lower-limb oedema, mood stability, and attenuation of gestational diabetes and gestational hypertension.”
Here are some more benefits of working out during pregnancy from:
They word it perfectly! Most women see exercises as more of a chore than a benefit or necessity for their pregnancy. Here are 7 more reasons why exercising during pregnancy make sense!
1) Boost your energy
Pregnancy can sap your energy, but regular bouts of exercise will help you get through your daily tasks or cope with a demanding schedule: Exercise strengthens your cardiovascular system, so you don’t tire as easily. With muscles that are strong and toned, you need less effort to engage in any activity, whether that means grocery shopping or sitting through meetings at the office.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), you can safely take part in 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise every day, as long as you don’t have a medical condition or complication that your doctor or midwife has told you rules out exercise or limits your activity level.
2) Sleep better (I have yet to see this benefit, maybe in month 7? )
When you’re carrying an extra 15 pounds (or more!) in front of you, finding a comfortable sleeping position can be a real challenge. But exercise will help you work off any excess energy and tire you enough to lull you into a more restful sleep. (Get more tips for sleeping well during pregnancy.)
3) Reduce pregnancy discomfort
Overall, regular exercise stretches and strengthens your muscles, which helps your body cope better with the aches and pains of pregnancy. Stretches ease back pain, walking improves your circulation, and swimming can strengthen your abdominal muscles.
4) Prepare for childbirth
It makes perfect sense: The better shape you’re in, the stronger you’ll be come labor and delivery time. Giving birth is akin to running a marathon, which requires stamina, determination, and focus. Though it hasn’t been well researched, training for childbirth through exercise may ease labor and even shorten the time it takes to deliver your baby.
5) Reduce stress and lift your spirits
Having a child is a life-changing, momentous experience that can leave you feeling simultaneously ecstatic, overwhelmed, and anxious. One study found that exercise boosts levels of serotonin, a brain chemical linked to mood, putting you in better spirits.
6) Improve your self-image
Watching the scale inch its way up to numbers you’ve never seen before can be disheartening. Staying active helps you feel better about yourself and improves your odds of gaining a healthy amount of weight.
7) Get your body back faster after childbirth
This alone is motivation enough for many women to embark on a pregnancy exercise regimen. When you’ve maintained your strength and muscle tone all through your pregnancy, your body will have an easier time bouncing back after you give birth. You’ll also gain less surplus weight if you exercise during your pregnancy.
Isn’t this great information? I know finding time to workout can be difficult, but why would you not want to get in on the benefits of exercising? Try walking a few days a week and add in a little weight-lifting and/or pre-natal yoga. I promise you won’t regret it.
DISCLAIMER: Check with your doctor before implementing exercise into your daily routine. They’ll help you understand your limitations and will make you aware of any exercises you should avoid while pregnant.