By Chloé Rochette, Trainer and Founder of the HappyFitness Movement
Finding the discipline and motivation to get regular exercise isn’t easy for even the most common of mortals. Add to that a balloon-shaped belly, ankles that look like grapefruits, back pain and feeling more tired than normal, and physical activity quickly gets pushed off. However, even if the idea of squeezing into your exercise clothes that are now too small for you to go jogging doesn't seem too appealing, staying active during pregnancy is very beneficial to both you and your baby. Except in rare cases, it is in the best interest of every future mother to make physical activity a priority during pregnancy. With your doctor's permission, here are a few excellent reasons to get started despite your lack of energy and fruit-shaped ankles.
1. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed
Physical activity helps to reduce symptoms of depression for women who are nervous about welcoming a baby into their lives. Since pregnant women are more likely to suffer from depression, it’s even more important for them to get moving on a daily basis. What's more, a bout of exercise will release a flood of feel-good endorphins. These great little neurotransmitters help to improve your mood and relieve anxiety, instantly boosting to your sense of well-being. When you don't have much energy, moving is undoubtedly the last thing you feel like doing. However, exercise will reinvigorate you more than a large-sized coffee, all while guaranteeing you a better night's sleep. How generous!
2. Better overall health
In addition to doing wonders for your mood and state of mind, exercise will help you stay in good physical health. In fact, moving your belly will reduce the risks of developing gestational diabetes and high blood pressure linked to pregnancy. Not to mention that back pain and other types of discomfort will probably diminish with a bit of exercise. You will also avoid gaining too much weight, in addition to maintaining your muscle tone and cardiovascular health which will turn out to be very practical when you must climb the metro stairs with a baby in arms, a diaper bag and stroller in the other, and your handbag on your head!
3. A faster delivery
Staying active during pregnancy will make giving birth easier. Many studies completed on groups of women who gave a vaginal delivery show that the cohorts who stayed active during pregnancy were generally in labour for a shorter amount of time than more sedentary groups. Clearly, one or two hours less of labour is an advantage that is nothing to scoff at! Plus, women who stay in shape during pregnancy recuperate must faster during the postpartum period. In short, getting exercise during pregnancy is good for your health and that of your future baby. However, the hard part about getting up and going is not knowing whether or not to do it, but rather, finding the motivation. Luckily for you, future mothers, your belly&mdashalthough it is the reason for your lack of energy&mdashis also the best motivation you could ever have. A little human being&mdashyour own little person&mdashdepends on your health and is counting on your care. Make your baby happy and get those sneakers on!
Belly training to stay active during pregnancy
During your pregnancy, avoid contact sports and exercises, as well as those that present a risk of falling. You must also avoid high-intensity workouts. As for everything else, you can exercise your little heart out: swimming, yoga, walking, weight lifting (avoid exercises that require you to lay on your back or bend your torso, such as crunches), running (if you were running before pregnancy and if your doctor approves), stretching, dance, aerobics, etc. Here is a workout that you can do at home or at the park. It's quick, fun and doesn't require any equipment. Have fun!
Chloé Rochette and Sophie Geoffrion, founders of HappyFitness
References : 1
Poudevigne, Melanie S., et Patrick J. O’Connor. « A Review of Physical Activity Patterns in Pregnant Women and Their Relationship to Psychological Health. » Sports Medicine 36.1 (2006) : 19-38. Web. 2
Downs, D.S., et al., « Physical activity and pregnancy: past and present evidence and future recommendations. » Res Q Exerc Sport, 2012. 83(4) : p. 485-502. 3
Prather, H., T. Spitznagle, et D. Hunt, « Benefits of exercise during pregnancy. » PM R, 2012. 4(11) : p. 845-50; quiz 850. 4
Raul Artal, Carl Sherman, Nicholas A. DiNubile. « Exercise During Pregnancy ». 27.8 (1999) : n. pag. Web. 5
Melzer, Katarina, Yves Schutz, Michel Boulvain, et Bengt Kayser. « Physical Activity and Pregnancy ». Sports Medicine 40.6 (2010) : 493-507. Web.