One year ago TODAY I was due with my baby boy (I wouldn't get to meet him for another NINE days!) and ran SPRINTS. The day before I taught a grueling hour and a half strength training interval workout class.
There must be something in the water, in the past month I have had so many girls in my classes tell me they are pregnant, want to know if it's "okay" for them to work out and I try to tell them YES, it's wonderful and that I worked out the ENTIRE time. I am talking I exercised hard at least five times a week - none of this "walking" crap. (Tangent: I HATE when people say they exercise and I ask them what they do and they say "I walk"... MOST of the time I bite my tongue, but if asked I will tell them that walking isn't exercise. To get any real benefit you've GOT to get your heart rate up and be miserable just for a little while.)
Anyway, these girls either don't care or don't believe me that it is great for them AND baby, because after a month or so 80% will drop out.
(Side note: 1 out of 5 actually have some issue, like super high blood pressure or end up being high risk and their doctor advises them not to work out. In that case, obviously, the doctor knows best.)
IF FACT, this article says that "What appears to be more threatening to womens’ health is a sedentary lifestyle during pregnancy. According to Clapp’s studies, women who participated in little or no physical activity during their pregnancy were more likely to experience negative health problems during pregnancy and in the postpartum period."
So for the other 4 out of 5 that have zero issues, instead of becoming a couch potato for the next nine months, I cannot urge you enough to keep working out and eating normal.
The best thing you can do for YOU while pregnant is to keep strength training and here is why:
- Increases lean muscle mass.
- Increases your metabolism. Muscle continues to burn calories while at rest…even up to 48 hours after a work out!
- Building muscle builds bone mass which fighting osteoporosis.
- Can improve the overall function of your body in everyday living….balance, strength, less injury, etc.
- Can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Makes you feel better.
- Makes you look better.
Besides benefitting you, it exercising is also wonderful for your baby:
- Increased physical health scores, immediately upon birth and lasting into adulthood
- Increased intelligence scores for life
- Increased confidence & ability to self-soothe
- Fewer fetal interventions
- Fewer complications
The way a pregnant mom moves her body now can improve her baby’s health for years to come. Dr. James F. Clapp is the worlds leading authority on the effects of exercise during pregnancy. He writes, “The newborns of women who exercise tend to be alert, are easier to care for, and do not have trouble with transition of life outside the uterus.” He goes on to say these healthier babies respond more eagerly to things in their environment, they more readily self-quiet when they are disturbed, and they need much less consolation from others. You can find the full article here (and it's worth reading!): http://www.getfitforbirth.com/happier-smarter-babies/
If you're in the middle of a pregnancy, it's probably too late to start bootcamp or a high intensity workout, but today you can grab some weights and do some squats - then go for a JOG (gasp!).
I think we can all agree that the number one priority while pregnant is to grow a healthy baby, so try your hardest to incorporate (or keep) exercise into your daily routine for the baby's health, not just your own. Thanks for reading!