Exercise and Pregnancy?

Should I Exercise During PregnancyHeck ya, you should! It amazes me on how many people believe that once you are pregnant that you should not exercise during the pregnancy. I want to lay that myth to rest right now and tell you that you should exercise during your pregnancy.The question is not should you, the question is how to. So in this article I want to give you some guidelines on how to exercise during pregnancy.If you’re into fitness at all and are thinking about having a baby, you are probably a little nervous! I’m sure you’re excited to have a baby but nervous about the weight gain and the impact pregnancy will have on your body appearance and fitness. I don’t blame you! I am a dude and I could see how putting on this extra weight could petrify you.Understand that you are going to put on weight during pregnancy. The goal is to make sure most of that weight is “baby weigh.” I want to provide you with some strategies for maintaining or even improving your fitness, even while pregnant so that you can look and feel your best while making sure that your baby is safe. I am always encouraging our clients to continue to exercise and continue to set fitness goals during their pregnancy. Don’t let this be a time where you fall off…then it is just more difficult post pregnancy.Exercising during pregnancy can provide a ton of health benefits for you onto of just looking good. And don’t forget the benefits it can have to your baby.Here are just some of the benefits of exercising during pregnancyLower risk of developing gestational diabetes (This is huge!)
Weight control (I know you love this one!)
Reduced postpartum depression (You don’t want to deal with PPD!)
Limits water retention (You know that bloated look!)
More nutrients for your baby because of larger placenta (Who doesn’t want a healthy baby!)
Decreased likelihood of varicose veins (We all love those veins..NOT!)
Less likely to require a C-section delivery (I heard these are not fun!)
Faster return to pre-pregnancy weight (YEAH!!)
Healthier and leaner child up to 5 years after delivery (Awesome!)
Increased fitness for delivery so that you can handle the demands of mommy hood! (I hear mommy hood is a fulltime job..Get Ready!)

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The studies that have been done encourage pregnant women to do moderate exercise for 30 minutes or more every single day so if you don’t believe me do your own research.Studies have even shown that very physically active women can benefit from continuing their high volume exercise routines, up to 9 hours per week, while pregnant. Now, there are certain things that you do want to stay away from during your pregnancy….So, now I want to provide you with some keys to your exercise success during pregnancy.Set Realistic GoalsFirst, you’ll have to adjust your goals and realize that things are going to change during pregnancy. I am going to state something that may shock you. Are you ready? While pregnant, weight gain is to be expected. That’s right, expect to gain weight! How much you gain is the question.Here are the healthy weight gain numbers during pregnancy:Underweight women should gain between 25 and 35 lb
Overweight women should gain no more than 15 to 25 lb
Women 5’2″ or shorter should gain between 15 and 25 lbGet all of those ideas of losing fat out of your mind while pregnant… Your new focus should be maintaining your fitness level and gaining a healthy, but not abnormal, amount of weight.Exercise IntensityYour exercise intensity needs to be kept in check during pregnancy. How will you do this? By keeping your body temperature and heart rate in check. In order to do this, you’re going to have to pay close attention to your exercise intensity. Always remind yourself that your first responsibility while pregnant is to create the ideal environment for your baby. I say that to say that if you are smoking and drinking then you should be smacked up side your head!I had to throw that in there because I am amazed at how women continue this lifestyle when pregnant.Back to my point on exercise intensity…You should be able to carry on a conversation without getting out of breath. Your heart rate shouldn’t climb higher than 70-75% of your maximum (HR maximum = 220-age) during exercise sessions.Keep your body temperature under control by avoiding exercising in extremely hot or humid conditions and always keep yourself hydrated during exercise. Exercise Each Day Will Keep The Doc AwayAlthough your exercise intensity will have to be kept in check, your exercise volume doesn’t necessarily have to decrease. How often and how much should usually be determined by what you were doing prior to getting pregnant. It’s actually recommended that pregnant women exercise at least 30 minutes daily with this exercise consisting of a wide variety of exercises.Exercises You Can Do and Exercises you Shouldn’t DoDuring pregnancy you want to stay away from contact sports. So put down the football ladies! Sprinting is out also but there are plenty of other exercises that are OK as long as you pay attention to the changes going on in your body and monitor the factors I mentioned above.High impact activities and other exercises should be minimized. Try to choose activities that create less joint stress like swimming, walking, biking, or if you like the gym you could use the elliptical or stair climber.I am about to state something that is going to shock you. Get ready!You can perform weight training while pregnant. In fact, weight training should be performed and can be one of the most beneficial activities for the pregnant woman. Just follow my guidelines below:Here are those guidelines while weight training during pregnancy:1. Work That CoreDuring pregnancy back and hip pain tend to increase. Fortunately, exercises that brace the core (your good old front and side bridges) can strengthen the core muscles and reduce pain. You want to try to pick exercises that require you to support your spine and that force you to use your core (abdominal) muscles to support your spine. You may have heard me refer to these exercises as core stability. While choosing these exercises you should maintain a neutral spine. These exercises will typically be free weight exercises and not machine exercises as they do all of the stabilizing for you. It is important to work your core during pregnancy2. You Should Train The Whole BodyMake sure to train both the upper and lower body. Training the entire body will enable you to build more lean muscle mass which will allow you to burn fat more efficiently while pregnant plus keep you looking toned and lean and sexy!

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3. You Should Avoid Lying on Your BackAfter the first trimester, try to avoid exercises that require you to lie flat on your back. Exercises like the bench press. Studies have been shown that exercising while flat on the back can diminish blood flow to your brain and also to your uterus. This is probably a no brainer but you also want to avoid exercises that press against or put pressure on your stomach.4. You Should Breath NaturallyTry to breathe normal during exercising. Try to avoid forcefully exhaling without actually releasing air which can result in a rapid increase in blood and intra-abdominal pressure which can decrease oxygen flow to the fetus.5. You Should Use Higher RepsI am not telling you to not work hard, I am just telling you to decrease the weight load. You should stick with higher repetitions for your sets (10-20 reps). These sets should be performed at 65-75% of your 1RM. This may help avoid stressing relaxed joints and help prevent a rapid increase in blood and intra-abdominal pressure.If you’ve been exercising regularly and have just become pregnant, it is important that you continue to exercise just be sure to follow my guidelines above. If you are reading this and are not yet pregnant, now is your time to get active and take control of your health so that you are prepared when your time comes.If you’re pregnant but exercise is new to you and you want to start, go right ahead. Just start very slow and be sure to follow the guidelines above. I always recommend getting guidance and consulting with a fitness professional that knows what they are doing and has some experience working with pregnant women. And don’t forget to check out my article on how to eat while pregnant… Taking care of your nutrition is a huge part of the game.Of course, if you need some help with your nutrition or exercise, I recommend getting with one of my Bootcamp Tulsa coaches.Now, go make some babies and have staying fit while pregnant!