Pregnant? To exercise or not to exercise…

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Whilst attending a birthday party for a 2 year old the other weekend I overheard a newly pregnant mum talking about exercise and a local exercise class. She wasn’t going to go because, in her words “I didn’t exercise before I was pregnant so it’s not the right time to start now.”

With my Club BUMP hat on, her comment prompted me to go online and see what exercise advice is out there for newly pregnant mums. Can’t say I was surprised by the varied opinions and advice to be found on networking sites, forums and the plethora of pregnancy and baby related websites. Never mind the advice friends and family, or sometimes complete strangers, feel obliged to pass on.

Here are some basic facts:

If you haven’t been exercising regularly – it is never too late get ‘active’ – you can start with activity that is of moderate intensity 15 minutes three times a week and then build up gradually. You should aim for 30 minutes a day of moderate activity on most days of the week. By moderate activity we mean activity that makes your heart beat faster, but you still have enough puff to talk but not sing! This is completely individual and varies from person to person. Activities you might consider include brisk walking, cycling, swimming or dancing.

If you regularly exercise already, you can carry on as before until it gets uncomfortable. You do need to avoid things that might bump your bump! Also avoid extreme sports like scuba diving, or sports at a high altitude.

Use a calendar or diary and make a plan – set your own goals or just reminders!

Incorporating light to moderate intensity exercise will help you build your stamina which you need for labour and childbirth. It also helps keep you feeling energetic and feeling good – kills those mood dips!

Ante natal classes are specially tailored for pregnant women, can be fun and sociable, offering the opportunity to meet other mums to be. Why not come along to Zumba 4 Bump and get your body moving and the endorphins flowing?

Classes like Aquanatal swimming, pregnancy yoga and Pilates are good for your muscles and flexibility. Yoga and Pilates classes often finish with a few minutes of wonderful relaxation.

Need some personal advice? If in doubt, check with your GP or midwife for individual advice before returning to or starting a new class.

And me?
Before you get the impression I have a wardrobe of Lycra, I’m not really into exercise classes or the gym, I’d rather go for a good walk in the great outdoors. On a dark, winter evening after a busy day at work the temptation to curl up on the sofa was enormous BUT going to my exercise class was worth it, I came home mentally and physically happier. Plus I made some super friends who I still see regularly.

Author: Julia, mum to Ella & Jack and Club BUMP marketing.

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