29 July 2009

Pregalates: Tash talks about the importance of exercise

Welcome to the first of many articles covering the issues of exercise during your pregnancy. There’s heaps of information out there, some of which can be conflicting and if you’re a first time mum, it can also be extremely daunting.

In my experience, the first thing people do when they find out they’re pregnant is start to worry about all the things they can’t do.

I’m suggesting that you turn that way of thinking around and focus on all the things you CAN do. Being pregnant isn’t a disease, women have been doing it for years all over the world and coping quite nicely thank you very much!

To drag your arse up to do anything when you’re pregnant is hard enough, but to drag your arse up to do exercise – get outta here!! Pregnancy is a time for sitting comfortably on the sofa with your feet firmly OFF the ground and your hand firmly IN a bag of chocolates…is it not?

Well, I’m here to try and convince you otherwise. I’m happy to share with you that nowadays, it’s widely accepted by midwives and GPs that exercising while you’re pregnant is more than just a good idea. It’s a way to keep body and mind focused on the job at hand – first class baby baking.

Stress hormones (or cortisol levels if we’re being technical) are heightened during pregnancy and as soon as you do any form of exercise, they get cancelled out with happy hormones (which can only be a good thing!).

Not only does exercise make you feel better emotionally, it also helps to reduce the likelihood of injury or those common complaints we all read about like back ache, water retention, sciatica (pain down the sides of your legs), difficulty sleeping, losing balance, weight gain….should I go on?

The first myth to dispel is that exercising whilst pregnant puts you or your baby at risk. Rubbish! (PROVIDING of course that you aren’t jumping out of planes or climbing bare rock faces unaided). It’s perfectly ok to start a new form of exercise and most people opt for pilates or yoga, swimming and walking. These activities are gentler than running or spin but still extremely effective.

Why you should consider exercising throughout your pregnancy:

• During labour you can concentrate on enjoying the process with the knowledge that your body isn’t going to give up on you
• Your body’s going to bounce back a helluva lot more quickly after all the fun’s over with
• You won’t feel as uncomfortable in your new body 24/7
• Varicose veins will be kept at bay
• Back ache will not raise its ugly head
• Water retention around the ankles will be something you associate ‘other’ people with.

I know what you’re thinking. “When am I supposed to find time to fit exercise into my day? I’m at work for 10 hours, asleep for 8 – I need to eat, wind down and relax.” By my calculations, that still leaves you with at least an hour when you’ve done all those other things, at least three times a week to do some exercise. I promise you (and I don’t promise things lightly, let me tell you 1) that your body, your pregnancy, your labour and your mind will all thank you for it in the long run and if you think you have no time BEFORE the baby arrives…..boy, are you in for a shock when it does finally grace you with its presence!!

I would love to hear from you! Email your questions about pregnancy exercise or anything else to tasha[at]pregalates.com

xx Tasha

Pregalates DVD giveaway question:

What is the scientific name given to the stress hormone that is heightened during pregnancy?

Remember: First person to email me with the correct answer wins . You must be a fan of both Pregalates and The Baby Bump Project on Facebook in order to be eligible.

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The Baby Bump Project by Meredith Nash is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.