Wednesday, November 20, 2013

All The Reasons You Shouldn't Work Out When You're Pregnant (And Why They're All B.S.)

1) You're tired.
Working out will make you feel more energized and help you sleep better at night.  Whenever possible, workout outside where you can get sun and fresh air.  (Just make sure you have a cell phone with you and people know where you are.)  You can always tell yourself you'll do 5 minutes and then you can stop if you want to.  More often than not you'll probably keep going.

2) You look funny.
No one cares.  Most people are so absorbed in what they're doing (or whether they look funny) that they're not going to pay attention to you.  In fact, if they are looking they're probably thinking... "Wow, if she can do that pregnant, I have no excuses not to do it when I'm not."  You're an inspiration!

3) You're sore.
Stretching and light exercise will make you feel better.  Do some trial and error to see what feels good and what doesn't.  Maybe running is out of the question at the moment, but the elliptical feels OK.  Maybe Zumba is tough, but gentle yoga is helpful.  Maybe you can do exactly what you liked before, but at a slower pace.

4) You now get winded walking up the steps.
The baby is taking up space and pushing up on your lungs, and carrying around more weight makes everyday activities more challenging.  Exercise will mediate the effects of pregnancy on your body and make recovery easier.

5) You don't know what is safe.
Talk to your doctor.  Unless you're high risk or have complications, chances are most will encourage you to be active as much as possible for as long as possible.  There are plenty of workout DVDs and classes designed for mothers-to-be.  Most people advise that you avoid lying on your back after your first trimester and running a marathon probably isn't the best idea, but most activities should still be on the table.  These Tracy Anderson DVDs were my favorite during pregnancy.

6) You don't have time.
You're about to have far less time.  It will be much easier to avoid putting on excess weight and to maintain your current level of fitness than it will after a 9 month and 6 week hiatus.  Besides, nothing makes working out more challenging than having a bald, cranky, and endlessly demanding little boss who requires hours of planning to leave the house.

7) You're supposed to be on the couch eating Bon Bons.
You're not sick,  you're pregnant.  It's not an excuse to be lazy.  The decisions you make about your body now don't just affect you and whether you can still squeeze into your favorite jeans, they also affect your little baby.  If you wouldn't feed your baby a Big Mac outside the womb, you probably shouldn't feed him or her fast food inside the womb.  That's not to say you need to go vegan and shun every bit of junk food (I certainly didn't) but you also shouldn't use pregnancy as an excuse to gorge yourself and sit on your butt.  That's not good for anyone.

8) It's uncomfortable.
Again, it's all about finding the right activity and the right intensity.  Working out right now shouldn't be about torturing yourself, about calories burned, pounds lifted, or the speed on the treadmill.  It should be about keeping your blood flowing, your heart pumping, and your body as healthy and relaxed as possible.  If walking and running are a strain with your growing belly, try an exercise support belt.  You can hide it under your shirt and it can make a big difference.

Gabrialla Medium Support Elastic Maternity Belt

And in case you need some more motivation, working out while pregnant may actually raise your child's IQ... College scholarships anyone??

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