Staying active while you are growing a small human isn't always easy, especially if you are dealing with morning sickness or tiredness - or not to mention chasing around a toddler or older kids! In this blog, personal trainers Renee and Jen from Real Health NZ share their top tips for staying active during pregnancy.
As we write this blog we are hitting weeks 23 and 24 of pregnancy with our number 2 babies on the way! Staying active during pregnancy is something that’s really important to us and something we love to help other pregnant mums to do too, because the benefits are endless!
In this blog we share our our top tips to staying active while doing the most amazing thing ever – growing a human!
Tip 1 - Make sure you are doing the correct exercises
Firstly before starting any exercise regime it’s important that you get medical clearance from your midwife or GP. Following that, it is incredibly important that you modify your exercises and your routine to keep you and your little bundle safe.
The majority of exercises need to be modified during pregnancy and there are some exercises that should be avoided at certain stages of pregnancy. It’s really important that you do your research and get the help of a qualified trainer.
Tip 2 - Listen to your body!
Over a 9 month period - and beyond - your body is going to go through some radical changes as it does the most incredible thing ever and grows a human from scratch! Seriously, what we ladies can do absolutely blows our minds! It is quite simply amazing, right?
As you progress through this journey you’ll be experiencing all new physical and emotional changes and feelings, so it’s important that you really get in tune with your body and how you are feeling.
Every single pregnancy is different and what feels right for one person might not feel right for another, some days you’ll feel good and other days you might feel super low in energy! Totally normal!
Remember to listen to your body now more than ever – pregnancy isn’t the time to push yourself. Pay attention to what’s going on physically and if something doesn’t feel right stop doing it straight away.
Tip 3 - Remind yourself of the beautiful benefits
For some exercising regularly at the best of times can be daunting let alone when you are pregnant! But, the benefits are huge and it’s a win-win for both you and your baby. Here are a few reasons why you should be aiming for some form of movement each day:
Staying active can help with labour
Labour is literally the hardest workout you’ll ever do - trust us! By exercising regularly during pregnancy your body, you'll help your body be more prepared for the demands of labour. In particular, exercise can help to build your cardiovascular system which can help give you energy and endurance for labour.
Staying active can improve quality of sleep
Sleeping when pregnancy isn't much fun - it can be really hard to get a good night sleep! Particularly from the middle of the second trimester onwards. Exercise can contribute to a deeper and more restful sleep as it’s been proven to increase the amount of time we spend in the ‘deep sleep’ phase.
Keeping fit can help reduce swelling
As the uterus grows it puts a lot of pressure on the walls of the surrounding veins, resulting in restricted blood flow which can lead to swelling, often in the ankles and feet. Keeping active is one way to help maintain a better blood supply and reduce swelling!
Exercise increases your energy and mood!
You know the saying.. exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy! It’s totally true! Even just a little bit of movement releases a whole lot of feel good hormones that will make you feel amazing and increase those energy levels.
Tip 4 - Be kind to yourself
It’s normal to feel your workouts getting harder so listen to your body and be kind to yourself! As your baby grows it’s like carrying a backpack that gets heavier each week! Naturally whatever feels easy in the early weeks will feel a lot harder as you progress through your pregnancy.
Find what works for you and don’t be afraid to mix it up or move away from your normal fitness routine. It's okay if you can't do exercises that you might normally find a walk in the park - your body is doing a huge job already growing a new life! Instead, pat yourself on the back for getting on your mat or out the door.
Tip 5 - Make it a priority!
The reality is, finding the motivation to exercise can be tough at the best of times let alone when you’re tired, your energy levels are lower than normal and you’re getting bigger by the day!
Pregnancy snaps up your energy making it harder than normal to stick to healthy habits at a time we need to the most! If you want to stay active, you need to make it a priority and schedule it into your daily routine. Figure out which time of the day works for you, lock it in and treat it as you would any other appointment.
Tip 6 - Adopt the 'something is always better than nothing' approach
This is a philosophy we have always been big on! You don’t need an hour, you don’t even need 30 minutes, some movement is always better than none!
Short bursts of exercise can do wonders for you both physically and mentally. Even when you’re buggered a walk around the block can do wonders! Fresh air and movement will actually give you an energy boost.
If you haven’t seen it yet we have just launched our brand new online pregnancy programme - this programme is totally online and over 5 modules we’ll show you how to move safely during pregnancy, nourish your body and get back into things once your baby arrives! Learn more about Real Health NZ, our qualifications in this space and the new programme.
P.S - Stay tuned over on our Instagram where Ren & Jen will be sharing some short pregnancy safe workouts!