In today’s issue of FUN, HOT, NO B.S. Fitness Magazine!…
VFT’s Featured Fitness Expert Lauren Gabriel, Physiotherapist of Preggi Bellies, discusses the Top 8 Excuses Women Use NOT To Exercise When Pregnant.
After receiving requests for more info from VFT’s magazine subscribers, and from Members in VFT’s Private Membership site, on exercising during pregnancy I went straight to Preggie Bellies.
Let’s face it, things have changed so much over the years when it comes to research. And when you’re pregnant it’s so easy to get overwhelmed with everyone’s advice – not to mention myths – on what you can and can’t do exercise-wise while pregnant.
The team at Preggi Bellies not only took the time to share this article but also, early this morning, spent time with me for our VFT Private Membership webinar call addressing members questions that they facebooked and emailed to me over the past few weeks.
Mummy’s – and Daddy’s, this article is especially for you. Feel free to share this with your friends.
I hope you enjoy today’s edition. PLEASE leave your feedback BY CLICKING ON THE COMMENTS box below, we love hearing from you!
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1. “I’m Pregnant”
Well, those days are over. Yes those days … the days where we women used pregnancy as an excuse for everything- can’t work, can’t exercise cant anything. And if you thought science was on your side you would be wrong. Exercise is better for the mother and for the baby. Research has shown that pregnant women who exercise gain less weight, have less pelvic, back and knee problems, deliver closer to term and cope better after labour than those women who chose not to exercise. Women also report less medical intervention during labour- shorter second stage labour and less need for drugs for pain relief. Babies born to exercising mums are leaner and cope better with the stress of labour. The benefits of exercise in terms of bone strength, obesity and heart health are well documented and they are the same when pregnant as when not- so there goes excuse number one….
2. “Exercise causes Miscarriage”
It’s simply not that easy! The morning after pill would be a thing of the past as dozens of irresponsible teenagers took a hard run after a night of passion! Exercise has been shown to be completely safe in pregnancy, until delivery, with exercising pregnant women more likely to deliver at term than early. However, exercise is not recommended in high risk pregnancies where pre term labour is already a risk factor or the mother is seriously ill or has a cervix likely to open early. In these cases her doctor would have already informed her of the fact and she may even be on bed rest. For normal healthy women miscarriage following exercise is highly unlikely.
3. “My mother told me not to”
This along with your mother-in-law telling you not to, should always be ignored (unless either one happens to be your obstetrician!). Ask your mother how her pelvic floor is doing? Probably not a question she wants to answer. With 1 in 3 women suffering from continence issues as they age, exercise during pregnancy and after is the perfect time to focus on pelvic floor health. Through the correct muscle activation, pelvic floor exercise techniques and learning how to use your muscles correctly, you can actively reduce your risk of developing a variety of continence issues. Prolapse and bladder control problems are common during and after child birth and through the correct exercises can be prevented and cured. Specialist physiotherapists are the gurus here (you don’t want just anyone exercising your lady bits!)
4. “If I raise my arms above my head I will strangle my baby with the umbilical cord”
Seriously????? Who comes up with these … This is not anatomically possible and avoiding arm exercise in pregnancy means you ignore your upper body strength and posture. As we age, through bone density loss and poor muscle tone, our vertebrae can shrink, causing rounding of the spine and the hunched back look we often see in the elderly. Using weights on the upper body to work all the muscles of the arms in pregnancy not only improves posture, bone density and strength but prepares the body for the weight of carrying a child and breastfeeding. Heavy breasts and feeding put a lot of strain on the upper back and strong shoulders, arms and chest muscles help to counteract this. This means exercise is not just for pregnancy but should continue afterwards.
5. “Abdominal exercises can split my tummy muscles”
The stomach muscles of a 16 year old were not made to fit a growing baby. So in its wisdom our bodies are designed with a safety catch in place. Our rectus muscles (that’s a “six pack” to you) are designed to separate down the middle and move apart to allow for a growing baby. We are powerless to stop this but can through core and clever abdominal work, control the separation and ensure strong abdominal muscles that help support our backs and pelvises and return back to shape fast post-delivery. Women who do not exercise find they are left post-delivery with overstretched, loose abdominal muscles with no memory of where they came from and no desire to return. They are more likely to have back ache and pelvic pain and struggle with returning into old clothes that no longer fit and with stretched muscles. Even exercising after the fact cannot replace a good exercise program before and during pregnancy.
6. “I can’t raise my heart rate”
Not raising your heart rate above 140 bpm is an old myth that is unfortunately still taught by many and is not correct. Heart rate is dependent on many factors- age, genetics, fitness and even traffic and simply restricting your heart rate to a certain number of beats per minute is not only impractical but almost impossible. Unless you have a medical condition- such as heart disease or preeclampsia- where a high heart rate may be of concern- the best way to monitor your exertion is to ensure you don’t feel nauseous or faint whilst exercising, warm up and cool down as per your instructor and don’t try to keep up with anyone in the class. Work at your own pace- the fitter you get the more you will be able to do. In early pregnancy heart rate is higher as your blood vessels enlarge but you have not yet produced enough blood. By the end of pregnancy your heart rate is slower as you have made up to 1.5 litres more blood to supply a growing baby. This is normal and it is important like any other muscle to exercise your heart to stay healthy.
7. “i cannot exercise as i will overheat when pregnant”
Many women simply feel that sweating in pregnancy is a bad thing. Many personal trainers and gym owners tell women they should not exercise to the point of sweating. So let’s set that straight- sweating is the bodies air-conditioning. We sweat to cool down. Pregnant women are the most efficient air-conditioning systems available (Brivis eat your heart out) and begin to sweat a lot sooner than their non pregnant counterparts. Pregnant women have blood vessels closer to the surface of the skin so that their blood can cool down more efficiently and all these systems happen without any effort. Women are designed to lose heat effectively so when pregnant women exercise they don’t overheat. Having said that it is important that women exercise in the right environment- make sure a room is well ventilated, drink and eat well and never exercise when you have a temperature.
8. “I am unfit and have never exercised before”
“This is like saying I am too fat to diet”.Pregnancy is the best reason in the world to begin exercise and form a lifelong habit that will be beneficial to both you and your baby. Our exercise programs pride ourselves on starting women who have never exercised before and setting them on a pathway to lifelong fitness and health. Women have begun in pregnancy and stayed on for years through multiple pregnancies and for years after. Many of our participants have gone on to run marathons or become trainers themselves.
Exercise is not a choice and yet every day we make it one. Unless there is a medical reason why one shouldn’t get fit and healthy Pregnancy should be the NUMBER ONE REASON for exercising.
So what are you waiting for……..GET OFF THE COUCH
Preggi Bellies is an exercise-to-music program developed over 12 years by physios, doctors, exercise specialists and obstetricians and is the first exercise program to combine the mediBall and weights in pregnancy. It’s designed to increase cardio vascular fitness, stabilize the pelvis and lumbar spine, tone and strengthen all muscle groups and promote a healthy, strong and fit pregnancy. This is all done whilst reducing the impact on the spine and pelvic floor.
Following the American College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ACOG) guidelines for safe and effective exercise during pregnancy, Preggi Bellies expert trainers guide all women at each stage of pregnancy through carefully constructed exercises. And each exercise is easily modified for individual needs in pregnancy making Preggi Bellies a pregnancy exercise program that allows most women to continue to exercise right through until delivery.
For further information on Preggi Bellies visit:http://www.preggibellies.com.au