Whilst there are so many aspects of pregnancy that I am loving at the moment like my-ever growing bump, the glowing face and a general positive feeling. I will admit that some other less-talked about factors plays a havoc at times; these are various kinds of aches and pains (which I did not even know was possible!), sciatica, lower back pain, hip pain, lethargy and feeling grumpy for no reason.
Luckily, there is a simple solution for all these issues: staying active and exercising (energy permitting of course). Now, before I go on I must say I was given the green signal to exercise by my midwife and GP both and some of my favourite exercise regimes like dancing and weight-lifting are strictly out of bounds. Truth be told most days after a hard day at work and blogging; I really don’t look forward to pump iron or dance like no one cares. But there are plenty of other things I do keep myself active, sane and happy.
Why I stay active?
The benefit of regular exercising is a no-brainer. As long as you are healthy and have no complications, pregnancy should not be an excuse to let go. Staying active not only helps in managing your weight but it has immensely helped to quell all sorts of pain mentioned above. Exercising also helps in labour; I am told (but I will vouch for that later).
My top tips:
- I try to fit in 40 to 60 minute of exercising at least three times a week.
- I divide my time either doing 30 minutes of walking (on treadmill) or cross training or go for a relaxing class of Pilates or Yoga.
- The thing I DO NOT do is push myself. Earlier, even if my body said it is tired, I would push myself to run for another 5 minutes or do another set of weights or squeeze in more yoga. But now, I stop and rest as soon as I feel tired; the important thing is to make sure you are not exhausted.
- I have also stopped doing exercises on my back. It is actually advised not to do such exercises as the weight of your bump presses on the main blood vessel bringing blood back to your heart and this can make you feel faint.
- I also keep myself well-hydrated through out and make sure I am able to carry on a conversation at a good pace. (The talk test is a great way to gauge your stress levels in pregnancy).
- No matter what, I do not sacrifice sleep for exercise.
My favourite exercises:
For back/hip ache:
I have purchased an exercise/gym ball and it has become my new best friend; I simple sit on it whilst doing house work. The idea is to sit straight and make sure your legs are at 90 degree angle. It relieves back ache and strengthens your core.
I try to go for a yoga or Pilates class whenever I can. It is important to tell your instructor about your pregnancy as they can guide you much better. Several yoga/pilates exercises are also out of bounds for pregnant ladies.
Whilst I don’t encourage using DVDs and videos in pregnancy; I still practice the below regime if I cannot make it to a class. I have been doing yoga for three years now and I am extremely aware about each movement and confident about poses, so this is one of my favourite videos now.
Sitting or standing at one place for a long time is the best way to ensure an aching back. I keep walking every now and then to make sure it does not happen.
Finally, pregnancy is a time to inculcate a positive attitude, so do things that you love to elevate mood swings and generate more happiness within yourself 🙂
PS: I am not a health expert, please speak to your GP/midwife if you want to exercise in pregnancy.