We all know exercise is important, and did you know there are even better reasons to work out during pregnancy? If you've been cleared by your doctor to maintain normal levels of activity, then put on your running shoes and hit the gym! It may be hard at times when pregnancy exhaustion hits, but even a little exercise can really make a difference. Here are some awesome reasons to work out during pregnancy that will inspire you if you're expecting!
1. Increases Your Energy
Just like when you're not pregnant, working out gives you an energy boost. One of the reasons to work out during pregnancy is that you have more energy when you push through that tired feeling you get while pregnant and work out anyway! Remember, you can always stop exercising if you feel too exhausted, and in fact you should be in tune with your body to know when to take it easy. Most of the time, leaving the house is most of the battle and once you're in the zone, it's easy to keep going!
2. Improves Your Strength & Flexibility
Pregnancy puts a lot of strain on your joints and muscles with the added pressure of the baby, blood volume increase, water retention, and loose joints due to pregnancy hormones. To increase your range of movement and improve your strength, make it a priority to work out. Even walking and yoga will make a world of difference in how you feel and move!
3. Reduces Swelling
Getting your body moving will help in reducing pregnancy edema - the swelling of your ankles, feet and hands and even face. Towards the end of pregnancy, the added pressure builds up and can cause swelling. Exercise increases the oxygen in your blood and significantly improves circulation. Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise and elevate your feet at times throughout the day to help keep swelling down.
4. Keeps Excessive Weight Gain in Check
Pregnancy weight gain is a good thing- it means your body is doing what it's supposed to do to support new life forming. However, it's also very easy to put on too much weight which can lead to a big baby and put a lot of strain on your body as well as cause health problems. To keep weight gain at a normal level, eat healthy, stay away from too many sweet foods or refined carbs, and exercise regularly!
5. It Eases Constipation
Constipation is a common pregnancy complaint and to help combat it, going for a brisk walk or other activity of your choice, will help encourage bowel activity. Along with exercise, drink plenty of water and get enough fiber in your diet for proper digestion.
6. Prepares You for Labor
Cardio and strength/flexibility training like yoga, can prepare you for the challenge of labor and delivery. Labor is always hard but when your body is in good shape, you have additional strength and power to not only endure the pain of labor, but to have more endurance to push and you will recover faster post-delivery!
7. It's Easier to Get Your Post-baby Body Back
Ever wonder how some moms seem to lose their baby weight in only a few short weeks? Some of it is genetics but more importantly, when you're fit, have more muscle and a balanced diet, it's much easier to get back into shape after baby arrives! Do remember that every women is different in how their body responds to added weight gain and loss after baby arrives. Expect to take at least 9 months to lose it all (since it took that long to put it on!) which is healthy!
Even if you didn't work out before pregnancy, you can start now! Just remember to start small, like 5 minute bursts, before working up to longer sessions. And anyone can walk, which is one of the best activities for moms to be! Got any other reasons to share why exercise is beneficial for pregnant mamas?