Friday, April 13, 2012

Preggercise and it's Importance!

Photo: Google Images

The further I get into my first pregnancy, about 5 1/2 months now, the more I am realizing the importance of exercising the whole way. As an ACE and NCSF certified personal trainer, group exercise instructor and someone who's worked in the fitness industry for the last 7 years, I've always known the importance of exercise. The benefits are limitless and I'm a firm believer that there is some form of exercise for EVERYONE! No matter your limitations, you can find some form of activity that works for you.

Days I don't find the time to fit in my workout, I notice being SO much more worn out by dinnertime, I tend to start feeling those pains in my back from sitting still too long and quite frankly, my mood isn't what it should be. I have much less patience when I don't exercise.

I know there has been an ongoing debate for years whether pregnant women should exercise or not, but unless you've been instructed by your doctor otherwise, GET UP AND GET ACTIVE! Not only will you feel more energetic and healthier, but you're setting the stage to raise a healthy and active child through leading by your example. I've read countless testimonies since researching exercise and pregnancy, of women who swear that staying fit throughout pregnancy not only helped their bodies bounce back to pre-pregnancy shape quicker, but also made their labor process more smooth. Obviously, I can't testify to this fact personally yet since I've never gone through labor, but the health benefits alone should have you sold.

I've never been one to tolerate excuses when it comes to being overweight, but when the health of your child is at stake too, there's not more vital time to not only find time to be active, but eat healthy foods. Your baby is depending on you to feed them the nutrients they need to grow as strong as they can, don't you owe them that? I've posted a workout schedule below similar to the one I do, and it is important to change things up, not only so you don't get bored, but so you're body will continue to respond. Lastly, even though there's not much you can do for your tummy muscles for the next few months, you can still keep you legs and upper body in shape, it'll be one less thing to worry about once your little buncle makes their arrival. You should consult with your doctor before starting an exercise program while pregnant, especially if you have risk factors.

Monday/ Wednesday/ Friday~ 30 minute walk (you can do this anywhere, so no excuses!)
Circuit workout: do each circuit consecutively, 3 times before moving to the next section
12 Pushups, modify these by coming to your knees, but being mindful to keep your but flat. As your belly gets too big to do them traditionally, do a box pushup by coming into cat post (on hands and knees, hops tucked under to protect your low back) and just drop your chest to the ground, not your hips and tummy.
30 second wall squat, with your back flat against a wall, sit in an imaginary chair, hands OFF your legs.
30 second modified plank hold, this is typically thought of as an ab exercise, but it so great for your lowback, legs and arms as well

12 Lateral Raise, holding dumbbells in front of your hips, raise arms to sides at shoulder level, then lower to start, keep your elbows soft, not locked out at the joint
20 side lying hip circles, lie on side, head propped up on bottom hand, upper arm in a box in front of chest. Raise top leg to hip level, flex foot and make tennis ball sized circles driving with your heel and stopping to hold with each circle. Repeat on both sides.
30 second side plank, lie on side, stack feet on top of each other, or drop bottom knee to floor to lessen difficulty, prop up on bottom forearm, elbow under shoulder and raise bottom hip up off mat. Repeat on other side.

12 Bend over Reverse Flyes, Spread feet hip width apart, knees softened, hinge forward at the waist until your back is almost parallel with the floor. Holding your dumbbells together underneath your chest, slowly raise them up towards the ceiling until they are parallell with the floor, elbows soft the entire time, then return to start.
15 Plie Squats,  Feet spread wider than hip width, toes and knees pointing diagonally outward, keep your back up very straight and lower your seat towards the floor underneath you. You want to lower until your inner thighs catch, or until your thighs are about parallell with the floor, then raise back up slowly. You can hold dumbbells to make this more challenging
15 tricep Dips, Have a seat on a sturdy, stable chair, hold onto the front of the seat with your hands, fingers facing forward off the chair, bring your seat off the end of the chair, lower your butt towards the floor slowly until your upper arms are parallell with the seat on the chair, then raise back up slowly. You should feel this in the backs of your arms.

I hope this is helpful to some of the expecting mama's reading it. With the weather heating up, swimming is another great option for getting your fitness on. I wouldn't really recommend indoor pools unless they have a good air filtration system. I would think all that chlorine in the air inside would make me ill. I have another workout option posted here if you need to spice up your workout further!

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