There is one part of pregnancy I’ve known since before I was pregnant that was very important to me: Keeping up with exercise.
There is also one part of pregnancy that has been a complete eye-opener as well: Keeping up with exercise.
I think we all have an idea of what pregnancy will be like in our head, whether it is how we are going to look, feel, crave etc. The crazy part is no one knows what is going to happen until you actually experience it yourself. Better yet, everyone is so different, on so many levels while pregnant. I want to share a few ways which have helped me stay active throughout this first pregnancy.
***Please note: I have given the complete go ahead by my doctor to exercise during pregnancy. These are ways that work for me.***
Listening To My Body
About a month before getting pregnant, I ran a 3:35 marathon. I was in really great shape and felt amazing. Fast forward to now, and I haven’t run more than 3-5 miles at a time since then. I would love to say I am one of the pregnant women who can run mile after mile, and feel great doing so, but I’m not. Thirty minutes is really all I have in me to exercise these days. After that, my back starts to bug me and I really feel like I pushed myself a little too far for the rest of the day. Being very conscious of this and listening to my body has been key. There are mornings I set out for a 3-4 mile run, and come back home after covering only 2.5 miles. I am perfectly ok with that. If it’s too tough to finish a workout session, then I don’t. No medals are being won here.
Buying Clothes That Fit
This seems pretty silly at first glance, but it actually took me a while to figure this out. I was trying for a while to just wear the clothes I had before, and be ok with them being “a little tight”. Needless to say, I think my version of tight and other’s version of tight are two different things. As soon as I bought exercise clothes a size up from what I normally wear, a few things happened:
- No more wedgies
- I could breath again (hello boobs!)
- My waist band wasn’t leaving big red marks
- No more arm pit flab (I know you know what I’m talking about!)
- I felt all around more comfortable in my skin
Counting Small Victories
Before I was pregnant, I didn’t count walking as exercise. Really, I didn’t. I walk Winnie every morning and night, totaling around 60 minutes, and this was part of my daily routine. Now, you can bet I count that time as exercise. I am on my feet, my body is moving, and yes – it’s exercise.
Last fall, my biggest goal was crossing the finish line of the Chicago Marathon, and then ramping up again for a spring marathon. Now, I am training for a whole other marathon happening late February (or early March) – childbirth! The exercise I do at the gym are focused much more on the muscles I have read aid in childbirth. I no longer worry about keeping my stomach flat (no kidding) or having those vanity muscles. It’s all about the end goal of having a healthy baby.
Focusing on Nutrition
A common misconception I hear plenty of people saying is I am eating for two. However, this is more like 1.2. I don’t need many more calories a day than a banana with peanut butter. Instead of indulging on fried foods and sweets like too many people do during pregnancy, I am really focusing on my veggie intake and eating whole foods. This was pretty tough in the beginning, when I couldn’t even look at a vegetable. Luckily, I am good to go now. Salads are delicious and I am really not craving so many brown and white foods like I do a few months ago. Don’t worry – dessert is still being had, without a doubt – I am just saving it for special occasions instead of making it an everyday sort of thing.
Focusing on Sleep
Without adequate sleep, I am toast. My body feels tired, my mind doesn’t work correctly, and in turn, I have no energy. I make sure to get to bed at a decent hour each night and get a minimum of eight hours of sleep. I have been lucky and haven’t had many sleep issues, so this hasn’t been too tough. I also embrace naps and take one if I need it. There is nothing wrong with taking 60 minutes on a Saturday to lie down, to keep yourself full of energy for later on.
What helps you stay active during pregnancy?