Find Out How Exercise Beats Fatigue And Tips For Safe Pregnancy Exercise
Farel Hruska, National Fitness DirectorStroller Strides, LLC, explains that the zap in energy is natural. “There can be a dip in energy in the first trimester because of the surge of hormones (estrogen, progesterone and relaxin, all of which can cause nausea, too), as well as the rapid dilation of blood vessels in order for your body to create more blood.”
Take heart, it’s not all an up hill battle for the oomph you used to have in spades. “This increase in blood volume reaches it's peak in the 2nd trimester and energy levels tend to increase. They dip a bit again in the 3rd trimester due to the increased work her body has to do with the extra weight.”
The good news? “When exercise is added to a healthy pregnancy, however, energy levels can increase throughout the entire pregnancy,” adds Hruska. So how do you beat the fatigue without feeling like you have to become Jane Fonda for the next nine months? The trick is not to overdo it.
Get the go-ahead
Although keeping fit is important for both Mommy and Baby-to-be, getting the thumbs up from your doctor is important for each and every pregnancy. Complications, such as diabetes or a history of preterm labor, may restrict your exercise regimen.
Keep it simple
The key to keeping your body healthy and labor-ready is not to do more than you were used to doing pre-pregnancy. Unless you are used to running five miles per day, picking up the marathon training isn’t appropriate now. But, taking a low-impact stroll or swimming for about 30 minutes per day is sufficient.
Motivation to move it
Even when your brain is telling you that you need to get off your tushy and get your blood moving, your body may have other plans. Having the right tools may help make it easier to keep up your routine:
- Pump up the volume – grab your music, slip on your headphones, and let the beat keep you moving.
- Grab a partner – any time you have moral support, or simply have to keep your commitment, having a fitness buddy may be just the push you need.
- Think out of the box – fitness doesn’t just involve aerobics and gyms; find a class such as belly dancing or golf to keep those muscles strong.
- Know your limits – recognizing when your body has reached its limit is important to keeping your body healthy, and willing to get up and go again the next day!
Sneak it in
Still not the biggest fan of exercise? Sometimes the best way is to sneak in the work out any way you can. Try taking a farther parking spot and walking a little extra to your destination. Or, take the stairs instead of the elevator. If you have other children, let them hop on their tryke or bike and become your walking buddy. If you have a job that keeps you at your desk most of the day, try taking the long way back to your desk from each of your many trips to the powder room. Exercise doesn’t always have to include a sweat band and leg warmers!
For those with an interest in alternative medicine, the Far East offers a different view of fatigue during pregnancy. According to Chinese medicine, “babies, while in utero cause fatigue by two main mechanisms.“ says Becca Seitz, acupuncture specialist with To The Point Acupuncture & Herbal Clinic in Portland, Oregon. “During pregnancy, the mother is using her Qi (energy) to help the baby grow. Particularly as the baby gets larger, the baby blocks the mother's natural flow of Qi making it unavailable to the mother.” To get in touch with your inner self (and your baby), you may want to try meditation-friendly yoga or T’ai Chi. Make sure you are taking a prenatal yoga class that is designed to be safe for pregnant women.
Remember that the idea is to keep your body healthy; now is not the time to try and lose weight. A healthy pregnancy is not only beneficial to your growing baby and your pending labor and delivery , but it will also make it easier to shed that baby weight once your bundle of joy is snuggly in your arms. After all, you’ll be running after a toddler soon enough!