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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Prenatal Exercises

Exercising regularly during pregnancy is a tough thing for many women, including me, but I know how important--and how helpful in the long run--it is. My problem is that for the first trimester I'm so sick and so exhausted that the thought of exerting any more energy with exercise is more than I can handle contemplating. So I do the best I can and by the second trimester, when I'm feeling better and have more energy, I do pretty well. But then I enter the third trimester and my energy wanes again, and my motivation along with it.

In a few different posts I have shared with you my exercise program, which includes exercise videos/DVDs. Since I can't use those right now, I have been trying to regularly exercise with these two prenatal exercise DVDs.

I have read enough about the importance of exercise and stretching during pregnancy to feel very guilty when I don't. And, not wanting to be a hypocrite, I have been trying to focus on doing better in this area recently. And what I have discovered in the process has been quite enlightening. You know how all the pregnancy literature says that, as incongruous as it sounds, you'll actually have more energy when you exercise? Well, I never feel that happen much in the first trimester, but now in my third trimester I am! And my energy (and motivation) level has been so low the last few weeks, especially, that getting some of that back has made a big difference in my life.

The first DVD (above), with Denise Austin, is one I started using during my last pregnancy, and what I especially like about it is that, not only does it have different workouts for the different trimesters, but it also has a general cardio workout and a prenatal one as well. I don't feel like the third trimester workout is as careful or appropriate, though, as the one in the second DVD (below), Prenatal Pilates. The trainer in this DVD has, I think, a better understanding of what happens in the body during the different stages of pregnancy, what things to watch out for, how to prevent injury, and how to prepare for a good labor experience, and her workouts reflect that. Pilates, as I discovered years ago, like yoga, can do wonders for an aching back or sore muscles (of which I always have plenty at this point in my pregnancies). And so this was the DVD I was using the most. But it turns out that what I've been needing even more is the cardio workout, even though I haven't felt I had the energy to do it. But after discovering that doing so does, indeed, increase my energy--for the whole day--and that it loosens up aching muscles and reduces ankle swelling, I find myself again wanting to exercise each morning! I have gone from needing a short nap every afternoon just to survive until bedtime, to not taking a nap but sleeping better at night, which makes me feel a lot better when I wake up in the morning.

Another facet of a regular exercise routine that is of great benefit is how it helps the mind. When I give myself that time in the morning to let my mind wander while my body moves, I find that I can more easily figure out problems, organize and prioritize my day, and see things more clearly, which gives me a better sense of calm and patience. And I definitely need that!


Sheena said...

That Denise Austin video was one of my favorites! Especially for the post-pregnancy ab workout.

Nataly Harris said...

Ooh...I want to try some of those videos to change things up...currently I do light weight-training and treadmill and/or elliptical machines, mostly all cardio-focused. I'm taking advantage of the 2nd trimester when I'm not so big to build up my physical stamina. And, as you know, keeping up the physical activity while pregnant will help when we need to bounce back to "normal" after the delivery :)


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