Pregnancy fitness: 3rd trimester cardio

Even though you probably felt a bit like superwomen in your second trimester, you now may find yourself waking up slightly tried and losing energy as the day goes on. I know I certainly did. You’re also find that moving around isn’t as easy as it was and everything takes that little bit longer. The reason for this is that you’re baby is probably around 14 inches now (in your seventh month) and weighing around two to four pounds. Your breasts will also be around two pounds heavier and your uterus will be putting pressure on all your internal organs, including your diaphragm and lungs, causing shortness of breath. My bump really popped out at this stage and I felt HUGE! Staying active is vital though. I really noticed the difference at pregnancy groups – some of my in-active friends had constant back pains, found it difficult to walk for too long and even sit of too long. I didn’t really have any of this – and I certainly put it down to staying active as much as possible! 

Things to remember
During your third trimester your mobility may be limited, thanks to your growing bump and possibly water retention, and there’s no doubt that you will fatigue more easily. With that in mind, you can still safely participate in a 30-minute workout at least four days a week in order to maintain a good base of fitness and mental sanity.

One thing I would highly recommend in your third trimester is regular swimming sessions. The hardest part is probably putting on your swimsuit – but once it’s on and you’re in the water, you’re forget that you’re pregnant as the water supports your joints, provides buoyancy to your bump and supports your bodyweight. It will also keep your core temperature cool as you exercise, and work your heart as well as your arm and leg muscles.

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 14.04.07

What stroke?
While the front crawl is still fine in your third trimester, the breaststroke will probably be most comfortable because your tummy will hang below you and the arm and leg movements are great for strengthening your back, chest, hips and bottom. It’s great for helping pregnancy posture too (you may have noticed your shoulders rounding and you get a slight hunch in your upper back). Breaststroke will stretch your chest muscles out and strengthen and shorten the back muscles that tend to overstretch during pregnancy.

Just be careful that you don’t work your legs too aggressively. Relaxin, the hormone that is will be circulating the body and working on making your joints more flexible, especially the pelvis will now be at its peak in your body, meaning you don’t have to do a lot to overstretch and cause a strain or muscle tear. Forcefully kicking your legs can strain the hip joints and ligaments because the public bone will already be starting to separate in preparation for labor. You don’t want to force the situation, which will lead to lower back, pelvis and hip pain.

How to fuel your swim
Complex carbs like wholegrains, oats, fruits and vegetables are ideal for getting your energy levels stable before and after your swim. At this stage you’ll also want to be getting sufficient calcium from calcium-rich foods like dark leafy greens, almonds and sardines – yes these are all just as good as milk!

Your pregnant body will also be leaching calcium from your bones to support the growth of your baby, so make sure you’re getting around three servings of quality calcium foods every day. Also make sure you stay well hydrated. It’s easy to forget to drink when in the pool but you can still get dehydrated, which is dangerous for you and your baby and will only add to your fatigue. Always leave a bottle of cool water at the side of the pool that you can sip from regularly, and make sure you drink a small glass before and after your session too.

Don’t forget!
As always, make sure you get the go-ahead from your doctor before you start exercising and listen to your body. If it doesn’t feel right then stop.

Advertisements

Pregnancy fitness: 2nd trimester cardio

I’ve been really lucky to be able to write some informative blogs for the children’s shop Kiddicare. I love this shop and brought most of Lacie’s baby clothing, furniture and pram from here, so its a real honour to be writing for them.
Basically all my blogs are about how to exercise safely through pregnancy. I am going to share all these blogs with you over the next few weeks so all you beautiful pregnant ladies feel confident to carry on exercising. Here’s my third blog – ‘Cardio during your second trimester.’ I remember this was the trimester I really got my energy back and felt great. Yes I had days when I just wanted to stay in bed and sleep so I did it. I did also find that on those tired days that some gentle exercise was great for my energy levels and pulling me out of my lull.

* As always please drop me an email or message me if you need a hand or have any queries…*

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 11.27.57 1

Now you’ve got your energy back, let’s get into the swing of some regular exercise. Here’s how to exercise safely between weeks 12 and 26 of your pregnancy.

Yay – you should start feeling better by the second trimester. Your body finally understands what it’s doing, and your hormones and energy levels have leveled out, making things feel that little bit easier.
If you didn’t get to the gym much in your first trimester, don’t panic, you should be proud of yourself for listening to your body and letting your body protect your precious baby. So now your interest in fitness – and other things has come back, lets pick up where you left off and take advantage of this new found energy!

Things to remember

When it comes to doing cardio in your second trimester, you still NEED to very much listen to your body and keep the intensity down. This is not the time to be increasing your fitness levels. Simply put, it’s the time to be maintaining them and keeping those feel good endorphins circulating the body.

One thing to remember whether you are opting to swim, power walk, use the cross trainer or the exercise bike is that you’ll sweat more easily during this trimester. This is down to an increase in weight and also because your core temperature would have risen about one-degree. This increase in sweat is a way of cooling you off and of course keeping your bubba in the safe zone. Your main mission here is to make sure you stay well hydrated, you’ll be surprised at how much fluid you lose through sweat and you need to keep your body hydrated to avoid dizziness, mental fog, headaches, muscle cramping and nausea.
So what can you do that’s safe?

Walking
Walking is still a great form of exercise during this trimester. It poses very few risks and will keep the heart rate nice and steady. As before make sure you are wearing a good sports bra to cater for your growing chest and get properly fitted shoes that provide good support. It’s also worth remembering that your center of gravity and gait will change very quickly, so stick a flat terrain with little obstacles – you don’t want to trip over. You’ll be surprised at how clumsy you can get.
I love wearing a pedometer or Garmin when walking. It monitors the time on your feet and the distance covered – those miles soon add up!

Swimming
If you like swimming, you should be able to continue swimming well into your second trimester without any difficulty. The cool-water will feel really nice as your body temperature increases, plus the water supports your joints, especially as relaxin, the hormone that released to loosen your hip joints and prepare you for labor starts to surge.
Just be careful not to jerk your legs, when doing breaststroke as this will put pressure on your hips and pelvis. You should also avoid backstroke to improve fetal positioning.
Three swims per week of 20-40 minutes is enough for you to reap the aerobic benefits of swimming with no adverse effects on your body or baby, but remember that if you begin to get short of breath during swims, slow down your pace and stay near the edge or shallow end of the pool until you feel that you’ve recovered.

Stationary cycling
Your balance and center of gravity will still be out, so I would ditch the outdoor bike and stick to stationary cycling now until the baby is born. It’s not worth the risk, especially since your pelvis is no longer protecting your uterus.
When sitting on the stationary bike, make sure you are sitting nice and upright, which will make it easier to breathe, and move the seat to a comfortable position (usually hip height) to stop your knees from opening too far. Make sure you keep an eye on your temperature too and don’t work out so hard that you feel exhausted and light headed. This totally defeats the purpose of a fit and healthy pregnancy!

Anything else?
As always listen to your body throughout your whole session and beyond and of you experience any of the following STOP and seek medical advice.
Pain in the back or pelvis
Exhaustion (much worse than fatigue)
Dizziness
Chest pain
Hyperventilation
Severe headache
Heart palpitations
Contractions that persist long after exercise
Calf swelling
Irregular heart beat.

And don’t forget to make sure you get the go-ahead from your doctor before you start exercising and listen to your body. If it doesn’t feel right then stop.

First Trimester Cardio Workout

I’ve been really lucky to be able to write some informative blogs for the children’s shop Kiddicare. I love this shop and brought most of Lacie’s baby clothing, furniture and pram from here, so its a real honour to be writing for them.
Basically all my blogs are about how to exercise safely through pregnancy. I am going to share all these blogs with you over the next few weeks so all you beautiful pregnant ladies feel confident to carry on exercising.

Image

My first post will cover first trimester cardio. As always feel free to drop me an email if you have any questions or would like a personalised programme.

Pregnancy fitness: 1st trimester cardio

Sometimes a good cardio workout can shake of the first trimester fatigue and sickness. Here’s how to exercise safely in those first vital three months.Since finding out they’re expecting, lots of women want to introduce a more active lifestyle to prevent too much weight gain. Gone are the days of eating for two – the reality is, whatever excess weight you put on, you will have to get off again afterwards!

The problem is some women are scared to exercise when they find out they are pregnant, but as long as you have been approved by your doctor, there’s mot much cause for concern. Studies have found that regular exercise can ease or prevent back pain and other discomforts, boost your mood and energy levels, help you sleep better, prevent excess weight gain and increase stamina and muscle strength. It may also reduce the risk of gestational diabetes and pregnancy-related high blood pressure, as well as lessen the symptoms of postpartum depression.

The thing to remember when embarking on any pregnancy exercise plan is that this ISN’T the time to lose weight, get faster or work towards new fitness milestones. This is the time to listen to your body’s cues and put your baby first.

If you are just starting to exercise, the key is to start the habit slowly – just 15 minutes per session two or three times a week. You can build up to more frequent, longer sessions, as you are able. You should warm up, exercise, and slowly cool the body down before you complete your session. Low-impact aerobic activity like walking, swimming and indoor cycling are ideal, as this is enough to improve the body’s use of oxygen, improve the supply of oxygen to the fetus, improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, as well as boost the metabolism and improve your wellbeing and confidence.

Walking
Walking is good exercise that poses few risks. Make sure you get properly fitted shoes that provide good support and a good sports bra to cater for your growing and often sore breasts. Be conscious of the weather too, and avoid overheating by not walking long distances outside in hot or humid weather. Walking for thirty minutes every day has been shown to be enough to improve your pregnancy and is a safe and helpful exercise that can be continued throughout your second and third trimester too.

Image

Swimming

Many women swear by swimming and water running during throughout the entire 40 weeks of their pregnancy. This is because it provides a cardiovascular workout that stretches and tones muscles in a nearly gravity-free environment, which also minimises joint strain and balance problems. During your first trimester, swimming or water running with a floatation belt at least 20 minutes three times a week will keep you in good shape. Just make sure you take recovery breaks when you need to and monitor your exertion levels. You should be able to hold a comfortable conversation without feeling out of breath. If you can’t then slow down and drop the intensity.

Image

Stationary cycling and spinning
When pregnant, your balance will change very suddenly, which isn’t great if you are cycling on the road. You want to be as safe as possible during these first twelve weeks, and wobbling on an outdoor bike isn’t the way to do this. Stationary and spinning bikes offer less risk of a fall than standard bicycles and can provide excellent aerobic exercise during the first trimester of pregnancy. Cycling also reduces joint stains, and it is often an easy exercise to begin for women who are new to exercise.

Take care if doing a spinning class though. They can be much more intense than regular cycling, but safe enough as long as you maintain your balance and monitor your heart rate and body heat. As with any exercise, it is essential to stop if you begin to feel faint or dizzy and always inform your instructor before you start the class.

Image

This home-exercise bike from Technogym is a great starting point if you want to embark on a fitness journey without the cost of a gym membership. It has an adjustable seat and pedals and is perfect for keeping in the spare room and using in front of the TV while keeping your legs and bottom strong and toned.