Just because you have a bun in the oven does NOT mean you can sit on your butt all day with a bag of frosted animal crackers and a vanilla milkshake. Pregnancy does not entitle you to becoming a couch potato or gaining an insane amount of weight. Indulging in cravings are most definitely okay - but if that means a large cheese pizza, box of Oreos, and an ice cream sundae for dinner, you're on the wrong path. Your body needs vitamins, minerals, and some healthy foods. You are growing another human afterall!
For some reason, there is a stigma that exercise and pregnancy do not go together. Whenever I tell someone new that I'm headed to/from the gym, I get a disapproving glare at my belly. I already wrote a post about the modifications one should make if they decide to exercise while pregnant. However, I have never addressed the benefits of physical activity during your pregnancy.
The Mayo Clinic says, "During pregnancy, exercise can help you stay in shape and prepare for labor and delivery." Of course, all exercise should be approved by your doctor... but once you have the OK, get moving!
Why exercise during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, exercise can:
*Ease or prevent back pain and other discomforts*Boost your mood and energy levels*Help you sleep better*Prevent excess weight gain*Increase stamina and muscle strength
Exercise during pregnancy might also reduce the risk of gestational diabetes and pregnancy-related high blood pressure, as well as lessen the symptoms of postpartum depression. In addition, it might reduce the risk that your baby is born significantly larger than average (fetal macrosomia).
When I found out I was pregnant, I pretty much stopped all physical activity cold turkey. I was so tired everyday that I just couldn't get myself out of bed to do anything productive. So along with the inactivity, my self esteem started to drop and I felt fat when I wasn't. I had only gained 1-2lbs, but couldn't look at myself while changing in the mirror. It was awful. I feared that I was going to feel ashamed and terrible about my body for 9 months. A body that I had been proud of pre-pregnancy after hours spent dancing in Zumba or lifting weights at the gym.
I can honestly say that since I joined a gym and began exercising regularly again, I have felt much better about myself. I am stronger, more energetic, and SO much more confident in my changing body. I leave the gym feeling happy and accomplished. If I can't get to the gym, I try to do some stretching and walking around the house. If I don't workout for a few days, it is because I know my body needs a break. But between Sh'Bam, Zumba, and Body Pump 3-4 days a week, I am feeling amazing.
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