Friday, August 23, 2013

Staying fit in your third trimester...Is it possible?

Hey all. I know I do the occasional fitness-related post (and the more than occasional pregnancy-related post...sorry guys, it's kind of on my mind right now), and this one is really no different except...well, except that it kind of is. I've finally made it a few weeks into my third trimester, and with my gym closing next week (and me not wanting to switch gyms and work 1/2 an hour away 3 days a week just to work out for free, and almost 7 months preggers at that), it's time for me to explore other fitness options. I know how important it is to keep active throughout the entire pregnancy, and I don't want to start really packing on the pounds now because it's not healthy for anyone. I mean, who am I kidding, the pounds are there, I just don't want to add any more than baby needs at this point. So what can I do to stay semi-in-pregnant-lady shape? Here's what:
Walking is great, it really is. "They" say that walking and swimming are the two best exercises for pregnant women. But is it really enough exercise to stroll around the block a few times and call it a day? Sometimes, yeah it is. Lord knows it depends on the day, and obviously you need to pay attention to what your body is telling you that you can (or can't) do that day. But mostly I'm used to something a little more high-intensity, at least when I can handle it. Before I had Stenni (in fact, up until a few hours before I went into labor!), I took hour-long hikes with my dog every day. But with a toddler in tow, even one with legs almost as long as mine already, that just isn't realistic. I've thought about mall-walking with Stenni in the stroller, but since I don't use credit cards, I don't really need the temptation, so that's out. I try to walk around the block when I can, which is great because my block has some pretty beast hills, but I can only walk around in the same circle so many times a day before I want to punch the neighbors' yippy dog (and I'm a total dog person...he's just that bad).
Swimming is wonderful exercise, especially for expectant women. It's low-impact and works out basically every muscle in the body. So what are the downsides? Well for me, it makes me hungry (like, super crazy famished) and exhausted. Not that that stops me. The family and I had a wonderful week down the shore last week, and we went to the beach every single day, and I mean just to swim. I don't do that sit on the sand crap. We were out jumping waves and swimming the whole time, despite my whole shark fear thing. Also, my parents have a nice in-ground pool, and they only live a mile or so away, so we make use of it whenever we can (I say we because Stenni is a total water-baby). But, swimming season has about 2-3 more weeks left, and then it gets too cold too quickly around here to try to sneak in any late-season dips, and we don't have access to any indoor pools in the area.
Yoga is nice but can make me feel a little too hippy-dippy, what with all of the meditation and that sort of stuff. I understand that a lot of people are into yoga for the body-mind connection spiritual thing, and that's cool, but for real? That's totally not me. The kind of yoga I do normally (power yoga, or occasionally hot yoga) is really not appropriate for the pregnant body. But I do try to string together a sun salutation and some stretchy, flowing poses every once in a while just to make sure that my body still moves in the way that it should, and to stretch my back out.
Light aerobics are quite useful, and they bring up the energy level a good bit. Think gym class stuff: knee lifts, front and side kicks, squats, marching in place, kickboxing moves (without actually moving around), and that sort of thing. Keep it low-impact; no skipping, high-kicks, running up stairs, or other Rocky-type moves.
Light, no-contact sports with no real risk of falling and no hard balls to hit you. I'm looking at you, badminton. And pretty much only you. Well, wiffle ball is acceptable too as long as you aren't sprinting the bases, because if you can get hurt by a wiffle ball you can pretty much be gravely injured by an errant falling leaf and shouldn't be allowed outside. Skip soccer, cycling, distance running, rugby, lacrosse and tackle football. For all of us. 

Here's what I'm trying to do now: I'm aiming for 1/2 an hour of walking or hiking, at least 3 days a week (unless I'm swimming, which is still an option for a few weeks). Yoga, at least 1 day a week, for half an hour or more. 10-15 minutes of light weight training (5 lb. weights), 3-5 times a week. Anything else is a bonus. I'm not pushing myself to hike an hour a day anymore, and honestly, I really can't with everything else going on.

What kind of workout regimen did you adopt towards the end of your pregnancy, or when another condition like injury stopped you from, say, P90X, competitive bodybuilding, cross-country running or whatever it was you did beforehand? Did you tone it down at all? Let me know, I can use all the advice I can get just now!

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