The Children’s Fitness Academy have recently been working with the amazing ‘FittaMamma’, a fitness clothing site that supports mum’s to be and provides them with not only amazing maternity sports wear, but also provides lots of tips on eating and exercising when expecting…
Here is what FittaMamma’s fitness expert Lucie Brand had to say about how keep exercise safe during pregnancy…
“Exercising when pregnant is perfectly safe and very important! Regular exercise will help reduce many common pregnancy complaints such as tiredness, varicose veins and swollen ankles as well as helping with some of those other discomforts such as lower back pain and heartburn.
And the fitter you are the better prepare you are for labour – as Nell McAndrew said in a recent interview, ‘I feel like keeping fit is preparing me for the labour – which will be harder than running a marathon!’
Even a modest amount of exercise during pregnancy releases feel good endorphins, lifting your mood, reducing stress and making it easier to sleep.
With regard to safety you’ll need to make concessions to your growing bump but provided you follow sensible guidelines there’s no reason why you shouldn’t continue with some form of exercise right throughout your pregnancy.
It’s not a good time to take up marathon running or mountain biking and you’ll want to reduce the intensity and length of your workouts but moderate exercise is not only safe – it’s good for both mum and baby.
A good guideline is the ‘talk’ test – keep on chatting! You shouldn’t exercise beyond the level where you’re too tired to speak – but that gives you plenty of scope for different ways to keep fit!
Have a look at the FittaMamma website for lots of really useful information about what’s safe and what you should avoid: www.fittamamma.com/section.php/13/1/can_i_exercise_when_pregnant
What type of exercise do you recommend during pregnancy and how often?
My ‘3 Plan complete pregnancy and post natal exercise plan’ recommends a minimum of three hours a week – ideally fit in an hour three times a week and, for real benefits, try and fit in three shorter workouts as well. The Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists suggest at least 30 minutes five days a week. The key is to make exercise fun and fit into your life, if you don’t enjoy it, it will be harder to keep it up!
As to what TYPE of exercise ….personally I like a mixture of cardio and resistance training – the programme I have developed is easy to do at home with nothing more than weights and a fitball. But walking, swimming and cycling are all good – and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t carry on jogging until you start feeling uncomfortable, just take it easy and cut down on the intensity and the distance. Yoga and Pilates are ideal, especially for stretching and preparing for birth.
Again the FittaMamma site is a good source of information and includes some mini 10 minute workouts from my 3 Plan.
Many pregnant women want to monitor their weight and stay healthy so they are both fit and healthy during the pregnancy and after and so that they have less to lose post pregnancy. What easy exercises can you advise to fit into your daily routine?
Try and fit in a mini-cardio sequence like this one, which also works well as a warm up before you start any more intense cardio activity. You can make this more intense by increasing the number of repetitions or including weights.
Legs and ankles: Stand on leg, raise your other foot off the floor and rotate your ankle. Raise your knee higher flexing back and forwards. Repeat with the other leg
Hip and body: With your feet hip distance apart and hands on hips, rotate in both directions. Put your hands on your head and gently swing your body from side to side.
Warm up your arms: Spread your arms wide, flex your wrists before circling backwards and forwards, crossing your arms in front of your body. Shrug your shoulders to loosen, reach up to the sky with each hand in turn stretching over to the side.
Increase the pace:
- Get stepping from side to side, adding in a knee lift or curl with the opposite leg. March on the spot, lifting your knees and swinging your arms
- Lunge to each side, pushing alternate arms across your body
- Half jacks, with your arms coming in and out as you step each leg in turn
- Tap your heels forward alternately, bending the other knee and swinging your arms forward
- Jog on the spot, bringing your knees up – alternate with jogging with your heels to bottom
For full workout routines visit www.fittamamma.com where you can download (for free!) activity guides and yoga routines. You can also check out the full range of FittaMamma activewear so you can look good and feel good when you work out, my pregnancy workout guide is also available here too!
THANK YOU LUCIE FOR SOME AMAZING ADVICE THERE – I WOULD DEFINATELY LIKE CHILDREN ONE DAY AND WILL BE FOLLOWING THIS ADVICE. THERE IS NO WAY I WON’T BE HITTING THE GYM! HOWEVER I WILL BE SAFE WHEN I DO IT AND NOW KNOW WHAT I SHOULDN’T BE DOING!