Pregnancy preparation – as women we are encouraged to get healthier, but does that mean you should get a gym membership or join the Crossfit craze? With the plethora of exercise advice out there, it can be more than a little confusing.
What does it take to get your body in shape for pregnancy? Here is what I have found works best for our clients…
Low-impact to moderate exercise – the kind that might make you break a sweat and be a little winded. What is really important is that you regularly participate in physical activity.
Regular low-impact to moderate exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, strengthens muscles, increases flexibility and circulation (including to the reproductive organs) and helps reduce stress. It also improves brain connectivity, helps lower rates of depression and anxiety, helps maintain healthy hormonal balance, prepares you for childbirth and may lower the risk of complications in childbirth.
When you break a sweat it helps the body to get rid of unwanted toxins.
What Is This Kind Of Exercise You Ask?
Low-impact physical activity means exercising to promote physical fitness, but not to stress musculoskeletal tissues and joints.
Moderate physical activity, according the World Health Organization, is a level of exercise that “requires a moderated amount of effort and noticeably accelerates the heart rate.” Some examples are: taking a brisk walk, yoga, swimming, leisurely bike riding, light jogging, aerobics, dancing, housework, and gardening.
How Often Should I Exercise?
Regular exercise means to participate in whichever exercise you enjoy consistently for 30 minutes (up to an hour for a walk or yoga) three to five times a week.
The Top Two Exercises When Trying for a Baby
Walking and Fertility Yoga!
Brisk walking, preferably in nature, is quite possibly the easiest form of exercise and it’s free! Walking increases the heart rate which is necessary for increasing circulation throughout the body, including the reproductive organs.
Psst… try walking barefoot! The ability to quiet the mind when walking barefoot is enhanced because there is an increased need to focus on not stepping on anything that might hurt you. It’s true! What a simple way to let go of your chattering thoughts for even just a few moments!
Fertility Yoga is a series of specific poses and breathing techniques to strengthen, tone and stretch muscles that are related to reproductive health. Yoga can help clear the mind so you can focus your thoughts on manifesting a healthy pregnancy. Yoga is proven to also reduce stress. Fertility Yoga poses help to properly align the spine and reproductive organs to allow for optimal circulation throughout the pelvic bowl, your baby’s future home.
A bit about stress and yoga; there is a theory that stress is stored within the body in one of its largest muscles, the Psoas muscle which runs from the inner hips through the pelvis to the spine. Yoga “asanas” or poses focus primarily on the flexibility and strength of this region and muscle of the body.
Do not be intimidated by doing yoga! I was asked to practice Restoring Fertility – Yoga for Optimal Fertility after 10 years of only having had taken one four-week beginner yoga class, and I was able to follow the practice with ease.
In The Long Run…
Women who are trying to conceive should exercise regularly at a moderate level. Walking and Fertility Yoga are truly two of the best exercises and stress-reduction techniques for couples trying to conceive, plus they can be practiced together.
On the flip side, too much exercise can contribute to fertility problems. If you find that you may need to relax the intensity and duration of your exercise routine, here are two articles that discuss this idea more in-depth:
Exercise and Infertility: The Goldilocks Conundrum and Is Exercise Good Or Bad For Fertility?
What exercise do you enjoy the most? Share in the comments below!
Physical activity. (2015, January). Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs385/en/