• Gabrielle Babineau

Setting exercise goals during pregnancy

Pregnancy is such a beautiful physical, mental and emotional chapter in a woman’s life. And by all means by writing “beautiful”, I’m not implying that it is either easy or challenging, positive or negative, happy or sad, exciting or terrifying, I am simply implying that pregnancy is an incredible journey on your body …. However you view your experience to be, it is mind blowing what our bodies are capable of doing. Even more incredible is how a woman’s body was made to move during pregnancy. So many physiological adaptations happen in order for mom and baby to gain all the great benefits from exercise while staying safe and healthy. But pregnancy can also be a confusing time where so much information and resources are available in regards to being active, especially on the internet. We all know that what we read isn’t always true. If you search pregnancy and exercise on the internet, I guarantee you’ll find thousands and thousands of websites with loads of information.

P.s I always suggest getting a second opinion from your physician or a healthcare provider before adopting any health of these health tips. Now the other side to having access to all this information is guilt. During pregnancy, adopting a new habit, or modifying and old one can be really challenging at times. Some days you can feel like you can accomplish everything and anything, and other days, getting out of bed and eating breakfast is a challenge of its own. We know we should be moving, we know we’re supposed to eat healthy, take our vitamins, drink lots of water, rest as much as we can, stretch, get our feet up, etc. But some days, these tasks just seem almost impossible… nausea, fatigue, discomfort, chaos, time are all things that can influence our day-to-day activities, especially exercise… and it’s OKAY. If you’re looking to start or maintain an exercise routine during pregnancy, but sometimes find it hard to bring yourself to move, I suggest adjusting your goals.

First of all, understand why you want to be active during your pregnancy. Do you want to gain the health benefits? Are you trying to limit your weight gain or prevent complications? Are you self-conscious? Asking yourself this question can help guide you in adopting a healthy exercise routine with proper goals. Second of all, set small goals. Personalize your goals daily so that they relate to how you are feeling in that moment. Is what you are trying to achieve that day realistic with how you are feeling? Example, if you had a 5km walk in mind but woke up feeling tired and sluggish, modify your goal. Maybe walk half the distance or break your walk into morning and evening so that you can re-evaluate how you are feeling throughout the day. Third of all, do what you can when you can. I share this quote all the time. Often times we tell ourselves that if we can’t do a full “workout”, then might as well skip it. False, doing a little bit of something is better than nothing. You’ll gain benefits from moving rather then sitting. Squeeze in some squats, lunges while your preparing dinner or do some stairs in your home during a commercial break. Just these small initiatives add up and you’ll gain benefits such as feeling more energized, motivated, and comfortable which is better than tired and sluggish. I’ll leave you with this. Empowerment begins with self-awareness and being in touch with your own desires, needs and feelings. If you are capable of being self-aware and listening to your body’s wants and needs, you’ll be able to make better choices and decisions during your pregnancy and feel in control. This may mean that some days you’re more active than others, but you’ll have made that decision for yourself after assessing how you feel in that present moment… and that is key, that is empowerment. Go on Mama, you got this!

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