Tuesday, June 19, 2012

EXERCISE IS GOOD FOR MOM & BABY!

Still exercising! 28 weeks :)
Exercise during pregnancy. It's important to me!

After reading yet another blog of a health conscious expectant mother, I was appalled at the comments left by some women that bashed the mother to be for exercising during her pregnancy. I just don't understand it and can only assume it comes from those who don't do exercise and don't understand the importance of it. To me being sedentary is not being healthy in life or in pregnancy. It is the very opposite. There are obviously circumstances that may leave a women no choice but to rest in pregnancy, but if you have a normal pregnancy, why would any woman not choose to be active for that of her own health and that of the baby's? With that being said....

Obviously Ironman athletes already have a certain higher level of fitness than most. Going into pregnancy already well conditioned from my last season of Ironman training, my doctor told me that there was absolutely no reason why I could not continue my workouts. My body has adapted to a certain level of fitness and is able to handle exercise even when creating a new life inside of it.  I have certainly had to limit myself with things. With being an Ironman athlete comes what I call an 'Iron Will'. Those who do Ironman will know exactly what I mean. To me this is what gets me out the door day after day after day logging long hours of training, in the cold, heat, rain etc. When I became pregnant, I had to really grasp my strong inner Iron will and tell myself to back off. While Ironman training, if you are tired and you definitely are quite a bit, you just keep going. It's what we do and it's what sets triathletes apart from others. However this force of will is not something that you can do in pregnancy and I certainly listen to my body. On days if I am tired, I rest. Also, forcing aside the Iron Will I've had to really back off the intensities of my workouts. There is a big debate over where a woman should keep her heart rate during exercise while pregnant and most doctors go with 140bpm. However, this is for those who do normal & minimal exercise. Ironman athletes are not ones who would be considered in the norm. I chose to stick to the 140-150bpm while exercising because it felt like a comfortable place for me. I have been able to exercise since day one of my pregnancy (apart from the twin loss) and going on 7 months now, I'm still going strong and I am proud that I can take care of my body for my health and especially the health of our baby girl.

It is always best to err on the side of caution if you are pregnant and just starting an exercise program. You should always check with your doctor and never start anything new when pregnant. Muskuloskeletal and biomechanical changes can really mix things up for a pregnant woman and if your body isn't used to doing a certain activity, it's usually not advisable to begin a new regimen after becoming pregnant. Even if you are conditioned these changes in your body can still take a toll, so be careful.

If you do exercise during pregnancy, you may put on less weight than those who don't work out and also women who exercise are less likely to experience pregnancy or delivery complications. Plus, it just makes you feel good. There are many great exercises that you can do in pregnancy but always check with your doctor first. Since my body was accustomed to the swim/bike/running...I stuck with those and even added in some strength training as well.The baby loves when I swim and she moves around the whole time. It's wonderful.

Here's a little of what I do each week--

Since becoming pregnant I have ran/jogged/walked 680 miles so far. I stopped running around 13 weeks and then jogged/walked. Now I am only waking. My weekly distance has dropped as bump getting bigger and heavier. I'm now logging around 16 miles weekly. I am still swimming 3x weekly and so far have logged 140 miles swimming since becoming pregnant. I now average around 8,500 meters each week. Still cycling on the trainer and spin bike a bit but not as much as the other two.

Also, some of my gym routine for strength and conditioning 2x weekly includes:
  • Squats w/ overhead press
  • Plie w/ Lateral Raises
  • Multi Directional Lunges
  • Baby Push Ups
  • Some Prenatal Core
  • Vertical Chest
  • Compound Row
  • Pec Flies
  • Lateral Raises
  • Preacher Curls
  • Tricep Dips
  • Lat Pull Down
  • Overhead Press
  • Leg Curls
  • Leg Extensions
All of these things make me feel good and have really helped me to stay fit thus far. I do plan to remain active right up until delivery of our baby unless my doctor should advise me otherwise. I feel better, look better, eat better and rest better and my baby moves around constantly. I know that by remaining healthy throughout, my body is strong and it will benefit my growing baby. I already have a plan in place to snap right back into fitness after baby arrives and I look forward to it. I have two full Ironman races planned next year along with some 70.3's and those will definitely be a big motivating factor. When our baby girl arrives, she will then begin to be active with our family. When the baby feels you move, it is something she will remember and we hope that our baby girl will be a mover like us as she grows up. One things for sure...she's bound to be a triathlete. By the way she kicks around inside of me now,  I can already say she's got major power in her legs and that she gets from her speedy dad ;)


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