Limber up, pre and post pregnancy fitness expert Charlie Barker is joining Mum & You to talk through fitness in motherhood. Read on and get ready to feel inspired…
Pregnancy is one of the most incredible things a woman’s body can go through, but it is not always easy to navigate. Crazy symptoms, some no fun at all, popping up all over the place and getting used to your body changing and growing can make staying fit quite the challenge. The same goes for post pregnancy when you have to get used to a whole new set of changes that your body and mind will go through.
We are all different and everyone’s body will react differently to pregnancy so it is important not to compare yourself to anyone else, however hard that can be. Even in your own pregnancy each day can be different which can make things interesting to say the least.
These are a few tips that may help you to stay fit during and after pregnancy …
1. Listen to your body
While it might sound obvious, it’s something that we can be so bad at doing. Pushing yourself when we are exhausted, not resting enough, overtraining and not fueling your body enough – that is not going to cut it during pregnancy. Your body gives you these signals for a reason so if you are feeling exhausted, today might not be the day to do that workout you scheduled in. It will make the world of difference if you let your body rest when it needs to. The same goes for any pain or discomfort you might experience. This is not the time to be pushing through any uncomfortable exercises and if your body is telling you it doesn’t like a certain movement then it is probably best that you adapt it or avoid it.
2. Think outside the box
A workout doesn’t need to be your leggings in the gym! If that isn’t what you fancy, then think of other ways in which you can stay active. Walking, cycling, swimming are all great ways to keep moving or even playing with your kids in the garden and that may be more appealing (or manageable) to you on some days when you don’t fancy being in a gym.
3. Stay strong!
It is so important to work on your physical strength during pregnancy not only to prepare for motherhood but also to help you to stay on top of the postural changes that occur during those nine months. For example, as your bump grows, it shifts your centre of gravity as well as your pelvis altering the way you stand. Without the strength to support your joints this could cause you some discomfort in your lower back. This also sets you up nicely for what’s to come once you’ve had your baby – lots of lifting! Lifting your baby, the buggy, the car seat (which is surprisingly heavy!) you are constantly bending down to pick things up off the floor and all of these movements require strength! This doesn’t mean you need to be lifting heavy weights to maintain your physical strength, this can be done in many ways and even with just your bodyweight.
4. You do you!
Just because your friends are all going to pre or post-natal yoga does not mean that you need to. Just because your sister lifted weights in her pregnancy does not mean that you need to. There is no point in dragging yourself to an exercise class that you hate, you’re not likely to keep it up and it will be no fun if you do. Find something that you enjoy doing, and as long as it is safe to do in pregnancy then go for it!
5. Set yourself new goals.
There is absolutely no point in setting yourself the same goals that you had before you became pregnant because your life is in a very different place, as is your body. While you’re pregnant, you won’t be very likely to beat your squat PB or your 5k time so the only thing you’re going to experience if you try is disappointment. Try setting new goals that are manageable at this moment in time, and the same goes for post-pregnancy. Yes, you will no longer have a baby in your tummy but your body will need time to recover and build back up to where you were before, not to mention you may not have the same amount of time to exercise as you did before. Set yourself new and achievable goals to match your new phase of life, this will help you stay realistic while trying to stay fit after pregnancy.
6. Dedicate time for you.
Mental health is just as important as physical health, especially for busy Mums who so often put everyone else first. Try to find some time in your day, even if it just 5 minutes here and there. It’s funny how a shower in peace now feels like a spa day. Mum & You has a great natural skincare range for Mums with products that work quickly, so you can feel pampered even when you’re short on time. The Tummy Time Firming and Toning Gel is great for tightening, firming and toning the skin. Safflower seed oil and Turmeric extract help to restore elasticity in the skin, so you can give your tummy some TLC while taking time out for yourself too!