Are you concerned about staying fit through pregnancy? Read Kari’s tips for a fit pregnancy below. For more updates and info about Kari – visit her blog.
I don’t know if you know this, but I’m a pretty active person. Since 2011, I’ve run four marathons and quite a few half marathons. I average around 50 miles of running a week, go for hikes on the weekend, and am generally pretty active. Prior to getting pregnant, I was training for my 5th marathon. I actually ran a 19 mile training run the weekend before I found out that I was pregnant.
All this is to say that, in my mind there was always a way to find time to exercise. Obviously, some of the weeks of my training, I didn’t always feel like running or exercising, but I found the time and put in the effort. None of that training, though, prepared me for the debilitating morning sickness that hit me 8 weeks into my pregnancy.
To say that I didn’t feel well is a bit of an understatement. Before my first doctor’s appointment at 10 weeks, I’d dropped about 7 lbs because I couldn’t stomach the though of food. I was completely knocked off my feet.
Even though I felt awful, though, I still wanted to run. Exercise is one of the only things that really helps me reduce stress and it’s definitely stressful to find out you’re pregnant and then suddenly feel like death. However, because I wasn’t eating much, I knew I had to tailor my previous workouts…plus, I was pregnant, so running 7-10 miles a day probably wasn’t a great idea anyway. So, here’s what worked for me and my tips for a fit pregnancy.
1. Slow down. Doctors recommend running at a “conversational speed,” basically, don’t run til you’re out of breath. I just treated every run as a recovery day, so even if I felt like I could run fast, I didn’t.
2. Don’t expect anything from your run. If you usually wear a GPS watch, leave it at home. You do not want to know how fast or far you are going. It’ll just mess with your head. Instead, go into the run just wanting to get outside and move. The fresh air alone will help with the nausea.
3. Plan on walking. If you go into a run expecting to walk, it’s not as disappointing or disheartening to have to stop to walk. Walking is still exercise and, let’s be honest, you’re not breaking any speed barriers running right now anyway.
4. Bring snacks. I think this is what messed me up the most at the beginning. Exercise makes you hungry and your blood sugar drops even more when your pregnant, so by the time I came home from a run I’d be so hungry that I felt too sick to eat. If I brought small snacks with me on the run to eat along the way, it was enough to help me finish the workout and not feel awful at the end.
5. Only run what you’ve fueled for. If you aren’t eating much, don’t exercise much. It’ll just make things worse. If you are barely eating, go for a walk. If you ate a normal breakfast, feel free to run.
I think the most important thing to remember is that pregnancy exercise isn’t about reaching goals, it’s about maintenance. You want to keep your fitness level up so you can carry this new weight and deliver a healthy baby, but you also don’t want to hurt yourself and end up on bed rest for months.
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