There is plenty of evidence that couples who are generally fit and healthy will find it easier to conceive and maintain pregnancy beyond its early stages. (This advice does not apply to women alone by the way-it’s good for men to look at their lifestyle when thinking of starting a family.)
If you are used to regular exercise before you conceive then it will be easier for you to maintain a fitness regime throughout your pregnancy. Not only will this help you adjust to the huge physical and emotional changes you’ll experience and help ease the discomforts pregnancy can bring, but also good stamina, flexibility and controlled breathing can make all the difference during labour itself.
If you are not used to exercising, then introduce it slowly, keeping your aims within easy reach and building up the number, length and intensity of your exercise sessions each week. You should aim to get at least four workouts of twenty to forty minutes each week and ideally four to five sessions of thirty minutes, working up a slight sweat. It’s a good idea to vary the type and intensity of workouts. Whatever form of exercise you do, remember to leave time to warm up before, and stretch and cool down afterwards.
Ten motivational exercise tips
- Set yourself a goal. You might not be able to climb Mount Everest, but you could train for a swimathon or a five kilometre charity run in your local park? Even a small regular goal like aiming to take the stairs rather than the lift at every opportunity, or walking to work rather than taking the bus, will help raise fitness.
- Write it down. When you make a commitment on paper to work out, you are more likely to do so. Write it in your daily appointment book-and then keep the appointment.
- Beat inertia. When you come home from work and haven’t had a chance to exercise yet, don’t slump on the sofa. Slip on some trainers and get out there, even if it’s only for a ten-minute
- Get obligated. Commit to someone else. You will motivate each other to make time for fitness.
- Know your fitness personality. Are you a morning or night person? An outdoor or indoor person? A social person or a loner? Do you love or hate loud music? Do you need an instructor to motivate you? Or do you prefer to work out using a machine? Once you have determined your fitness ‘personality’, it will be easier for you to select a programme that you will stick with.
- Reward yourself. Choose a non-caloric reward like massage or a facial every time you fulfil your weekly workout goals.
- Keep it realistic. Recognise that you have time restrictions and, if you are already pregnant, that you won’t be able to do as much as you could pre-pregnancy. Working out less intensely but consistently will give you better results.
- Wear what works. form-fitting , fun colours, great fashion-all can be motivators. If you like what you are wearing, you may want to wear it more often. For some people, it is baggy track-pants and an old T-shirt. Find out what works for you.
- Get a pedometer for the daytime. Current thinking suggests ten thousand steps per day are needed for good health. Try walking whenever you can in your day-you will be further motivated as you see the steps clock up!
- Set the score. The wrong music drag your routine down. Download some upbeat music onto your ipod or mp3 player.