Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fit Pregnancy Or What?

You know that exercising during pregnancy is good for you, the pregnancy and outcome of the birth. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) even considers it a risk to not exercise during pregnancy.  But what does this exercise thing really mean?

If you are like most women in Ottawa, you have an office job and sit all day long. You know you need to start exercising. So you enroll in a prenatal aqua or yoga or fitness class once a week. Good! Maybe you start walking during your lunch breaks. Better!

So that makes 30-60min of walking every day and 1hour of structured exercise a week. What about the other 23+ hours in the day? Do we really think that 1 hour of exercise can outbalance 23 hours of sedentary behavior? Seems crazy, yet, it’s exactly what we do: Oh, I ate this extra slice of cake while reclining in my comfy chair. I really have to go to that class tomorrow and get fit again.

Fit. Fitness. Prenatal Fitness. There is something wrong with the way we use the word Fitness. According to my Oxford Dictionary it is ‚the state of being physically healthy and strong‘. Being fit for something means `the state of being suitable for something‘. So here it gets a little sketchy. Fit to swim 20 lanes? Or fit to have a pregnancy without back pain? Fit to give birth without intervention? Or fit to be pregnant without walking like a duck.

The achieve this we need to do a little more than this one exercise class once a week. And I don’t suggest you take an exercise class every day. How about just getting out of the chair for starters?

While the positive effects of exercise have been extensively studied and written about, more and more researchers are looking into the other sedentary 23 hours of our day.  What has come to light is that the health outcomes are just as bad – for the non-exercisers as well as the exercisers IF both sit on their butts for the biggest part of the day. It's the sitting that ails us. Thus, we need to be more active throughout the day to be healthy and, naturally, to have healthy pregnancies.

We don’t need fitness in the sense we use the word. We just need to move our bodies.  Throughout the day.  Every day.  And we need to move our body the way it was designed to be moved (excluding all those bad slouchy and thrusty habits).

Maybe you can do 15 push-ups on the edge of the pool during your prenatal aqua class but you know something is missing when you do the duck-walk on your way back to the change room only to notice that your back pain has come back.  Right?!

To Do List:
-get out of your chair every 30minutes and do the calf stretch
-consider signing up for Kangaroo Fitness‘ new prenatal exercise/education class? ( I know, it’s a little bit ironic…..)

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