Nationally certified Prenatal Yoga Instructor, Amy Griffith continues to share her expertise in part two of Prenatal Fitness Facts & Fiction, Tips & Techniques. Griffith is one of America's leading prenatal and fitness lifestyle experts. She provides free advice, including eBook and video content, to her Army of followers and fans online at www.AmyGriffithWorkout.com. Continue reading below to learn more about how to stay in shape during pregnancy.
1. Cardiovascular exercise is a-ok. The old theory of not allowing your heart rate to exceed 140 beats per minute is no longer supported by the medical community. There is about a 50% increase in blood flow when a women is pregnant, so the heart works much harder to deliver all of these nutrients throughout the body and especially the placenta. While a pregnant woman who is exercising may tire out more quickly, there is no evidence that such exertion is harmful to her baby. The general rule of thumb is if a pregnant woman can continue to carry on a conversation while performing an exercise routine, then she is in a cardiovascular safe zone.
2. Set a fitness mantra. A mantra is a positive intention—a word or phrase that you come back to daily to “check in” and be reminded that everything is ok and on course. Setting a mantra will help you to trust your body, and accept the changes that are occurring physically. It can help to quiet down the ego and encourage you to slow down and even accept the temporary fitness limitations. This is a key lesson to reiterate throughout pregnancy and can help to keep the pregnant woman safe while exercising. Some mantras are, "I accept," "I trust," and "I am strong." These positive reminders carry throughout the pregnancy and the birth of the baby.
3. Massage to recover faster. A carefully delivered massage from a prenatal massage specialist can alleviate pain in various parts of the body that can be caused by too much physical activity—exercise and otherwise. Massage stretches and loosens muscles that become tight as baby grows and the as the woman's body changes. Massage will also benefit the pregnant woman as it relieves tension. A pregnant woman’s low back pain, headaches, sciatica, and swelling can all be eased by a trained massage therapist. When her body feels better, she is able to continue to keep herself healthy with regular exercise.
4. Meditate to de-stress. Meditating can connect to a mantra you set or simply help to quiet down, clear your mind, calm your nervous system and lower your blood pressure. When employed in combination with a fitness regime, a pregnant woman can reap the rewards of both physical and emotional health. Pregnant women can quiet down fears and release them through the practice of meditation. When the mother lets go of fear, it opens her up to having a positive pregnancy and birth. Labor and delivery are certainly a physical experience, but many women say it is 90% mental. Allowing oneself to move inward and "step out of your own way" gives the body permission to do exactly what it knows how to do: birth baby! Meditation enables the mom-to-be to mentally surrender while exercise gives her physical strength and confidence.
*The above should not be construed as medical advice. Individuals should consult with their own physicians before starting any fitness or exercise regime.
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