The temptation to put your feet up and rest your legs is strong when you’re pregnant. You’re fighting against hormones, sickness, tiredness, and aches and pains. But as long as you discuss your plans with your doctor, stick with exercises that your body is used to, and don’t push yourself too hard, there’s no reason you can’t stay active right up until the late stages of your pregnancy.
If you struggle to find the motivation to exercise when you’re pregnant, you're definitely not alone. People might be telling you to take it easy, and your mind may come up with reasons why you shouldn't exercise, and some of those reasons will sound pretty convincing. But don't let that hold you back. Here's how to beat the most common exercise excuses.
1. No time
It's true – your life is busy, especially now you’ve got extra things on your mind, like planning for your new arrival. But by making exercise a priority, 9 times out of 10 you can find the time. Schedule in things around an exercise session, wake up a little earlier to fit in a workout, or take a 45-minute power walk on your lunch break. Use weekends more effectively by getting a good workout session under your belt, record TV shows to watch later, and try turning social catch ups into active ones.
2. Too tired
It can be hard to get yourself moving when you're already tired. But remember this: exercise will make you feel more energised afterwards. The trick is getting past the voice in your head that doesn't want to do it. Try to exercise on your way home from work – once you’re home, it’s far easier to put off going. Or, try working out before work, so you can get it done when you’re fresh from a night’s sleep. Take it slow and listen to your body. If you do feel completely zonked, don’t exercise that day. Or try a slow jog or brisk walk, which can help you ease into a session and slowly activate your energy levels.
3. No motivation
If lack of motivation is getting in your way, find something to get you excited. Choose activities that are fun and that you enjoy rather than sports that push you to your limit. Setting goals and reminding yourself of the long-term health benefits of exercise can boost motivation and give you something to aim for.
4. Uninspired by the gym
The same exercises can get boring after a while, so mixing things up can help refresh your motivation. If you’re tired of the gym, put your membership on hold and try starting the day with a one-hour power walk. Sign up to a yoga class, research local bike trails to explore, or try jogging around your local area. Or, you can try changing up your gym routine. Introduce a few weekly classes, try out new equipment, vary the order and times of your workout and download new music to rev you up.
5. Don't like exercising alone
If exercising on your own feels too difficult or boring, find a friend to work out with. Schedule a regular time to meet up. If you can’t persuade a friend to exercise with you, head to meetup.com to find an exercise group near you or search for groups on Facebook relevant to your area.
6. Not sure what exercises are appropriate during pregnancy
It’s understandably a time where you are worried about injuring or pushing yourself too much. Prenatal pilates and yoga, swimming and walking are good options for most pregnant women, but most sports are pretty safe. There are a few things you should steer clear of, which include contact sports that carry a risk of falling, competitive sports, and in the later stages of pregnancy, you need to be careful of activities that require you to jump, change direction, lying on your back for a longer period of time or stretch too much. Discuss your options with your doctor or physiotherapist, and come up with a tailored plan that you can stick to.
7. Good intentions, but…
So many of us have good intentions to exercise, but in reality things don’t always work out. While you don’t need to be devoted to a schedule, simply mapping out a plan on Sunday night of what exercise you plan to do throughout the week can help cement them as priorities. Jot down when you have completed a session to help you check them off as you work through the week.
8. Can’t leave the kids
If young children make it difficult to exercise, include them in it. Go for power walks, run around the park kicking a ball with them or try out a jogger pram. Lots of gyms offer child-minding services while you workout – or you can join the world of fitness DVDs and bring your workouts indoors.
9. I’d love to but it’s raining
If you’re going to make outdoor exercise work, you need to be prepared for the elements. Get a rain jacket, have a 'wet weather’ pair of runners, buy gloves for chilly mornings, stock up on tights for winter and shorts for summer, get a visor and glasses for sunny conditions and wear plenty of sunscreen to protect your skin.
10. Not seeing results
While you’re pregnant, the goal should not be to achieve a peak level of fitness, but rather to maintain a good fitness level. Keep in mind that many of the benefits of exercise are unseen. While physical changes in your body are hugely motivating, understand that what is happening on the inside is where the magic is. Remember, every 30-minute walk is contributing to your wellbeing.
11. Fallen off the bandwagon
Make your exercise plan sustainable so you don't burn out. Start small, mix up your sessions, support yourself with lots of positive encouragement and do things you enjoy.
Head here to read more articles on taking care of yourself during your pregnancy.