So if you’re debating whether to head to the gym or the frozen yogurt shop, consider this study. It suggests that pregnant women who exercise protect their offspring against long-term neuro-degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
“No one is resistant to the health benefits of exercise,” said Gerald Weissman, M.D., Editor in Chief of FASEB Journal, which recently published the study.
We all know we should exercise (unless on bedrest or have other prohibitive complications) during pregnancy. This study, however, is ground-breaking in that it shows that there may be a link between our actions during pregnancy to our baby’s health many, many decades later.
I’ve heard some complain that this is just another bit of mommy-guilt inducing information. I prefer to look at it from the opposite perspective; as a reward rather than an admonishment. When I’ve worked out, I visualize my unborn baby as a spry and mentally agile octogenarian, pat my belly, whisper,“You’re welcome!” and feel good about myself.
Not used to working out and unsure as to where to start? Remember, exercise adds up, so this doesn’t mean you don’t need to run miles or join a gym to reap the rewards of regular exercise.
Start with walking; it is a wonderful way to begin to condition the body for the demands of being a new mom. Plus, it’s great for scoping out routes to take when you are pushing your gorgeous babe in a stroller!
Planning on using a birthing ball during labor? Birthing balls can be re-purposed for pregnancy and beyond. From buns to upper body to abdomen, those birthing balls can work wonders. Even just sitting on a birth ball during pregnancy can help work the stabilizer muscles of your core — and I find them MUCH easier to get up from once I break the 150+ pound mark compared to the couch or easy-chair.
Already fit and want to make sure you stay that way during these childbearing months? You’re not alone…from wanting to keep the weight gain healthy to not losing your athletic edge, there are plenty of resources out there for you.
Still not convinced that exercising during pregnancy is for you? Imagine saying during the feisty teenage years, “I worked out ALL during my pregnancy for you, just to make sure you didn’t develop Alzheimer’s. And this is the thanks I get?”
Now THAT’S motivation.
Bottom line – exercise during pregnancy doesn’t have to be a strenuous routine — in fact, it shouldn’t be. Swimming, walking and using a birth ball instead of easy-chair are low/no-impact ways to improve your health — and now we know it helps improve the health of your baby as well. Take it easy, start with small steps and just get out there and do it.
Babble’s here to spot you: 8 Prenatal Fitness Do’s and Don’ts to keep baby safe