Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday's Fit Focus

Fit to Exercise

I used to teach a post-natal group fitness class, which was fun because we were always getting to see new babies come into our group. I remember one client in particular who gave birth to a baby girl during the summer. Because she had a cesarean section, she had a two-week follow up appointment with her OB. When she got home from the appointment, she called to tell me that her physician had approved her to exercise.

“Already?!” I exclaimed. “It’s only been two weeks, and you had a c-section!” The mom elaborated that her OB told her there were two reasons she was ready to come back to class. One was that her incision looked great, had healed perfectly, and there were no concerns about it re-opening. The second—and the one I was most interested in—was that she was in excellent physical condition leading up to her delivery, which enabled a quick and full recovery. She was fit because she exercised regularly before and during pregnancy.

Please don’t misunderstand. Exercising throughout pregnancy does not guarantee that one can get back into a regular fitness routine two weeks post-partum. Typically, women are approved to exercise six to ten weeks after delivery. However, there are exceptions such as this mom. Her doctor did remind her that if any exercise is painful, she should stop it immediately. This, of course, is true for any exerciser.

Terri Isidro-Cloudas points out in an article called The Benefits of Pregnancy Exercise at that “Exercising and staying active during your pregnancy can help you with some of the symptoms of pregnancy like feeling tired and sluggish, and gaining too much weight. Exercise during pregnancy is beneficial because it:
• reduces backaches, constipation, bloating, and swelling
• increases energy and stamina
• lifts your spirits and balances your mood
• improves posture
• helps build better muscle tone and strength
• promotes better sleep, and
• gives you a sense of control and self-confidence.”
Group fitness provides a great avenue for exercise during pregnancy. Expectant moms can feel comfortable surrounded by other women—often moms themselves—who are encouraging and supportive. Just be sure to find an instructor who has experience with pre-natal exercisers as there are special considerations to make your workout safe and effective.
I am inspired by women who are successful in taking care of themselves during pregnancy, and modeling their active lifestyles to their babies. It is never too early for that!

Jacque Butler is the owner of JB Fitness in Glenwood, Iowa. For tips on fitness & nutrition, you can follow JB Fitness on Facebook.

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