What do you think about exercising while physical distancing? What about exercising while physical distancing and pregnant at the same time?
While the idea of curling up on the couch with another round of Netflix shows and more comfort food may be tempting, it may be time to try some exercises. Perhaps you feel a little sore from being pregnant. Combining this with staying home in a small space while physical distancing during COVID-19 can make it even harder to stay motivated to exercise.
That said, what if I gave you a reason to commit to exercise? We know that exercise is a useful tool for helping us to stay healthy, but did you know that it can also help with your physical health and your emotional wellbeing during pregnancy?
Exercising your way toward emotional wellbeing during pregnancy
Exercise may not be a cure for depression and anxiety during pregnancy, but it certainly seems to help. A systemic review of physical exercise during pregnancy for healthy women found that it is safe and beneficial to mother and child (150 minutes a week according to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada). And there are more than 30 years of evidence that aerobic exercise such as running helps reduce stress hormones and decrease generalized anxiety and anxiety sensitivity.
The key to exercising while pregnant is to find the level of activity that feels comfortable to you. If you haven’t been very active to begin with, choose milder, gentler forms of exercise. Exercising while physical distancing is important as it can help improve your mood, reduce back pain, improve your posture, prepare you for childbirth and more.
Exercising While Physical Distancing (and Pregnant)
Try yoga, pilates, or tai chi:
Make it fun by pumping up the music. Join an online yoga class specifically for pregnant women where exercises are modified to fit your changing body.
Turn your living room into a home gym:
Do you own a stationary bike or have small weights that you can use? Riding a stationary bike to get exercise during pregnancy is safer than riding a regular bike as you are less likely to fall off even as your belly grows during pregnancy. Even if you don’t own weights, can you make your own by using full water bottles? Moderate levels of exercise are excellent for reducing stress and releasing endorphins.
Take an online low impact fitness class:
Release those feel-good endorphins from exercising while social distancing. Taking a class with other at set times can help bring back a sense of routine and social comradery. Or take a fitness class specifically designed for pregnant women, such as this one by Knocked-Up Fitness by Erica Ziel.
Take a brisk walk outside:
If you live in the country, can you take a moment to get away from technology and take a quiet walk outside in nature? Soak in the calming effects of nature while getting your body moving. If you live in a busier neighbourhood, are there certain times of day when there are fewer people outside? You can take advantage of this especially if you are an early morning or late-night person.
While this last suggestion isn’t a form of exercise, it can potentially help you stay mentally healthier and happier. Since we are all staying indoors a lot more, it is easy to lose track of time and let the days slip by, leading to both low mood and low energy. Setting exercise goals can give you something to work toward and look forward to each day. Even better, write down your goals and set up a habit tracker to help build a sense of routine and provide a sense of accomplishment.
Remember to stay hydrated and not to push yourself too hard. If you are usually a more sedentary person, start with mild to moderate exercises, such as gentle stretches. If you are unsure, give your doctor a call. Do not start a new exercise program or a routine more strenuous than what you are used to before speaking with and getting the green light from your doctor first.
Do you know the signs for when exercise contraindicated? It’s best to check with your health-care provider before starting if you are experiencing any of the issues outlined here.