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Notice how the title of this post is “how exercise has helped..” rather than “how running has helped…” because this pregnancy has not been about exclusively running.
Although in the beginning, I was actually training for the Disney Marathon. Running felt “normal” then (I was ~7 weeks when running the marathon) but I had doubts about running the full marathon anyway. Plus, I had some burn out from the Detroit Marathon months prior.
I’m running much less this pregnancy vs. my first one and I’m okay with that. I was actually looking back on my post about tips for running in the third trimester. The tips are still helpful and applicable. And the belly band is still absolutely essential.
I feel more intuitive this time around. I’ve just realized that other things feel better than exclusively running. And fortunately, this is helping me to open up space for me to do different types of workouts.
I’ve really enjoyed lower higher intensity intervals (pregnancy-friendly through my virtual moms’ group), barre, prenatal yoga and just casual stretching.
I’m seeing a pelvic floor PT and purchased the Spinning Babies Daily Essentials which talks about daily stretches to do to prepare for birth. So, I have plenty of stretches to be working on.
I’m trying to be much more “wholistic” this pregnancy, whereas when I was pregnant with Camryn, I focused solely on running. I knew it was important to “be fit” for birth, and running just fit me well at the time. Looking back on my 20 week update from my first pregnancy, I was running 15-20 miles a week.
But, in doing that, I wasn’t caring for the other muscles I needed to be caring for. I did little to no research on positioning my pelvis and ways to help an easy birth because I thought birth would go easy for me since I was in good shape.
What a naive thought and I’m pretty embarrassed to even have typed that.
Now, I’m armed with much more confidence and knowledge heading into this birth (also toddler powered workouts). I have the understanding and knowing that birth is unpredictable. Despite how prepared we feel heading into it, there is SO MUCH out of our hands and up to the little human living and growing inside of us.
I’m working more on my mental mantras. I haven’t delved into hypnobirthing yet, but I did put it on hold at the library.
Here’s why exercise has improved this pregnancy for me.
1. Exercise Puts My Mind at Ease
With everything going on with COVID-19 and the pandemic, my mind has been racing and everywhere. I also have had to learn to sit with lots of discomfort around work because things can’t be done instantly with Camryn home. I put a lot on the back burner.
Exercise helps energize me and remember to stay in the present. Kind of like a form of meditation. I also LOVE to listen to birthing podcasts while walking.
I am working on my meditation practice as well. I use the calm app, and it’s great!
2. Movement Helps Balance Out Some of the Soreness
While sometimes all I want to do is lounge or sit on the couch, sometimes too much sitting makes me feel sorer and “stiff.” Exercise helps keep me fluid and stretch and lengthen things.
It can bring a lot of relief. And I’m not always talking about high intensity exercise that gets my heart rate up. I LOVE walking right now and I could just go out for an hour walk and zone out on podcasts. We do a lot family walks too.
3. Exercise Helps My Mental Health
I mentioned a little earlier about feeling more stressed and anxious now. Exercise helps that! Some of the time, that’s a light run/walk or a long walk on a local greenway. There’s no replacement for fresh air, in my opinion. But, sometimes, even that can be scary.
Fortunately, we have converted some of our basement into a “semi home gym” where I have room and equipment to do at home workouts. I pretty much always feel more energized, have a better mood and am more enjoyable to be around after a workout.
4. It’s Been A Consistency For Me
During these times, there’s not much that has been consistent. Set “work times” are out the window. Consistent nap and eating times aren’t happening over here. And don’t even get me started on bedtimes (though if you have tips, we’re all ears!).
But, making time for a workout, 4-5 times a week has been one of the only consistent things for me the past few months. It’s my “me” time, and a form of self-care for me. There have been times when exercise causes more stress.
Right now, though, it’s invigorating. It makes me feel empowered. More like myself, and more “present” for the endless amount of energetic toddler time at home.
Curious about your exercise habits during pregnancy.
How did they change from your normal? Were they drastically different between pregnancies?