Exercise is always important for women — for bone strength, stress, energy levels and more — but the combination of pregnancy and winter weather can hinder your motivation. Don’t let frigid temperatures affect your ability to stay healthy, happy and in shape. Here are some safe, healthy ways for expectant moms to stay fit during the winter months.
Rent some prenatal exercise DVDs or buy a few to have on hand. Try a mix of yoga, Pilates and low-impact cardio. Experts repeatedly stress how essential exercise is to a healthy pregnancy. In fact, new government guidelines now recommend that expecting moms get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week (that’s half an hour a day for five days).
Working out regularly makes it easier to lose weight after you have your baby, and research shows it can reduce pregnancy complications and even make labor shorter. Exercise is also a known mood-booster (perfect to help fight those winter blues and pregnancy mood swings you may be more prone to these days).
Do quickie strength workouts. If you don’t have the time or energy for a full-blown workout, keep it short. For example, alternate 60 to 90 seconds of squats with 30 to 60 seconds of stretching. Labor contractions last 60 to 90 seconds, so it mentally prepares you for how long you need to push yourself. Do four to six sets.
Remember to hydrate. When it’s cold out, you don’t sweat as much as you do in the heat, so it’s easy to forget that you need to drink plenty of water.
Last, but not least, get excited and be positive! If you’ve never been a winter fan, start focusing on what you do love about it, and how this time of year in your life provides new opportunities for your fitness and health. From eating delicious in-season produce to curling up with a big mug of sugar-free hot chocolate in front of the fireplace after a long workout, there is much to love about winter when you embrace and appreciate it.
Keep moving through the winter months and you’ll be a step ahead when the warm weather arrives. Continue working toward those winter exercise goals. When facing a tough exercise challenge during pregnancy, take the positive approach, “I’d love to!”
Christopher S. Grady, MD
Attending Physician, OB/GYN
A native of the Louisville area, Dr. Grady received his undergraduate degree from Translyvania University, then graduated from the University of Louisville Medical School, followed by an OB/GYN residency at the Medical College of Georgia. He provides care for women of all ages, including general and high-risk obstetrics and a wide range of gynecological care. He has three boys and is a member of the Southern Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Northside Christian Church