Exercising during pregnancy is a great way to maintain good health, boost your mindset and spend time with friends. It can be difficult to find time to fit exercise into your daily life, so we’ve created this list of tips to help you get started.
Tips to be more active during pregnancy
Any increase in activity is an achievement
- Start with small lifestyle changes that will last. For example, take a 20 minute walk with a friend on a specific day and time each week.
- Once you have achieved one small change, set more goals to continue to challenge yourself (e.g. walk three times mid-week for 20 minutes and one long walk with a friend on the weekend).
- Increase the duration (and or frequency) of each walk as you achieve each goal. Throw in some different exercise types such as aerobics or swimming.
Rope in a friend
- Make activity a social occasion that will have health benefits for both of you.
- It is much harder to reschedule an activity when you have someone else depending on you.
Widen your activity horizons
- Exercise classes are a great way to get fit but are not the only way. Consider joining a pram walking group if you have young children, swim at the local pool, ride your bike to the shops, or walk to visit friends or post your mail.
Plan activity into your day
- Set aside some ‘me-time’ or an ‘active-hour’ that is non-negotiable.
- Choose the most convenient time for you so your activity plans are least likely to be disrupted. Is early morning, midday or evening the best time for you?
Set goals to keep you on target
There’s something satisfying about planning your week. Writing down what you’d like to get done can make you feel more ‘on top’ of things. The key is to plan how to achieve your goals. Your activity goals may be to:
- Take the stairs everyday.
- Walk an extra block each week.
- Swim two more lengths of the pool.
- Jog another lap of the park.
- Do a longer walk each weekend.
Squash the excuses
- It may be tough to get back into exercising when your fitness levels are low and modern life provides many easy excuses to avoid getting active. Think about what stops you. Too busy? Too tired? No-one to babysit? No-one to go with?
- Taking the first step is often the biggest barrier. If you are truly tired or busier than you planned, still do some kind of activity but just a gentler or shorter session.
- Being too tired is a common excuse to not exercise, but tiredness is more the outcome of not exercising enough. Exercise and fitness can release energy that you may have?forgotten existed. It also improves mood and relieves stress. This both helps you to make healthier food choices and to have good quality sleep.
Exercise when it is not too cold or dark if this reduces motivation
- Cold dark mornings and evenings can reduce motivation to exercise and it may not be safe outside. If this is a problem, try changing your activity sessions to the middle of the day.
- Otherwise, an indoor exercise session can be done rain, hail or shine.
Keep an activity diary
- Keeping an activity diary can increase awareness of your activity levels as well as motivate you to do more.
- It is also helpful to look back over your diary to see what you have achieved.
- Download an app for your phone which tracks your progress.
Want to know more?
Sports Medicine Australia – Exercise during pregnancy
Better Health Channel – Pregnancy and exercise
Pregnancy, birth and baby – Exercising during pregnancy