By Dr. Dawn Kingston
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 generalised 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)
1. 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.
2. 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.