Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fitness or Yoga? What is the best choice during pregnancy?

We get this question a lot.  The answer? Both.

Our Prenatal Yoga and Prenatal Fitness classes share many benefits:

  • Improved flexibility resulting in less aches and pains
  • Reduced stress
  • Increased energy
  • Better sleep
  • Breath awareness for labour
  • Stronger deep core muscles
  • Toned pelvic floor
  • Improved social, mental and physical health

Prenatal Fitness has some unique benefits:

  • Prevention and management of gestational diabetes
  • Strength and stamina for parenting
  • Appropriate weight gain
  • Cardiovascular health

So does Prenatal Yoga:

  • Coping mechanisms for parenting stress
  • More time spent on breath awareness and relaxation

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada recommends that healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies do cardiovascular exercise up to 4 days a week.  They also promote strength and flexibility training.  While they make no official statement on yoga, most doctors and midwives encourage pregnant patients to attend a prenatal yoga class.  So how does a busy woman make this happen?

We recommend beginning with 3 days a week of schedule fitness and yoga.  For example, you might attend Prenatal Fitness Monday, do your own workout Wednesday, then Prenatal Yoga on Saturday mornings.  Once you have established that routine for 2 weeks, add in 2 more sessions of cardio. Choose activities that you are used to and that do not put you at risk of falling, over heating or physical contact.  Impact exercises like running are okay if you are used to them.  If you were previously sedentary, walking is a great place to start.  Be sure to stay within the prenatal fitness guidelines for frequency, intensity, time and type

Once you have established your 3 scheduled days of fitness and yoga, plus 2 more sessions of cardio, begin a short private yoga practice most days of the week.  Focus on breath, pelvic floor and gentle stretches.

Questions?  Ask your local Fit 4 Two Instructor.

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