Sunday, January 27, 2019

10 Reasons to Exercise Throughout Your Pregnancy

“Prenatal physical activity should be considered a frontline therapy for reducing the risk of pregnancy complications and enhancing maternal physical and mental health.” (2019 Canadian Guideline for Physical Activity Throughout Pregnancy)

1. Energy
One of the best ways to increase energy levels is to get moving.  Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently.  This results in more energy for everyday tasks. 

2. Comfort
Most pregnancy aches and pains come from muscular imbalances, pressure of the growing uterus and a shifting of the spine and pelvis.  Regular exercise, especially muscular endurance, prenatal specific core work and stretching can help prevent and reduce these discomforts.

3. Improved Pelvic Floor Health
Regular pelvic floor work, giving equal focus to the contraction and the release, may help with urinary incontinence, pelvic pain, low back pain and even labour.

4. Decreased Digestive Discomforts
Regular exercise improved circulation, reducing nausea and constipation.

5. Mental Health
Exercise is a safe and accessible way to prevent and manage depression and anxiety.  It’s also a fantastic stress buster. 

6. Healthy Weight Gain
Healthy weight gain helps to prevent pregnancy complications such a gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and an increase in labour interventions. 

7. Prevention of Gestational Diabetes, Gestational Hypertension and Preeclampsia
Regular cardiovascular exercise helps to prevent and manage gestational diabetes and maintain healthy blood pressure. This reduces the incidence of labour interventions and cesarean birth. 

8. Prevention of Swelling, Varicose Veins and Hemorrhoids
Regular cardiovascular exercise promotes healthy circulation.

9. Stamina for Labour and Parenting 
Ask any woman who has gone through labour and she will tell you that it was one of the most physically intense endeavors she has ever experienced.  Ask any parent of young children and they will assure you that parenting is seriously physical work.  Fact: Being strong, fit and healthy will help make parenting more manageable.

10. Decreased chance of caesarean birth, instrumental delivery, newborn complications

Motivated? Learn how to exercise safely throughout your pregnancy. 

The NEW 2019 Canadian Guideline for Physical Activity Throughout Pregnancy

The NEW 2019 Canadian Guideline for Physical Activity Throughout Pregnancy was recently released.  This is a summary with some added tips from Fit 4 Two. 

Cardiovascular Exercise and Resistance Training
”All women without contraindication should be physically active throughout pregnancy.  Pregnant women should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week to achieve clinically meaningful health benefits and reductions in pregnancy complications. Physical activity should be accumulated over a minimum of three days per week; however, being active every day is encouraged.”(1)

Moderate-intensity means you can talk but not sing.  “Pregnant women should incorporate a variety of aerobic and resistance training activities to achieve greater benefits.”(2) We recommend focusing on muscular endurance, as we do in our classes, which is usually defined at 2-3 sets of 12-20 repetition with a moderate resistance.

Choose activities that you enjoy, are comfortable and do not put you in danger of falling, colliding with others, projectiles, high altitudes or decompression (I.E. scuba diving).  Some examples are low impact aerobics class, power walking, stationary cycling, swimming, aquatic fitness and of course Fit 4 Two classes. If you were already doing moderate to high impact exercise like running, it does not cause you pain, and you are following the guidelines above, then it should be safe to continue.  We recommend discussing this with your healthcare provider.

Core Exercises
Pregnant women need strong core muscles in order to prevent pain, injury and to maintain good posture and function.  “Pelvic floor muscles training (PFMT) may be performed on a daily basis to reduce the risk of urinary incontinence.  Instruction on proper technique is recommended to obtain optimal benefits.” (3)   The great thing about attending Fit 4 Two classes is that set side time at each class to learn about and work on pelvic floor health.

“Pregnant women who experience light-headedness, nausea or feel unwell when they exercise flat on their back should modify their exercise position to avoid the supine position.” (4)

If you have Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation), or are not sure if you have one, please read this important article.  Certain core exercises can actually make it worse.

Maintaining healthy flexibility and mobility can prevent pain and injury during pregnancy.  Pregnant women should stretch gently after each workout and consider adding prenatal yoga to their routine.  Stretches for the chest and front of the shoulders can help with preventing and correcting excessive kyphosis (rounding forward of the back and forward position of the chin) and internal rotation of the shoulders, both common pregnancy posture challenges.  Excessive lordosis, when the growing uterus pulls the pelvis forward, creating an excessive inward curve of the lower back, is common during pregnancy and leads to low back pain.  Stretches for the low back, hip flexors, quadriceps, and hamstrings can help.

During pregnancy, the hormone relaxin softens connective tissue to make room for your growing baby.  It is postulated that this may make pregnant women more vulnerable to overstretching.  For this reason many healthcare providers recommend gentle stretching.

Have you tried a Fit 4 Two class yet?  What's stopping you? Join for for a free trial

1,2,3,4 2019 Canadian Guideline for Physical Activity Throughout Pregnancy

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Mama Needs to Hydrate

We all know that drinking water is important, but why? 
Is it even more important when pregnant? When breastfeeding?

Why we all need to drink enough water
*Increases energy
*Improves circulation
*Promotes cellular health
*Regulates body temperature
*Improves digestion
*Lubricates joints
*Promotes healthy skin, hair and nails
*Prevents headaches, lack of focus, and dizziness
*Prevents cravings for unhealthy foods

More reasons to hydrate if pregnant
*Prevents muscle cramps (Ie leg and foot cramps)
*Prevents varicose veins (improved circulation)
*Prevents hemorrhoids (improved circulation and digestion)
*Prevents constipation (improved digestion)

More reasons to hydrate if postpartum
*Helps with healing varicose veins (improved circulation)
*Helps with healing hemorrhoids (improved circulation and digestion)
*Increases energy….especially when sleep deprived
*Assists in maintaining milk production for breastfeeding women

So how much water should we drink?

Generally speaking, you want to aim for 8-10 cups (2,000-2,500) ml) each day.  If you are breastfeeding, aim for 10.

If you have one of our Fit 4 Two water bottles, they hold 590ml….so you want to drink 3.5-4 full Fit 4 Two water bottles each day.


*Drink 500 ml or more of water upon waking for the day.  If you are usually home alone with baby, keep some filled water bottles in the fridge that you can grab one before you settle in to feed baby.

*Drink 500ml or more of water during your fitness class.  If you fill and drink one Fit 4 Two water bottle, that will be 590ml.

*When afternoon fatigue stats to set in, reach for that water bottle instead of a processed snack.

*Keep a water bottle at your desk/in your stroller/at your infant feeding station and sip, sip, sip. 

*Drink 250ml or more before dinner and 250ml or more during dinner. 

*If you are prone to heartburn and acid reflux you may need to keep your water and your food separate.

*If you really don't love water, try adding a squeeze of lemon or lime.  Clear, caffeine-free, herbal teas count as water intake as well.

*Write a blog post on water....I have finished a full Fit 4 Two water bottle researching and writing this post lol. 

CONTEST: Post** a photo of you and or your baby with your water bottle (any water bottle is fine but if you have a Fit 4 Two water bottle, all the better) and be entered to win a $10 Starbucks gift card. Contest closes Jan 29.  Winner announced Feb 3, 2019. One prize per city Fit 4 Two serves: Winnipeg, Vancouver, North Shore, Surrey, Langley.

**If posting to Facebook, tag your local Fit 4 Two Facebook Page
**If posting to Instagram, tag your local Fit 4 Two Instagram Account

These tags are how we will know you have entered the contest.