Here at Mom Gets Moxie, I talk a lot about exercise in various forms throughout the perinatal period. And while I strongly suggest some form of exercise for all women, I get that not everyone is a gym rat. Not everyone wants to lift weights or do more intensive-type cardio. So, if these things aren’t for you, does activity during pregnancy just go out the window? Absolutely not! There are still plenty of things you can do – walking and swimming being two of the most prominent – to help keep you active and moving during pregnancy. If you’re not focused on building or maintaining muscle mass during pregnancy, here are some other benefits of getting in some low-key exercise on a daily basis.
1. Better Sleep
Exercise helps reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, which often are culprits that result in a loss of sleep. It also gets your heart rate up and gives your muscles some work, so they are tired and ready for bed as well. Studies have also shown that, if you exercise later in the day, the post-exercise drop in your body temperature can contribute to better sleep.
2. Fewer Health Complications
With pregnancy comes many different considerations. Two very common health concerns during pregnancy are excessive weight gain and gestational diabetes. Daily exercise has shown to reduce the likelihood of both of these events occurring during pregnancy.
3. Mood Booster
If you’ve been pregnant for any amount of time, you know that your hormones can do a number on your emotions and how you feel from one minute to the next! Exercise releases endorphins into your system, which are kind of like “happy hormones”. They improve your mood and help you feel better overall. Who couldn’t use a little bit of mood regulation during pregnancy??
These benefits all come along with just 20-30 minutes of light exercise 3-5 times per week. Like I said at the beginning, things like walking and swimming are great! Also, yoga, pilates, using a rowing machine, tai chi, or an elliptical are other examples of activities to participate in that are low intensity, but will still give you the great benefits of daily exercise.
Try to incorporate some movement into your week this week!