Want to have a healthier, less stressful pregnancy? You might not have to look any further than your local yoga studio.
Prenatal yoga classes help women in all stages of pregnancy participate in healthy, safe exercise. These specially designed classes teach breathing and meditation techniques, provide support for stressed moms-to-be and use asanas (yoga poses) that help expectant mothers build strength and stamina.
Yogis who lead these classes also avoid poses that may be risky for moms and design classes for all women, even those who have never done yoga before. If you currently practice yoga, be sure to tell your yogi that you are expecting so that he or she can help you stay safe.
New studies continue to reveal the benefits of prenatal yoga. So, with your doctor’s approval, unroll that mat, breathe deeply and get ready. After practicing yoga while you’re pregnant, you might experience:
Many pregnant women experience sleep problems that make dealing with the physical symptoms of pregnancy more difficult. However, exercise during pregnancy can help you achieve better sleep. Yoga, for instance, reinforces natural circadian rhythms. Our bodies follow these rhythms to determine when we should be awake and when we should be asleep. By keeping to this rhythm, you may find you fall asleep more easily.
Throughout a yoga class, you are encouraged to center your mind and focus on your breathing, clearing away stressful or anxious thoughts. Research shows that after a yoga class, pregnant women have fewer stress hormones like cortisol in their bodies. Breathing and meditation techniques can also be used outside of class to help you cope with a difficult pregnancy or work through pain during labor.
Research also reveals yoga can reduce symptoms of depression during pregnancy. Depression is associated with a higher risk of pre-term labor and low birth weight, so it is vital to reduce symptoms so both mom and baby enjoy better health.
Fewer Pregnancy Symptoms
It’s no secret that for some people pregnancy comes with some unpleasant symptoms like shortness of breath, back pain, nausea and headaches. Prenatal yoga classes can help you reduce these symptoms without having to rely on medicines. To help with pregnancy symptoms, you can:
- Use breathing exercises to overcome shortness of breath
- Practice relaxation techniques and certain poses to reduce nausea from morning sickness
- Build core and back muscles to reduce back pain
- Improve posture and stress levels to experience fewer headaches
Easier Labor and Delivery
Yoga asanas build strength and flexibility throughout your body. During yoga for pregnancy, you focus on asanas that assist with labor and delivery. These asanas help the muscles in your hips, abdomen and back grow stronger and have better endurance for a more comfortable, faster labor and delivery. You can also use breathing exercises you learned to get through the pain of contractions.
There’s no way to sugar coat it — losing weight isn’t easy. However, the benefits of weight loss often outweigh any challenges you might face during your weight loss journey. Losing just 10 pounds can greatly increase your quality of life and set you on track toward a healthier lifestyle.
If you’re feeling sluggish or out of shape, losing even just a few pounds can help boost your confidence and motivate you to keep up the hard work. If you’re looking for additional motivation, here’s five other things that happen to you body if you drop ten pounds:
1. Weight loss will decrease your chance of cardiovascular disease
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, killing nearly 375,000 people per year. How can you prevent yourself from becoming another statistic, you ask? Start investing in a healthier lifestyle and shed those extra ten pounds you’ve been meaning to.
The heart is easily one of the hardest working muscles in your body, and any added weight puts unnecessary stress on it. Don’t make the heart’s integral job harder. When you start dieting and properly exercising, you decrease the likelihood that your coronary arteries will become hardened and narrowed and decrease blood flow to your heart. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will ensure that your heart gets adequate blood flow and can continue its job without extra burden.
2. Your joints will thank you for losing weight
Joint pain and inflammation dramatically decreases your quality of life. Walking up and down stairs can become a chore. Prescription painkillers can only eliminate so much pain, and often, you can’t function day-to-day from the mind-altering properties of painkillers. There is an easier solution than taking pills everyday.
Losing 10 pounds will lighten the load on your joints. Building up muscle could mitigate the damage on your knees and allow your body to develop a “suit of armor” to protect you from injuries related to joint deterioration.
3. Weight loss can help you say goodnight to sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening disorder that disrupts proper airflow during sleep. If you snore, you have a form of a sleep apnea. There are more than 18 million Americans with sleep apnea, and few understand the substantial risk of heart attacks during sleep.
The correlation between weight gain and sleep apnea is well established. When an individual is overweight, they develop excess tissue in the back of their throats that can fall over the airway and decrease airflow.
Insufficient sleep will lead to weight gain, which exacerbates the sleep apnea, creating a vicious cycle of weight gain and feeling tired everyday. This makes it harder to make health-conscious decisions.
Losing just a mere 10 pounds can improve your quality of sleep immensely, allowing your airways to open up and increase oxygen to the brain.
4. Losing weight can reduce your risk of cancer
Doctors estimate that 1 in 20 diagnosed instances of cancer are linked to being overweight.
Fat cells in the body produce different proteins and hormones that are carried through the bloodstream. Having excess fat cells produces more of these “chemical messengers” throughout the body and increases the risk of several different types of cancer. Hormone levels are also changed by excess fat and may increase risk of cancer.
Shedding just 10 pounds can decrease the amount of excess fat cells and limit the amount of chemical messengers in your bloodstream, decreasing your risk of many different types of cancer.
5. Improve your sex life with weight loss
Being overweight can directly lower your libido, inhibiting sexual desires in both male and females. There are many physical and psychological side effects of being overweight that influence your libido.
For men, being overweight increases your risk of sexual impotence. Excess weight can bring along a myriad of problems like hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes, all of which cause limited blood flow to all parts of the body, including the penis. Even losing a small amount of weight has been shown to improve this condition.
For women, having excess fat may increase the risk of infertility by causing abnormalities with their eggs that make them harder to fertilize. Overweight women produce less mature eggs and are at higher risk for failed pregnancies. Losing excess weight can not only save your life, but improve your future baby’s health as well.
Ten pounds may not seem like a lot of weight lost, but the benefits are infinitely better than keeping the weight on. Losing those 10 pounds will improve your physical health scores across the board and may lead you down a track of habitually making health-conscious decisions and help you reach your goal weight.
For more information about how WCF can help you take care of you, contact us to schedule an appointment.
When you have your newborn baby snoozing adorably in your arms, the last thing you want to think about is exercise. As a new mom, late night feedings, dozens of diaper changes and hormonal swings can take away your energy and time, making it difficult to think about fitness.
Though postpartum exercise is difficult, we encourage our patients to find time to get active so they can experience better health as a new mom.
Benefits of exercising after pregnancy
Exercise after pregnancy can help you and your body adjust to motherhood in a healthy way. Even light activity, like a 15-minute walk each day can offer moms benefits such as better quality of sleep, lower stress and a higher energy level.
Exercise can also help you lose any extra baby weight, especially when combined with a healthy diet. It can improve your heart health, help you build muscle and start to tone up your abdomen after delivery.
Starting a regular exercise program when your child is an infant lets you start to show your child an example of a healthy, active lifestyle. As your child grows up, they will understand the importance of exercise and develop healthy habits by watching you.
Make a postpartum exercise plan
Before you start any exercise plan, you should speak to your doctor about what is right for your body and health. Every woman will have a different postpartum experience, so you’ll need to create a postpartum exercise plan for your needs.
If you had a normal vaginal delivery, you can likely start becoming active just a few days after giving birth. Talk to your OB/GYN about limitations. Don’t push it; start moving only when you feel your body is ready.
If you had a C-section, you may need more time to heal, around six weeks or more. Ask your doctor about exercise during your post-natal care appointments.
When you are ready for exercise after pregnancy, you attempt to get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. Incorporate these exercises into your weekly or daily routine to reach your exercise goals:
- Walking is a safe postpartum exercise you can do with your newborn. Head to your favorite park or jogging path with your baby safely secure in a stroller or carrier. If you were a runner before pregnancy, you’ll need to work back up to your normal routine.
- Pelvic and kegel exercises. You can perform these exercises at home to rebuild your pelvic floor muscles, reducing your risk for incontinence or other postpartum complications.
- Postpartum exercise classes. Some gyms, yoga studios and even hospitals offer classes designed for new moms, like Baby Boot Camp or Strollercize. These classes take it easy on your body, while emphasizing rebuilding strength in your abdomen and pelvic muscles.
- Swimming. Swimming is full-body exercise that is good for your joints. Swim at your own pace and slowly add time or distance to your workout.
- Aqua classes. Like swimming, aqua classes allow you to move while putting less stress on your joints and muscles. Try aqua yoga, Zumba or aerobics to find an exercise that works for your body.
If postpartum exercise leads to bleeding, pain or discomfort, you should stop exercising and give your body more time to heal. Pushing yourself too soon can hurt your recovery.
Tips for postpartum exercise
To find the time and energy for postpartum exercise, you’ll need to rely on your support team. You should:
- Schedule time for your partner to care for the baby while you go exercise.
- Find friends who also need to exercise and go to classes or on walks together.
- Incorporate your baby into exercise by attending Baby & Me classes.
- Remember that even just 10 minutes of exercise can make a difference. Try to fit in exercise when and where you can.
If you are worried about exercising after pregnancy, always speak to your trusted OB/GYN for more tips and advice.
For additional support losing weight, you can rely on Weight Loss Programs and Nutrition Counseling from Women’s Care Florida. Our understanding experts can help you develop a personalized plan for postpartum exercise and diet.
On average, an American adult gains almost two pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. With the stress of travel, the tempting call of pumpkin pie, the cutely named holiday cocktails and all the parties at work, it’s no wonder a few extra pounds manage to sneak their way into our celebrations.
But you can stay fit during the holidays—without giving up all the fun, delicious parts of the season. Instead, build healthy habits into your celebrations to enjoy your holidays without guilt. Try out the fun activities below to stay fit during the holidays.
Start a new tradition
Many families have traditions that center around food, whether it is enjoying a cup of apple cider together or digging in to a Christmas ham. You can start your own, new traditions that don’t involve food. These traditions can put you in the holiday spirit without increasing your caloric intake. Some new traditions might include:
- Decorating the house as a family
- Taking special holiday shopping trips together
- Listening to your favorite holiday music
- Watching holiday movies (with healthy snacks like low-calorie popcorn)
- Telling a family story every night when you light the menorah
- Volunteering at a soup kitchen or shelter to serve others
Take in the lights
One way to combat all the extra calories you eat during the holidays is to get a little extra exercise. You don’t have to squeeze in another visit to the gym; simply head out into your neighborhood for a tour of the best holiday light displays. You can take the whole family or just a cup of your favorite black coffee or tea. By walking just 30 minutes every day, you’ll burn around 700 calories in one week.
Try a little of everything
Holiday dishes are often full of sugar and fat, but portion control can help you enjoy these foods without packing on the pounds. Instead of taking normal size portions, try taking just a spoonful of everything you want on the holiday table. You’ll be able to sample everyone’s delicious dishes and stick to your daily calories needs.
A great night’s sleep helps keep your metabolism, blood sugar and blood pressure at healthy levels. Take advantage of the holiday vacation by getting plenty of sleep every night—even if it means sleeping until the sun has been up for a while.
Don’t make a weight-loss resolution
The most popular New Year’s resolution every year is to lose weight. This year, don’t join that club. Forgive yourself if you eat a little too much on the holidays and just return to your normal diet.
Instead of dieting or joining the stampede to the gym in January, make a resolution that gets you excited about 2018. Some fun resolutions might include:
- Completing a 5k, 10k or half marathon
- Redecorating a room in your home
- Spending more time with your kids
If you’ve broken a New Year’s resolution before, you’re not alone; 80 percent of all New Year’s Resolutions are broken by the time February comes around.
In 2018, you have a new chance to keep your resolutions. This year, make it easier on yourself to succeed by making the right resolutions for you. Instead of making a year-long, general goal like “get fit,” try making more personalized resolutions using the techniques below.
Make monthly fitness resolutions
A year is a long time to keep your eye on the prize. Instead, set a different fitness resolution for each month of the year. Think ahead about what your life might be like during that month and set goals that will be fun and realistic to achieve.
For instance, running a 5K in January may not be fun in the cooler weather. Instead, make your January resolution something you can do indoors, like completing an aerobics workout video three times a week or lifting weights at the gym. You can make running a 5K your resolution for a warmer month.
Each monthly resolution moves you toward becoming more fit, but helps you have an easier time sticking to each goal. Even if you hate lifting weights, you know that you only have to do it for a month before trying something else. With any luck, at the end of the year you will know what exercise you like best and can make that exercise a part of your routine in 2019.
Choose S.M.A.R.T. resolutions
S.M.A.R.T. goals can be used for every aspect of your life, whether you set a business goal or a fitness resolution. These goals are:
S.M.A.R.T. goals are effective at helping you set and keep your resolutions, providing you with more direction than the vague and almost useless resolution of “get fit.” An example of a S.M.A.R.T. fitness resolution would be:
“I’m going to walk one mile (specific) three times per week (measurable) for the month of January (timely) because it will help me improve my fitness (relevant).”
Because this goal is clear and simple, it’s also attainable. And you can build on your success. Maybe in February, you choose to walk one-and-a-half miles three times per week. Each month you can update this goal, maybe switching to jogging or adding more walks to your week.
What’s important is you know exactly what your goal is, why it is your goal and what you have to do to achieve it.
Make one change at a time
If you don’t want to use monthly goals or S.M.A.R.T. goals, just remember to make one change at a time. If in January you decide to quit smoking, work out three times a week and go on a diet, you’ll be too stressed by the end of month to keep any of these goals.
Change one small behavior at a time. Once you feel confident in that behavior change, make a new change. If you quit smoking, for instance, it may take you a few months to feel like you have comfortably kicked the habit. Once that’s done, you can add exercise into your week, too.
Remember, your physician can be your partner in setting and keeping fitness resolutions. For help creating a fitness plan that’s right for you, schedule an appointment or find a physician at Women’s Care Florida today.