Exercise can mean many different things to different people. Running, cycling, climbing, weight lifting, yoga or Pilates… it’s all exercise, it’s all good for you and it’s amazing how doing making simple changes like doing a whole-body exercise with dumbbells for example can significantly raise your heart rate.
I work with ladies who are pregnant, post birth, well post birth (!) and those who are in or post menopause, and I always get a buzz working with ladies who want to stay healthy and fit. At the outset I will always ask my clients what they want to achieve and nine times out of ten it would always be to lose or maintain a certain weight. But times are a changing and I am now getting more and more ladies who simply want to be strong and toned, be able to keep up with their kids or prepare for birth.
My favourite saying and one I always stand by is ‘we can’t see your weight, but we can see what you look like in clothes’. I have written blogs before about 1lb of fat taking up more space than 1lb of muscle – so though we may look like we have lost weight we actually have gained muscle and lost fat – this change may not show on the scales but it will definitely show in your clothes and body shape.
So, here is a little bit of exercise guidance for the various stages of life;
Pregnant: so long as you stay hydrated when exercising (including swimming and walking) then you can, and it is advisable to carry on, exercising throughout pregnancy. I generally say take it a bit easier in your first twelve weeks, make the most of the second trimester when you have more energy and start to take it down a bit more in the last couple of months. Totally listen to your body and how you feel. Why not come and try one of my pregnancy fitness classes
First Twelve Weeks Post Birth: this is your forth trimester – be nice to yourself and get to know your baby and the routines. Eat as well as you can and get out and walk and mobilise. Ideally you shouldn’t start any exercise classes until you are at least six weeks or ten weeks post C section. Even then start gently, there is a lot of internal mending going on in your body that you are not aware of. Avoid any high intensity or running until you are at least five months or have really got your deep core muscles stronger.
Peri/Menopausal: This is another time when exercising is so important as we really begin to lose Oestrogen which affects our muscle mass, so we must work harder at body weight exercises or doing some simple dumbbell exercises. Heart health is also very important at this stage of life, so keep up weight bearing exercises, walking, Nordic Walking or doing weights for example. Avoid stressing your body for too long, so maybe cut down from a hard hour long run to a shorter 30-minute run with some intervals. It will cause less of the stress hormone to kick in and your body will thank you!
But remember, whatever stage of life you are in, whatever exercise you choose, do something you enjoy and something you feel you are benefitting from. Exercise is for life and when enjoyed is so much easier to maintain and can become part of your daily routine much more easily.
See you soon