The Exhausted Mama: Should You Exercise On Little Sleep?

Clock - credit: lusiIf sleep is limited, the risk of injury spikes.  Performance levels will be half of what you’re normally used to, which will either A, disappoint and discourage you, or B, cause you to overexert yourself.

As much as it sucks, especially if you’re pregnant or a sleep-deprived mommy trying to fit in workouts, taking a day to rest is necessary.  It might be a no brainer to some, but for the beginner or the woman who wants to accelerate her fitness/weight loss this is so frustrating!  You’d much rather workout than take the opportunity to nap if it arises.  You’re already seizing extra ways you can exercise and balance everything else, you really don’t have time for this!

But you do.  Believe it or not, tissue repair happens when you’re getting ZZZ’s, so even if you worked out with weights the day before and you wanted to do cardio the next, accepting that chance to nap instead of exercise is still better than logging those burned calories.  This means aiding the process in building toned muscles, which is good!

Think you’re getting enough sleep, even with a crying baby or pregnancy insomnia, but still lack the energy you’re positive you should have?  Ask yourself these two questions, you might be surprised what they reveal to you.

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Why Keep Fit During Pregnancy?

I’m currently nearing the end of my 23rd week in pregnancy, and I feel tired achy sore GREAT!

Notice how those three words are crossed out?  Not an attempt to brag.  Just pure, unabashed honesty.  And I am so incredibly thankful.

Believe it or not, I didn’t start exercising again until the middle of my second trimester… I’ve actually been on a 4 month-long hiatus after discovering I conceived, due to possible complications.  But, now that most of those are in the clear, I’m back at it and ready to share with you why staying active during my pregnancy has been the best decision I could have made not only for my baby, but myself as well.

Now you should know, this is my first child — so accepting advice from someone who is a parenting/baby-parasite host (I say that jokingly, and with love) newbie might be a little difficult.  Stay with me, though, all I want is for this to benefit you and help you.

There is plenty of medical and scientific proof behind keeping fit and pregnant.  It improves your sleeping patterns, gives you a jolt of energy when you need it (especially if you’re cutting caffeine), prepares your body for delivery and keeps your self-esteem higher than it would be without it.  I have watched some friends during their pregnancies — some who kept active and some who didn’t.  There is a vast difference between those who keep things at a minimum than those who simply adjust their current routine or keep at it.  Of course, I’ve seen women who have continued to power lift with moderation and gone on to run 10K’s even in the third trimester!  I won’t openly say I advise against or that I am for those methods, because I don’t really have much business spouting what I don’t know when it hasn’t affected me personally.

But here’s what I do know!

Some basic information:
Walking keeps you off the couch and away from those crappy back-aches.  It encourages blood flow, breathing and actually can sway a baby in-utero to sleep (cue the awww’s)!  It’s easy to do and doesn’t require a gym membership or equipment and can be done practically anywhere.  Snowing outside?  Walk in place!

Swimming is an excellent exercise because it is low impact, relaxing and can actually improve circulation and build muscle definition without lifting weights.  Plus, you feel light as a feather, and I don’t know about you but that’s very appealing when you’re carrying a miniature basketball in your belly.

Strength training with dumbbells is an excellent way to build stamina and resistance against fatigue… both traits you’ll probably need during labor!  I know I will.  Liftiing weights will help maintain toned muscles as well, for those of us who are just a little ego-centric. 😉

Some things to know, however.  Never start an exercise regimen without consulting your practitioner first.  There are safety guidelines with everything in pregnancy (food and makeup, too!), as I’m coming to discover in my own journey.  Even if you’ve been active prior to conception, it’s always best to check with them first to see if anything needs to be toned down and/or adjusted.  There are also certain diagnosis’s that can alter how much activity should be allowed in your pregnancy.  Read all about them here, and some safety guidelines here.

Until next time, mamas!

Katie