Tag Archives: prenatal fitness

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trail running with my stroller
Me and my two youngest after a quick neighborhood jog.

Hi All! I am just getting back from my maternity leave, recovery and learning to manage my time. I'm easing back into my workout routine and I want to share my experiences using my stroller on local trails. I have always enjoyed trail running, I especially love it because I can have my children with me while I exercise. They enjoy riding in the stroller, checking out the scene, and feeling the sun on their face and breeze in their hair.

To aid in sharing my experiences on the trails I run, I have created a rubric which breaks down my personal preferences and how stroller friendly the trail is, using a point system. The higher the number the more desirable the trail. Many times there will be multiple trail options in a single park, or variation based on parking location. I will try to be specific enough to identify the route I took or the location I parked if there are multiple options. I hope to get out on the trails frequently, and I hope to share with everyone just as frequently, but weather conditions, health, other life obligations may keep me from getting out as much as I like. So, here I am - putting it out there - my goal, and please feel free to keep me accountable.

THE TRAIL RUNNING RUBRIC:

1 low quality 2 average quality 3 best quality
cost expensive, charge per individual small fee free
trail length requires laps to get adequate workout 1 mile minimum loop of manageable length, 1 mile minimum
trail material broken sidewalk cement, grass gravel, dirt, sand paved with large wheels in mind (cement, road material, etc)
trail width hardly large enough for single single but easy to pass double wide, easy to pass, side by side
bugs doused in bug repellent and still leave itchy, mouth closed breathing carry bug spray, could get on with out it, possibly leave with a couple of bug bites like being indoors, a pretty butterfly would be a treat
view grimy, no greenery, no tree cover from sun and wind, no visual appeal in the distance or directly near by visual appeal either in the distance or directly near by, some greenery, some tree cover from sun and wind visual appeal both in the distance and near by, green, seasonal foliage, tree cover from sun and wind
crowd (quantity) too many people to maneuver as desired some passing required but doable comfortably populated
crowd (culture) hobo community directly off path, rude or abrasive individuals people keep to their self, not negative and not positive interactions with individuals friendly individuals on and off the trail, smiles of encouragement, helpful if needed
cleanliness nearly hazardous due to trash, very appealing aesthetically, unpleasant smell trash here and there, minimal impact to aesthetics spotless, clean
safety not getting out of the car, too dangerous share trail with bikers, some risk due to wildlife, surprise dark and scary and secluded tunnel or bridge, poor upkeep of trail material or signs minimal risks, visible security/police, well maintained trail material and signs
parking sparsely spots available in trail lot, street parking, may have to hike to trail, charge to park adequate parking in trail lot, some hike required to get to trail adequate parking in trail lot, no hike to trail
amenities not encouraging the hanging out in any way limits to any desired amenity toilets, benches, workout section, water

Your questions, feedback on how I can adjust the trail running rubric, or suggested trails are more than welcome. I break things down by my experience of twelve individual aspects:  cost, trail length, trail material, trail width, bugs, view, crowd (quantity), crowd (culture), cleanliness, safety, parking and amenities. I use a scale to indicate preference, with the overall lowest score a possible 12 and the overall highest score a possible 36. Again, this is my opinion of trails as I use my stroller. I push a double Summit X3 (I love it!) and I estimate my total load weighing around 80 lbs, and it does not feel that heavy, but I notice other runners clearing the trail when they pass me. So, my opinion will be specific to my experiences and what I need in a trail while trail running to have my best workout.

I am looking forward to getting out on the trails this year and sharing my experiences with you. I hope you enjoy reading my evaluations and I appreciate your contributions! Happy trails (running!!)

water aerobics20150211_17024320150211_170239

I absolutely love water especially activities like water aerobics and I always have! I undoubtably have a natural, almost instinctual connection with the water. In the way a sensory deprivation chamber can induce a meditative state; I come to know my mind and body better when I am in the water. Water is a significant symbol in many spiritual practices, it has the ability to cleanse, and purify, and even heal. It is a necessary component to life, keeping us healthy with adequate intake. The world's living creatures large and small need water!

I was a self conscious young child, with my rounded belly and my chubby cheeks. I was uncomfortably squeezing into my clothes and skin as long as I could remember, I also hated elementary PE and would "fake" an asthma attack on days I dreaded the activity. I did not lack athleticism, but I didn't feel comfortable in my own skin, and suffered from anxiety in new, or frequently changing situations. In Jr, High I joined the swim team and found my body immediately transformed into strong and slender, and I felt confident and accomplished. It was then that I understood the benefits of fitness in the water, and I couldn't get enough.

The first water aerobics class I taught was at the public pool and it was apparently an appealing class to the more aged crowed (due to the great benefits for individuals with arthritis and osteoporosis) with an oldies mixed tape (yes a cassette tape and "boom box") as the preferred music by the clients. As I became familiar with the routine, and studied various texts on the subject I began making changes in the class and found the class growing by word of mouth. And the demographic became more diverse, appealing to women of all ages and even pregnant women. Fast forward 16 years, I have taught water classes at various locations since those days and I have only expanded my knowledge and I am still putting my own twist on the tried and true exercises that benefit women in the water (I have also changed the music!)

How Water Aerobics Benefits Mama ( & Everyone Else):

The health and fitness benefits to exercising in water are extensive and all encompassing. I found the benefits as a young girl, it provided the cardio and toning my growing body needed, and the controlled breathing with the practice of competitive training taught me to manage my asthma symptoms with minimum medication usage.

During water aerobics water provides a resistance which is proportional to the effort exerted against it. Depending on the speed of the movement the resistance felt is 4-42 times the resistance from the air, and can be increased by more surface area, or higher speeds as well as the use of various aquatic tools. This makes a water workout a highly variable weight training and cardio option for any level of ability.

Buoyancy of water nearly eliminates the effects of gravity on the body, it supports 90% of the body's weight which reduces impact and increases flexibility. This makes water exercise an excellent choice for pregnant women, who are feeling the effects of the hormone Relaxin on their joints and are prone to injury, or who are uncomfortable carrying their extra weight and growing belly and need the extra support.

Also, when we are pregnant our heart rate increases more quickly during exercise usually during our first trimester especially caused by under fill. Which is a symptom of the body not building up the blood supply fast enough to redirect to the uterus during pregnancy. Exercise in the water actually decreases the heart rate by making the heart work more efficiently. The hydrostatic pressure of the water pushes equally on all body surfaces and helps the heart circulate blood and aiding blood flow back to the heart. Our heart rate is said to beat 10-15 beats slower per minute in the water during suspended water exercise than for the same effort applied on land, which is beneficial for those who are pregnant and not pregnant. This balance of pressure also prevents swelling a, typically symptom of pregnancy.

While exercising during pregnancy, it is important to keep the body cool, and not overheat. Water aerobics in a pool at a temperature between 85-80 degrees allows the body to regulate temperature while exercising. The benefits of exercise during pregnancy are the same for those who are not pregnant when it comes to metabolic regulation, decreasing fat and increasing muscles and strength, necessary to maintain our fat burning ability even when not exercising. Aquatic exercise will also aid in the digestive functions, easing irregularity and constipation, associated with pregnancy. Water aerobics is safe for not only mom but baby too. Research shows women that exercise during pregnancy have shorter, easier, less painful labor and recover from delivery much quicker. Children who's mother exercises during pregnancy perform better on the Apgar evaluation, and cope with the stress of delivery more effectively.

With so many benefits to water aerobics, I should probably address the possible reasons to be apprehensive (and provide a rebuttal of course!) Some ladies may be modest about showing so much flesh, and then being physically active, especially during pregnancy and in a postnatal body. I wear a high neck line speedo style swim suit that provides full coverage, I have even found swim pants on the market. There are also swim suits with skirts and special suits with ruching, and designs that disguise those places on the body, we workout to eliminate. A swim suit that makes you feel confident and comfortable is an important purchase, and when your health is the reason to take action, there is no better motivation. Perhaps, as an adult, swimming is not a strength, or even a skill; there are still activities you can take part in, in the shallow end of the pool, and I have personally worked with women, who found comfort in the use of an aquatic belt, which provided the buoyancy to keep them afloat, while they performed aqua jog laps in deep and shallow water. It is never too late to learn to swim, and I can absolutely refer you to someone if you are interested in gaining the knowledge. Honestly, I cant think of another possible reason why a woman would not want to exercise in the water. If you have any reasons, please share, and while I understand aquatic fitness may not be for everyone, I do believe most women will notice the benefits immediately and fall in love with the water, no matter the stage of motherhood.

I would love to see you in the pool! I offer classes in Bellaire, check out the link premofitness.com or contact me prenatalmothersfitness@gmail.com to find out when - talk to you soon!

 

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pregnant-woman-running

Did you make a New Year's Resolution for 2015? What was it? I would love to hear from you in the comments, about your goals and how you are doing with those goals. According to statisticbrain.com the number one New Year's Resolution is to lose weight, and staying fit and healthy is the number five most common resolution. The site also states that 64% of people that make resolutions are still maintaining them after one month. (way better than I thought!) Unfortunately only 46% of those who set New Years Resolutions last past six months.

Did You Make Any Resolutions?

So, my question is: did you set a New Years Resolution, and are you still working towards your goal? statisticbrain.com also states: "People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions." Have you shared your goals with friends and family? Someone to help keep you accountable? Someone that will check in on your progress? Did you make a specific goal, right down to the number of lbs. you want to lose? Or the size pants you want to wear? Or are you measuring the grams of fats, sugars, carbs and proteins you consume in each meal? How "explicit" have you been in your resolution, and how successful do you think you will be? I invite you to share your challenges and strives.

I personally don't make New Years Resolutions, but I do make resolutions regularly. I am constantly setting goals, for my personal development, fitness, spiritual endeavors, and family, through out the year. I take some resolutions more seriously than others and some stick better than others. Some of my most recent personal resolutions: spend quality time with my family, more consistently. I aim to gather my family at least once a month for a nice dinner, and some demonstrations of appreciation. I have set a goal to change my morning habits, and to make time for meditation and self reflection during the morning while the children still sleep (instead of letting my youngest be my alarm). My fitness goal is to workout harder, and really focus on pushing myself physically. I also want to get more control over my food intake, limiting my refined sugars to once a week, eat salad for at least one meal a day, drink a kale shake for at least one meal a day, and having some freedom on the third meal. As far as my business goals, grow! baby! grow! I need to be more specific, and honestly, out of all my goals this one is the hardest. All my goals are huge struggles for me to manage. I'm not quitting, but I'm not at 100% achievement, I know where I lack focus and discipline, and all I can say is I am building better habits and studying those who demonstrate success, and share strategy. I am open to suggestions, please don't hesitate to share!

Good luck on your resolutions, (New Years or anytime of the year) let me know how I can help you reach your goals, and I hope you reach your goal, and maintain for as long as that goal is of value to you. Check out my site: premofitness.com or email me: prenatalmothersfitness@gmail.com if you have any questions about how I can help you meet your fitness goals!