The more active and fit you are in your pregnancy, the easier it will be for you to adapt to your changing shape and weight gain. Exercising during pregnancy can also help through labour as well as getting back into shape post baby. Many people don’t exercise during pregnancy because they are worried it might be harmful to their baby, which is not the case when done safely. In fact, there is evidence that suggests, active women are less likely to experience problems later on in their pregnancy’s and when giving birth. Whilst exercise isn’t harmful, it is important to know what exercises are safe during each trimester.


My tips and advice for exercising when pregnant;

· Always consult your GP before participating in any activity

· Before starting any exercise, make sure your core muscles are fully engaged

· Avoid anything too strenuous, it is important you can still hold a conversation while working out

· Make sure you stay hydrated throughout the workout

· Take as much rest as you need between sets


Exercises to avoid whilst pregnant;

· Lying on your back for long periods of time

· Crunches, where you are bringing your knees into your chest or chest or chest to knees

· Contact sports and high impact exercise


Remember that even just going for a gentle walk every day and doing some light stretching and movement is still hugely beneficial to your mental and physical health.


My favourite prenatal exercises are;

The bird dog – in an all 4’s position, tucking the pelvis under and engaging the core, extending the opposite arm and leg out, working the core muscles

Lunge pulses – Lunging backwards, keeping the back knee just off the floor, making small movements pulsing up and down

Press ups – starting with hands below shoulders and knees on the floor, bringing your chest to the floor, using the upper body to drive up


If you are pregnant and are not sure where to start with a workout, then why not book in for a 1 to 1 session or alternatively jump into my prenatal class on a Wednesday lunch time.


Remember, if anything doesn’t feel right while you are exercising then please stop immediately and consult a medical professional.


Gemma x



Whilst I am a massive advocate for pushing our bodies to it’s limits, it is equally as important to give our bodies rest days. A fitness regime is not complete without rest days, they are just as important as the training days. Taking regular rest days allows our bodies to recover and repair, both being a critical part of progress, regardless of your fitness levels or sport. You have heard of ‘never skip leg day’ well…never skip a rest day either! If you are wondering why these so called rest days are so important, here are the reasons why;


Reduces risk of injury! I have put this one first because, for me, it is the most important reason to rest and allow that recovery time for our bodies, also…. Having an injury when you are an active person is probably one of the single most frustrating things!! So… rest to avoid risk of injury! When our bodies are fatigued, we are more likely to fall away from good form. Overtraining also exposes our muscles to repetitive stress and strain, which then increases the risk of overuse injuries, forcing you to take a longer period of time off exercise…. Totally counterproductive in my opinion, so schedule at least 2 rest days into your training schedule.


Improves performance. When you don’t get enough rest, your body may feel heavy and tired, which in turn will have an impact on performance. For example, if you are a runner and you have neglected the rest days, you may find your legs get very heavy, very quickly and you may feel less motivated to keep putting one foot in front of the other. With little rest you may experience reduced endurance, slow reaction times and poor agility.


Allows time for recovery. Rest is essential for muscle growth, so if you think you need to be beasting your body daily to build muscle, you may be slightly wrong. Your body needs those rest days to re-build and repair the muscles. Exercise creates microscopic tears in your muscle tissue, but during rest, cells called fibroblasts repair it. This helps the tissue heal and grow, resulting in stronger muscles. Not only that, rest days allow your body to replenish it’s Glycogen stores (energy stores)






Signs you may need a rest day;

Sore muscles

Exhaustion

Pain

Emotional changes

Sleeping issues

Reduced performance


So how do we do rest days right….

Well, a rest day doesn’t mean sitting on the sofa all day and doing nothing! You can still get out for a walk, do some gentle stretching or even join a yoga class. I am a big believer in gentle movement, not only for your body but for your mind too. If the thought of not exercising worries you because you heavily rely on it for your mental health (many of us do!) then why not get out in nature and get your step count up.


Alternatively, you can join my online stretch class on a Monday lunch time at 12:15 for a full body 15 minute stretch session that you can do anywhere, whether you are in an office or working from home.







This is an easy topic for me to talk about. I absolutely LOVE spending time in nature and to combine my love for exercise and the outdoors is the absolute dream!


Studies of the so-called 'nature pill effect' suggest that your way to a healthier life could be boosted simply by getting out in the fresh air – walks in nature or working up a sweat doing some simple exercises in your local park.


From running outside to diving into lakes, our bodies and minds respond well to getting out into nature.


Working out in nature can seem daunting to many people and with anything in life, don’t over think it! Even just getting out for a daily walk is going to do your mental and physical health a whole lot of good.




Reasons why working out outdoors is better than working out in a gym

1. It’s a natural antidepressant. Outdoor exercise can help ward off seasonal affective disorder (SAD), depression and anxiety because sunshine naturally increases serotonin, a hormone that affects your mood. And exercise itself produces endorphins, another feel-good hormone that boosts your mood and reduces pain.

2. It’s free! All you need is some space and an exercise mat to get going.


3. You can turn it into a social outing! I would say the majority of my social life is working out with friends…. Followed by coffee, obviously!

4. Variety – variety is the spice of life!! I started sea swimming recently due to a running injury. I couldn’t bare the thought of not working out in nature so decided to take the plunge into the sea! I honestly had no idea how it would go… I love the sea, but I am also slightly scared of it. Sea swimming has become a big part of my life now, a challenge, a new hobby that I absolutely love and even better, I have made some new connections!

5, Enhanced Self-esteem. Research shows that as little as five minutes of outdoor exercise can improve self-esteem (Barton and Pretty, 2010). Any outdoor location will do, but being near greenery or water enhances this effect. Interestingly, low- to moderate-intensity physical activity shows greater improvements in self-esteem than high-intensity outdoor exercise. Activities shown to improve self-esteem include walking, cycling, horseback riding, fishing and gardening. A regular dose of outdoor activity can help boost the already powerful esteem-enhancing effect of exercise.


Put simply, getting outdoors is AMAZING for you. From natural light to breathing in fresh air, putting on an old pair of trainers and opening the front door could be the start of something transformational.

What are you waiting for… Stick on those trainers and get yourself out into the wild!


Gemma x