What cardiovascular (CV) exercise is best and safest during pregnancy and why should I bother?!

You may well be feeling a bit pukey and/or constipated (the delights of pregnancy) if you are still in trimester 1, but hopefully that will start to getting better over the next couple of weeks. This feature is all about cardiovascular exercise. If you can face some it may well help ease those pesky pregnancy symptoms.

Cardio exercise is important for keeping your heart and lungs fit and healthy. You’ll need a good level of fitness and endurance for labour (one of the most demanding things your body will ever go through!) and looking after a new baby and the rest of the family (and yourself of course!) Why would you NOT want to improve your cardio fitness?


12 postnatal fit ball exercises for mums

In the same way that fit/gym/swiss balls (they have many names!) are great to exercise with during pregnancy they are perfect for new mums, particularly in the weeks and months following childbirth when you are gradually regaining your strength and fitness.

Your deep core muscles, back, surface abs and pelvic floor may all be weakened by pregnancy and childbirth and working out with the ball is perfect to aid their recovery. This is because anything you do on the ball is going to require you to balance and stabilise yourself using your deep abdominal muscles (or TVA – Transversus abdominis). You can also do a huge variety of exercises with a gym ball (especially if you also have a set of dumbbells) to work your whole body and keep your workouts interesting!

Check out my postnatal gym ball workout – 12 exercises to work your whole body:


Enjoy! x

Olympic women are great body role models

How refreshing to turn on the TV and see these natural, healthy, super-fit beauties as an antidote to all those perma-tanned, fake, vacuous celebs that we a usually bombarded with?!

Having a young daughter I am very conscious of the pressure on women (and young girls unfortunately) to look ‘perfect’. This is often accompanied by the desire to be famous despite lacking any talent.

These accomplished sportswomen are much better role models – dedicated, hard working, healthy and fit. I will put these women up alongside those that are successful in other disciplines as aspirational figures for my daughter. If only we didn’t have to compete with the media!

She might not even like sports, and that’s ok too, I hated PE at school and didn’t get into fitness until later on. As long as she is happy in her own skin and doesn’t feel those pressures to look like a clone and has her own ambitions and individuality I would have done my job ok.

Research published in the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine

Here is more evidence that exercise and a healthy diet during pregnancy are beneficial to both mum and baby.

Click here to view the article

In summary: Low or moderate exercise and healthy eating habits markedly decrease the likelihood of excessive gestational weight gain, according to research published in the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine. This study, in the August edition of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®, demonstrates that a prenatal Nutrition and Exercise Lifestyle Intervention Program, called the NELIP, was successful in preventing excessive gestational weight gain and reducing postpartum weight retention in women who were of normal weight prior to pregnancy.

A quote from the study:

“Women benefit greatly from being active throughout their pregnancies and physical activity is strongly recommended by professional organizations. However, most pregnant women remain inactive and this may be contributing to excessive gestational weight gain, which is associated with an increased risk for future obesity in both the mother and offspring,” said lead author Stephanie-May Ruchat, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Western Ontario. “Myths about nutrition in pregnancy can also be misleading. For example, mothers-to-be should be warned that ‘eating for two’ does not mean they need to eat twice as much but that they should eat twice as healthy. An increase of only 200 to 500 kilocalories per day in the second and third trimester is recommended, depending on the body mass index of the women prior to pregnancy (the heavier the woman is, the fewer extra calories per day she will need during pregnancy).”

Evidence is growing all the time. I hope this ever growing bank of positive research can start to give women across the world confidence and motivation to stay fit and healthy and not gain too much excess weight during pregnancy.


New mums all lose their baby weight at different rates

I am all about health and fitness during pregnancy and for new mums, but there is no escaping the fact that we are all built differently and our bodies will grow and change and adapt to carrying a baby in different ways.

Some girls have tiny bumps, other are big all over. Some will be left with a huge tummy and some will be left with a wobbly bum. Some will be left with hardly any weight at all!

My advice would be to exercise during pregnancy, particularly keeping your core strong, other muscles fit and toned and heart and lungs fit and healthy with cardio exercise. Also, to not eat excessively, just consuming a couple of hundred extra calories a day in the last trimester (and a bit more if you are exercising). That way, however your body responds you have the best possible chance of losing your baby weight quickly. If you do nothing at all during pregnancy you are probably going to have a harder time getting back into shape afterwards.

This is aside from all the amazing benefits this will bring you and your baby, compared to inactive and overweight mums.

Personally I think she looks amazing now and she is absolutely right not to model herself on anyone else. For the record I also think Amanda Holden looks incredible and I’m not sure that ‘it’s in her genes’ as Jodie says. I bet she did lots of clever exercise throughout her pregnancy and as soon as she could afterwards – you don’t get results like that by magic!

Lets not try to be like anyone else and be happy and healthy in our own skins.