Burned out from doing all of life virtually during the past year? Can’t do another online pregnancy work out? Can’t get motivated to work out alone? I get it. Challenges of working from home, caring for everyone in the family, as well as doing most of your daily activities at home over the past year can understandably sap your excitement for yet another virtual activity.
But even if you can’t attend your regular gym class or work out with friends, you know remaining active during pregnancy is a priority. OK, so even if you haven’t gotten your mat out or your walking shoes on in a month or two, there are a few things you can do to freshen your perspective and get your motivation back.
Fitness takes time - don't rush it
First, remember that just being active is the goal –go easy on yourself. You don’t need to maintain your pre-pregnancy cardio class or running routine to benefit from exercise. Changes in your body and shifting hormones may cause periods of fatigue. And some activities (such as exercises with an unstable center of gravity) may need to be modified during later pregnancy.
Think duration consistency, intensity when it comes to exercising
Set goals for frequent activity for shorter periods. If it has been a while since you exercised, start with 5 minutes a day and build up to 10 minutes three times a day, for a total of 30 minutes a day. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise a week for pregnant women1. Brisk walking, stationary biking, swimming and water workouts, and yoga or Pilates modified for pregnant women are excellent activities.
Women with high risk pregnancies or certain medical conditions should discuss exercise with their OB-GYN or Nurse Midwife, and all pregnant women should exercise safely.
Find an exercise that you enjoy doing
Secondly, do what you love. If you hate dragging out your mat, exercise ball and yoga blocks but you like the fresh air, just put on your sneakers and walk. Alternatively, if you dread going out in the weather today, hop on the stationary bike.
Allow yourself to be creative; not all exercise needs to be formal. Playing with children and walking the dog count as exercise. Make a game with yourself:
Check the steps you walked today on your fitness tracker or smart watch and set a goal for the next day. Reward yourself with a relaxing activity after meeting your goal. Rediscover an old passion, such as swimming, dancing or gardening in order to remain active.
Organizing and cleaning burns calories
In the third trimester, many women experience a strong desire to clean and organize, known the nesting instinct. As long as you use common sense in your activities, take advantage of this high energy time to not only be productive, but to improve your physical well-being. Washing windows, sweeping, and cleaning a tub qualify as moderate intensity activity according to the CDC.
Exercise with a friend
Lastly, get a buddy. Walking outdoors can be done safely with a friend or family member appropriately distanced. If you have children or teens, ask them to exercise with you or to cheer you on. Schedule an online work out session with a friend once in a while; this is a fun way to connect with those friends we can’t see in person right now.
Join an online pregnancy group to find a new friend who can empathize and encourage. If all else fails, remember that good selfcare, with healthy diet, rest and exercise, will benefit both you and your expected little one.
1. Exercise During Pregnancy. (2019, July). Retrieved February 14, 2021, from https://www.acog.org/
2. Exercise Don'ts When You're Pregnant. (2019, January 15). Retrieved February 14, 2021, from https://www.webmd.com/default.htm
Rebecca Mooney has been an adult nurse practitioner since 1996. She loves taking care of her patients, as well as writing about health and wellness topics. Her passion is the primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of disease through diet and exercise, with the addition of medical therapy only if needed. She resides in Baltimore MD with her family.