Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Exercise and Pregnancy

This morning I got out of bed, put on my shoes and went out for a run in the pouring rain.  I am nearing my third trimester of pregnancy, and I'm sure I was quite the freakshow to passers and driversby, but I don't think too much about that because I haven't taken a break from running since before I was pregnant--the gradual growing of my belly makes me forget its even there sometimes when I work out. It was wonderful and so refreshing compared to the heat I've been running in lately, and although my ponytail kept sticking to my shoulders, I am happy I made myself do it. Best way to start a day, in my opinion.

Second only to, "How are you feeling?" the question I've been asked most often lately is, "Are you really still running?"  The answer to the first question is, "Really great!" partially because the answer to the second question is, "Yep!" I'm running and dancing and swimming and walking my dogs and doing yoga. Every day.  Am I doing these activities as intensely and as quickly as I was in pre-pregnancy? No, but I'm still doing them because the Lord has given me this working, moving body and, in all honesty, I feel so much better when I've been consistently challenging my muscles and staying disciplined. I hurt more when I sit for too long--both physically and mentally.

When I reflect on how my workout routine has changed and grown in the past few years, I often find myself thinking about Paul explaining how he "beats his body" in discipline in the New Testament.  I think of daily exercise in this light, and I've learned that when I let myself slack off for significant periods of time, I find my self-esteem dropping and my drive to be disciplined to fight temptation in other areas less enthusiastic.

After I found out I was pregnant, I did a lot of reading and asked my doctor a lot of questions on exercise.  Most of my research told me I could keep doing what I was doing until it was uncomfortable,  and then I could keep doing it with appropriate modifications.  As long as the activity was part of my regular routine pre-pregnancy, I was cleared to continue working out.  I told myself it'd be pretty cool if I could keep running until the end of the first trimester.  When I hit that point, I thought, "Until I start showing, then." Based on the photos in this post alone, I think we can all agree I'm there. And as I close out this second trimester, I'm thinking it'd be pretty sweet if I kept moving for this many miles a day until I hit 30 weeks or so.  We'll see. :)

It's amazing what the body can do--the whole growing a human thing, especially, but running three plus miles a morning while doing so? Incredible! And I'm not claiming to be the most fit pregnant woman that ever was (NOT EVEN CLOSE--I just stuffed my face with a handful of chocolate covered raisins as I typed this paragraph), but I am claiming to see and feel the fruit in remaining disciplined and keeping your body strong for you and your babe.  And I do know that it's not possible for every pregnant woman to maintain an exercise routine because of risks and complications, and because of that I'm even more thankful Edie and I are currently healthy and able to go on these morning runs together.

Regular exercise combats the physical aches and pains that come with carrying a child.  It also fights off the crazies pregnancy gifts you in the form of surging hormones. I really do feel wonderful and I'd even say comfortable in my stretching skin because I know I'm doing what I can to grow my body around this baby at a slow, healthy pace.


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