Staying active during the coronavirus pandemic
Staying active but taking notice of your wellbeing
We are all trying to cope with changes to our routine, including how we eat and exercise to look after ourselves. There are many physical and mental benefits of being active during pregnancy. A surge of endorphins, or stress-relieving stretches, can help you feel good and even sleep better. But pressure from seeing what other mums are doing to keep fit and healthy on social media may be adding to your anxiety. The important thing is trying to be as active as you can, without comparing yourself to others. This might mean getting active in your living room with your kids, taking some time to go for a walk, or trying a pregnancy-safe indoor stretch. Remember, things like housework, running around after little ones and being on your feet are all small ways to keep yourself moving whilst at home.
"When everything around you feels out of control, doing something that you are in control of such as exercise can really help. It can give us a rush of endorphins that helps to lift our moods and give us a sense of normality in a world that feels far from it right now. Just doing a small amount of movement can really improve our mood so when you’re feeling a little low perhaps try to go on a walk or do a little workout in your house. It doesn’t have to be long but it will help."Charlie, mum-to-be and pre & postnatal trainer
Social distancing guidelines encourage you to exercise at home if possible. You can go outside to exercise, as long as you keep 2 metres apart from others who are not members of your household group. To can find out more about these changing guidelines on the UK Government website.
Sport England have launched a campaign to keep the nation active during the pandemic, encouraging people to Join the Movement in all kinds of weird and wonderful ways!
Exercising at home
If you feel able and ready, you can start exercising at any time during your pregnancy, but here are some things to keep in mind:
- Even if you’re used to being active, you may need to adapt your workouts as your bump gets bigger.
- Check with your doctor or midwife if you plan to start a new form of exercise.
- Always stop if something hurts, even if you’re used to being active.
- Avoid overheating.
- Drink plenty of water.
Begin with just 15 minutes of activity, and set a goal of increasing this gradually to 30 minutes. If you can’t manage this much exercise, don’t worry – and don’t be put off. Any amount of activity is great, including anything that makes your heart beat faster - even putting a little bit more effort into housework!
Riding a bike
Lots of people are choosing to go for bike rides while social distancing rules are in place.
Cycling is a great low-impact aerobic exercise. However, as your bump grows, your balance will change, which could mean you are more likely to fall off. If you’re used to cycling, you should be safe to carry on, but if you begin to feel less stable than usual it may be best to stay off your bike or switch to a stationary bike until after your baby is born.
Some ways that women are keeping active in the home
@girl_run_the_shire, getting active with her kids in the living room!
@StaceySolomon is dancing through her housework.
@bhteamuk in love with her exercise step, but you could easily use any steps you can find in the house or garden for a quick heart rate boost!
Home and online workouts
If you are already active and are perhaps missing the release of going to the gym for a workout, video or streamed workouts online can be great. It's important to be careful where you find the workouts, especially during pregnancy and post-partum. Find teachers that are accredited for pregnancy and postnatal and avoid exercises that are extremely high intensity.
If you are looking for a simple home workout to do in your home or garden, visit our Bumps and Burpees exercise page, where founder, Charlie, takes you through some simple circuits and stretches that are all suitable for pregnancy.
Please remember to take activity at your own pace and don't feel pressure from anyone else when it comes to handling this unprecedented situation. Wellbeing looks different for every person and will vary for you from day to day.
Nutritionist and new mum, Rhiannon Lambert, has done a fantastic podcast on this subject in her series Food for Thought, you can listen to the episode online.
We have more information about exercise during pregnancy.