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Written by: Whitney Knowles< Back to Articles
Lately it seems like there are more and more rodeo women expecting babies. I’m not sure if I am noticing it more now because I am pregnant or if there really is just something in the water! Being a fit and active person before pregnancy I had expectations that nothing would change. I thought that exercise during pregnancy would be a breeze and the high intensity workouts would be just as easy as before. (Boy did I have an eye opener!) It is unbelievable how much energy is used to grow another human being. Pre-pregnancy I felt great every day and generally had high energy. The first trimester changed that for me! I was so tired throughout the day and could hardly muster up enough energy to get through my workouts. I was winded so much faster and noticed my heart rate would increase much sooner than usual. My doctor explained to me in laymen terms that babies get their nutrients between each heart beat. So, in essence, I was feeling out of breathe because my body was purposely trying to get you to slow down and level my heart beat. Now that I am in the third trimester my doctor explained that the baby can press on your diaphragm which can also cause the similar feeling of being out of breathe.
According to most doctors you can do anything you did prior to pregnancy but should not start something new or vigorous if you weren’t doing it before. I continued my normal routine, mostly high intensity interval training routine and abdominal workouts. I quickly realized that I had to alter my exercise routine from a high intensity interval training to a more low intensity routine. I was also told I have diastasis recti, a condition where my abdominal muscles separated down the midline rather in order to make room for the growing baby. That meant all abdominal exercises were out of the question. No more sit-ups or crunches, as that could possibly make the separation worse.
I also noticed aches and pains starting in my lower back and hips due to physical changes that come with pregnancy.
I knew I had to listen to my body and find a routine to address these changes. This was quite an adjustment at first because I had to change my exercise habits and felt like I was reinventing the wheel! I am one of those “weird” people who love to exercise, not only because of physical benefits, but mental benefits. (I actually enjoy waking up at 4:30 AM to go do a yoga class.) I feel so much better, sleep better, and less stressed when I exercise. It took a few weeks to find the perfect routine but I found a great low intensity workout and stretches that fit perfectly with traveling and the busy life of a rodeo wife.
This is an excellent, low intensity, workout routine for anyone who is just wanting to start exercising. It allows you to keep a steady heart rate but still feel those post workout positive endorphins!
If you are pregnant, make sure you always consult with your physician prior to starting any new workouts or stretches.
I do something active every day. Instead of running, I now walk 1-2 miles or ride my spin bike for 15-20 minutes. These are low impact exercises that allow you to control the intensity. Along with these cardio exercises, I incorporate a training routine similar to this three times a week and stretch daily.
I prefer use light weight Dumbbells and a stability ball. Find a weight that allows you easily complete 12 repetitions without struggling. (Five to eight pound Dumbbells work great for me.)
2×12 Bicep Curls
2×12 Side Lunges
2×12 Front Lateral Raises
2×12 No weight, narrow stance, ball squat against a wall
2×12 Tricep Dips (Use your body weight and feel free to modify this exercise by bending your knees.)
2×12 Side Lateral Raises
2×12 Ball hip raises. Lay supine on the floor, put your arms out to the side and raise your hips slowly up and down.
End with these great hip mobility stretches or similar ones. Stretching your hips is so important! Having good range of motion in your hips allows your body to have full range of motion and reduce pressure on your lower back. I like to breathe deeply and hold each stretch for 5 breaths, releasing into a deeper stretch with each exhale.
Happy Baby stretch
Seated semi-straddle stretch
If you are headed out to my all time favorite rodeo this week… The one and only Pendleton Round-Up, make sure use your “cheat day” to try Pendleton’s famous Big John’s Pizza and most importantly, Let ‘er Buck!
That’s one Wild West show you won’t forget!
With love and gratitude,
Readers, I’d love to hear from you! Send me your number one challenge in staying on top of physical and environmental changes on the rodeo road and I’ll give you my advice. Contact me at: [email protected]
To watch videos of these exercises and more, follow @fitwhit5 on Instagram.