Working Out, Sort Of

Pregnancy and Diabetes Blog

Working Out, Sort Of

Before I became pregnant, I enjoyed being involved with various competitive sports including softball, flag football, and volleyball.  But I need to take things a little easier now for the baby, so I have to cut out anything that involves physical contact.  I have also been informed by my doctor that I need to keep my heart rate below 140 beats per minute (bpm), and that means I have to give up one of my favorite forms of cardio--spinning.  Exercise is an extremely important part of diabetes management, so I need to keep up some sort of routine to keep my blood sugars in check. 


When I was in the trenches of the first trimester, I could hardly think about working out without getting exhausted.  Admittedly, I did not work out for the first two months I was pregnant because the process of building a tiny baby made me want to nap constantly.   I would consider the most mundane task as a workout, like going grocery shopping, cleaning the floors, or walking up the stairs at work.  I managed to get in a few walks around the neighborhood as a more structured workout, but most of the time I would snooze on the couch for an hour after work. 


Now that I am in the second trimester, I have a lot more energy and can attempt a half hour at the gym.  So the first time I went to the gym with my pregnant self, I tried what I thought was a simple routine on the elliptical.  However, it was proving to be difficult to keep my heart rate below 140 bpm.  I was doing this dance where I would go above 140 bpm, and I would back off of my intensity.  But the machine thought I wasn't pushing myself enough, so it would display the message "Go faster."  Excuse me, Mr. Machine, but I'm following doctor's orders here.  Needless to say, I left the gym feeling more frustrated and tense than like I had burned some stress. 


It became obvious to me that I cannot stick to the same workout regimen that I had before I was pregnant.  I need to do what is best for my body and baby for the next six months.  So I am looking into some prenatal yoga classes to keep up my flexibility and get my muscles used to my expanding body.  As for cardio, I found that I really like going for walks outdoors more than anything.  My husband and I went camping a few weeks ago, and I thoroughly enjoyed the five mile hike we endured in the autumn air.  Between some power walking and flexible strength training, I believe I can keep an active body while keeping my baby safe. 


Pregnancy requires a lot of sacrifice out of your body.  So far, I have given up deli meats, coffee, and any form of raw meat.  I never thought that I would have to scale back on some exercises that I enjoy while I am building a baby.  I look forward to when my son or daughter can join me on the bike trails, and we can share our bruises and scrapes.  Although, I am enjoying the slower pace of my workouts and not correcting for as many lows afterward.  Perhaps this won't be as hard as I thought.