Exercise is an essential part of a healthy pregnancy. Well, that's what my husband keeps telling me. He's not wrong, though, and a regular exercise routine can help alleviate pregnancy discomforts, stress, and help prepare your body for childbirth. Certain types of exercise are a no-no, but a general rule of thumb is that if you did it before pregnancy, you can do it now. But what if you weren't so big on working out beforehand? I'm pleased to report that the following everyday activities totally count as exercise when you're pregnant, at least according to yours truly.
I've danced my whole life, so I'm not in terrible shape, but the idea of running or lifting weights sounds like a damn nightmare to me. That hasn't changed now that I have a kid, either. I'm not a "fit mom," and you won't catch me in anything resembling Stroller Strides or Baby Boot Camp. During my first pregnancy, I quit the only exercise I was doing (pole dance) because of my severe nausea and the risk of fall. I've been a little better this time around. I take a weekly level 1/2 pole fitness class that's fairly low impact and doesn't require inversions. Other than that, though, I'm not so much on the whole "exerting myself" thing.
As far as I'm concerned, growing human life is work, and it's hard on a body (hello, fatigue, my constant companion). Literally everything is more difficult when you're pregnant, so you might as well get credit for exercising any time you do anything on this list:
Making The Bed
Making the bed during pregnancy is a great work out... if you like getting winded by placing a throw pillow. If you're changing the whole shebang, then godspeed, my friend. In my opinion, putting on a fitted sheet is essentially an Olympic event. At least when you're done, you have a nice place to lie down and rest.
Strapping A Small Child Into The Car Seat
Or, as I like to call it, Greco-Roman wrestling. There's nothing like a child who doesn't want to go "bye-bye" when you're already late to your OB appointment to bring on the panic sweats. That five-point harness feels like 50 when you're buckling in a bucking bronco.
Running To The Bathroom
Frequent urination is often one of the first signs of pregnancy, which then comes back with a vengeance in the third trimester. It's one of those delightful hormonal perks that the second you think about peeing, you start going, resulting in multiple daily 100-meter dashes to the toilet.
Dressing A Toddler
You'd think the fact that the number of appendages matches the number of holes would help you out, but you'd be wrong. Honestly, by the time I get my 2-year-old daughter into her leotard and tutu, I've burned more calories than I do at the actual Mommy and Me dance class. I'd rather do a dozen Hokey-Pokeys than try to get a wiggly toddler into a pair of tights.
Going From Prone To Standing
Tying Your Shoes
I either just ran a half-marathon or managed to slide my swollen feet into my Toms. I'm not sure which. In my book, if you can reach around your belly to touch feet you can't see and successfully tie laces, you've just done a high intensity workout.
If no one helps you, you have to reach for items off high shelves, push a cart full of vittles, lift everything onto the belt at check out, and then load your car. Go ahead and skip your barre class. You've done enough.
According to the Mayo Clinic, sex during pregnancy is generally safe, so long as everything is progressing normally. If you're up for it (and it's totally OK if you're not), you get to consider it part of your fitness routine. Woot!
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.