This weekend I got to watch my idol Jessica Ennis compete in the long jump at the diamond league athletic games. I absolutely love Jess Ennis. We had amazing seats 5 rows from the front by the long jump pit. We could see the whole run up and jump and landing from where we were and got there early to see the warm up too. To me Jess Ennis is an amazing athlete, she trains hard and has overcome major injuries throughout her career. She comes across as a genuine person and has inspired so many people to take up sport. And to top it all off she has an amazing 6 pack. Lets face it we all dream of having abs like Jess Ennis. Do you have someone you are inspired by? Who motivates you? It doesn’t have to be a famous person or an athlete, anyone can be an inspiration or a role model, who is yours?
So if you know me well you will know I love squats and every class I teach always has squats in it. But let me tell you why they are even more important in pregnancy and labour.
1. The squat position puts the pelvic floor in optimum position to be functional, strong and flexible, making for an easier labour. Strong glutes strong pelvic floor.
2. Squats strengthen the quads to help withstand increase weight as baby grows.
3. During labour squatting increases the pelvic outlet by 15%.
4. Relieves back pain during labour and pregnancy, strong glutes also equal strong lower back.
5. Shortens second stage of labour.
6. Increases the strength of contractions.
7. Reduces the need for forceps delivery because the birthing canal is shortened and gravity helps the baby descend.
To perform the perfect squat check it out here.
Ok, it may not feel like it at the time when you’re struggling with your last reps or last mile but its true, exercise makes you happy.
Exercise releases the hormone serotonin, serotonin is the happy hormone which enhances feelings of well being and elevates mood, low levels of serotonin are associated with depression where as high levels improve happiness and mood. Exercise has been found to increase the rate and frequency at which serotonin is fired in the brain which in turn leads to an increase in the release and the synthesis of serotonin. The increase in release of the hormone elevates our mood making us feel happier.
Researchers have found that aerobic exercise increases the release of serotonin more than resistance training and 3 hours per week is enough to achieve an increase in the hormone levels. The 3 hours per week can be split into hour blocks, half hour blocks or 10 minute blocks over the week to achieve the increase in serotonin.
Serotonin is also influenced by sunlight and diet so taking your workout outdoors will give an extra boost of serotonin.
Keep exercising, keep smiling!
The best exercise you can do to help reduce swelling of the ankles and the foot during pregnancy is the pilates foot pedals. Foot pedals help to pump blood back up the legs towards the heart from the foot and ankles throughout the movement. Check out the video below to see how to do it.