foto friday: cycling at 36 weeks pregnant
36 weeks. Wow, when did that happen? I’m actually closer to 37 weeks now as I type this, meaning that there are only about 3 weeks left until we get to meet this little one. So exciting!
In terms of cycling and staying fit this past week, it’s been a good week of balance. I rode my bike on a number of occasions, mostly taking short (no more than 5 miles round trip) rides to nearby destinations. Today, however, I already rode just over 5 miles this morning and I’d like to take one more bike ride before this evening, which would put me at around a 10 mile total for the day. This would be by far the most bike-intensive day I’ve had this week.
(If you’re wondering how I know exactly how much I’m cycling, it’s because I’ve reattached my bike computer to my bike as I’ve been increasingly curious to see how much I’m riding these days).
But like I said, it’s been a week of balance more than of long rides. I attended my prenatal water aerobics class twice and I went to prenatal yoga once. I walked my dog a couple of times and I started – and this is big for me – doing some of my yoga stretches at home in the evening. All in all, a good mix of a variety of activities that have left me feeling surprisingly good and mobile.
I mentioned this before, but it bears being said again: One of the things that I’ve come to really appreciate from this pregnancy, and that I will take with me long after my body has (hopefully) resumed to its normal state, is the habit of mixing things up. Before being pregnant, I was a runner. And I ran a ton of miles and never felt like doing anything but running. Then I discovered cycling, but I did that mostly for transportation and running remained my main mode of exercise and meditation.
Running, as you can guess, was the first thing to go once I got pregnant. I managed to shuffle on until about mid second trimester and then I stopped. That feels like ages ago to me now. I would have gone crazy had that been the end of my exercise and fitness routine. Being forced to look for gentler and more pregnancy appropriate ways to stay healthy has turned out to be the best thing that’s happened to me during these past months (well, other than this baby, of course). I thought I was being healthy and fit by being such a dedicated runner, but I’ve felt so much better (physically and psychologically) since varying my routine and including activities that make me move (cycling, swimming) with others that make me focus on stretching, lenghtening my muscles, and turning inward (yoga).
The meditative aspect of yoga has also made me feel increasingly ready for the birth. And my midwife notes that the physical aspects of cycling, walking, and swimming will have me well prepared for laboring. My husband and I met with her on Tuesday this week and we specifically discussed that I’m still riding my bike, to which I got an unreserved ‘thumbs up’ to proceed.
According to my midwife, since I’ve been riding my bike on a regular basis all throughout my pregnancy, there is no reason to stop now. My body is used to this type of activity and it doesn’t come as a shock to the system. So if you’re pregnant, make sure to consult with your medical care provider to see what it appropriate for you to be doing. But ask about your options and look for community classes (prenatal yoga, prenatal anything…) and take full advantage of your options in staying healthy and fit during this time.
If you feel good and are not dealing with complications that cause you to be on bed rest or to take it easy physically, I highly recommend searching for your (prenatal) options in your community and maintaining a regular exercise routine that can help you transition through the months.
And besides helping me stay active, the prenatal community groups I’ve found have led me to meet a bunch of really wonderful soon-t0-be moms and some really great new friends. So what came of me being forced to abandon something I loved and having to find something other than running? A newfound appreciation of the many ways to engage my body and mind along with a new group of friends with similar interests and in a similar place in life. All in all, not a bad trade.