Monday, January 13, 2014

Stretching it out - anytime, anywhere!

Having just started my adventures with changing my lifestyle to a healthier one (even though at the point where I was at, anything was healthier than eating at McDonald's for breakfast, lunch and dinner) and getting fit and active, I went into my pregnancy knowing that I wanted to keep up with everything that I had learned and had been doing the past months.
Of course, that was the plan.  Who knew the power of wanting to eat.ALL.the.THINGS!  
I eat my feelings.  And pregnancy hormones did NOT help!
 
I know I've mentioned this a bunch of times that I had higher hopes for my eating habits during pregnancy and they went out the window and I'm not entirely sure why.  I mean, I guess I could fall back on the whole pregnancy and slave to cravings approach, but a lot of the time, I wonder if I didn't just take advantage of the "excuse" to go back to my poor eating choice ways.
I am hoping that what I lacked in food choices I made up for in exercise as I tried very hard to ensure that I stayed active - at least after that first trimester of lazy/insane tiredness.  
Unfortunately, my pregnancy fitness hopes and dreams seemed to take a nosedive once I hit the 35 - 36 week mark.  Everything just seemed so much harder and required more effort - including breathing!  And I'm not only talking about hitting the 5k mark (oh, who am I kidding, it was a struggle just to maintain the 3k I was doing) and with it being my first pregnancy, little twinges here and there were common and while I tried to ignore them or maintain that they were normal twinges, I was still of the first-time mama paranoia that after that point, I pretty much just ceased all forms of exercise.  Unless you count flailing my arms and legs while on my back like a beached whale when trying to get up and out of bed every morning - then at least I'd have that for exercise - or walking up and down EVERY.SINGLE.AISLE at Target to make sure I don't miss anything for over an hour...does that count as exercise?

Even though I don't have any previous pregnancies to compare it to, I know that being active during the pregnancy has probably helped me in more ways than I know how and sometimes I get kind of down on myself for stopping now and letting my little complaints and excuses get to me.  Does it help if I promise for my next pregnancy that I'll push a little bit harder?  Is it bad that I comfort myself by telling myself that pre-lifestyle change, I wouldn't have done ANYTHING and would have stuffed everything into my mouth anyway?  So...win-win?  No?
CONFESSION: Currently, I have gained 40 lbs during my pregnancy which I have conflicting feelings about (of course - when do I not?)
However, in the absence of my woggling/waffling and other heart-rate increasing activities, I have been doing a lot more stretching as I'm noticing that the further into this pregnancy I get, I am not actually immune to the other pregnancy complaints that I've heard other people mention.
Note: I'm not saying that having an active/healthy lifestyle will make your pregnancy symptom-free, I can only just guess that it definitely didn't hurt to have anod I'm hoping that it at least contributed to the overall positive pregnancy I experienced.
Earlier on, I tried buying a prenatal yoga DVD since I've found success with other DVD programs, but...well, it's yoga.  I have a hard enough time taking it seriously (depending on the class and instructor) in real life, so being at home with typical tinkly new age music and a soft, lilting yoga instructor voice breathlessly urging me to release energy through the tips of my toes just wasn't going to happen.
CONFESSION: I don't think that about ALL yoga classes.  I have actually enjoyed some really GOOD yoga experiences, but I've noticed for myself, there's a fine line between being in tune with yourself and wanting to burst out laughing when I'm encouraged to release sunshine bursts of energy through my knees, because how? #sorrynotsorry?
Luckily, I found Knocked-Up Fitness through Instagram and her website, blog posts and tips have been enough to help me out in what I was looking for.  
Because I am prone to sit for long periods of time, I've noticed that anytime I find myself sitting, getting up is difficult to do not only because of the extra weight that being 39 weeks along has gotten me, but because everything seems to have stiffened up.  Most notably, my lower back, hips/pelvis and thighs.
I don't set aside any actual special time to do any stretches or exercises, but I find myself doing them in the weirdest times and places, ie. shower, kitchen while cooking, in the driveway after getting out of the car, in the aisles at Target
CONFESSION: This makes my bill astronomical as I've been known to come out wrinkly and prune-y *LOL* TMI? 
Since my back is usually the first to make itself known to me, I usually start with "toe touches".  Just bending over and reaching out as far as I can to touch my toes helps stretch things out quite nicely.  Depending on where I am and how much space I have, once I've done a few "toe touches" (because let's face it, I bent down once and didn't even recognize my own feet - actually coming close to touching them is non-existent), getting down on all fours and doing back arches always feels good.  I've since learned that these are called Cat Cows?! (because why? I have no idea)
It's hard for me to get up from any kind of seated or lower positions so these days, most of the stretches and moves that I do are standing.  Apparently trying to get up while grunting, panting and sweating is NOT at all attractive.
The last couple moves that I usually end up doing before the day is over are some hip openers (I don't know if that's actually what they are but that's what I call them) and I don't have a picture or video of it right now, so I'll see if I can explain it to you and you can pretend you totally get what I'm saying:
Stand with your left or right side to the wall (you will alternate after so it doesn't really matter) using the wall to hold yourself up and steady.  I like to start by bringing my knee (the one that's farthest from the wall) up and forward in front of me and then circling that knee out to the side and downwards - so at the end it, you've technically drawn a "circle" in the air with your knee.  I like it because I feel like it helps loosen and open the hips and pelvis area.  To work the other leg, you would just turn around and use your other hand to hold yourself steady against the wall and repeat the same step with your other knee.  I usually do a few rotations on each side and I find that that helps loosen things up quite nicely.
The last is my "drop it anywhere squat".  Which basically means, no matter where I am or what I'm doing, if I get the idea into my head, I'll go ahead and do a couple squats.  And yes it looks weird if you're doing them in the cereal box aisle at Target and someone comes around the corner and tries to go down the same aisle and you have to squat all the way down to pretend you were trying to get a box of cereal from the lowest shelf.  While my plan is to never squat my baby into existence, doing squats on the regular as helped me open up the hips and pelvis (probably - again, I can't say I'm the most knowledgeable about these things, I can only tell you what it feels like to me) and I'm hoping it'll help pave the way for me to get back to the pre-pregnancy butt. #soshallow
And look-y here!  In the midst of this blog post, I managed to guilt myself enough by talking about how I feel like I could have done more and actually went out to the track with Tara to get a brisk walk in!
Three days until due date and I'm wafflin' away (more walk than shuffle, though :S)

CONFESSION: And then I promptly went home and curled up in my complicated Snoogle/three pillow nest and passed out.

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