My students know that my philosophy of a comfortable, healthy pregnancy can be summed up in one word: movement. And I strive to embody this simple concept myself. My Fitbit confirms I walk a minimum of five miles daily and adds up my "active minutes." (Despite my aversion to the medical community over-quantifying things, I've become a little obsessed with counting each and every step. Thanks Fitbit!) However, movement is not the same as exercise and being "fit" does not necessarily mean our bodies are in optimal shape or pain-free. In our sedentary culture, we think we can make up for sitting all day long by going out for a quick run or a bike ride or an evening walk. Unfortunately, it just doesn't work that way. In the case of pregnancy, comfort is directly related to how much movement (not necessarily exercise) moms get. I've witnessed this on the regular with my lovely students!
During the summer, it's pretty easy for me to get more movement in my life. With kids out of school, we go outdoors together. A lot. Walking to the park, the grocery store, urban and nature adventures, sports...I encourage climbing, playing, exploring and lead by example- it's easy because it's fun! (Why should the kids be the only ones climbing trees!?) As they go back to school, and I know cooler weather is on it's way (although it may not seem like it with the recent heat wave), I'm thinking about how to keep up the level of movement. I figured it out yesterday at IKEA!
Kev and I have been on the hunt for a new couch and a few other things to spruce up the house, and with the kids first day of school, it seemed like a perfect time for him to take the day off and go with me to IKEA. We have a tradition of getting up super early on the first day of school to get bagels at Izzy's on Cal Ave, and then there was the back-to-school parent reception, so we didn't take our usual morning walk. Nevertheless, by the time we picked them up from school, we had racked up more steps, more burnt calories, logged more mileage than an average day. The movement itself was quite a bit more varied than our usual activity, too: operating those crazy carts with the wheels that turn all directions, lifting large heavy boxes, and a half hour plus of hoisting a boxed-up couch onto our roof rack and the task of two clueless people tying it down and praying it stayed for the ride home. (Somehow we are still married! And it did make it home...although IKEA may be out of rope now, lol.) At home, there was the unloading and starting the projects of rearranging the house. By the end of the day, I burnt about 500 more calories, had a total of 114 "active minutes" (Fitbit doesn't count active minutes until you have been stepping for at least 10 minutes, so I'm sure there were a ton more that were in shorter-increment spurts), and had over 14,000 steps compared to an average day- all with no "exercise"!
So of course, I'm not going to need a new couch for quite some time (although I'm going to need at least one or two more trips to IKEA before our project is done), and if you are expecting or have a new baby, I don't recommend hoisting a couch onto the roof of your car...but all of us can certainly hit IKEA on those days when the weather is bad. Or better yet, perhaps I can offer to accompany my pregnant mamas when they need a new couch! I'm only slightly joking. Try me. Then not only will I get the movement in, I'll rack up some karma points, too. You may have to get me a cinnamon bun in the checkout line, though.