“Cross–country skiing is an excellent cardiovascular exercise to practice during pregnancy for all women. It causes very little impact on the joints and there is minimal risk of falling. It is also a great activity for beginners, however, you should still be careful and avoid steep slopes.
Finally! A recommended activity while pregnant. Is it just me or have you also heard a lot of people question your physical activity while pregnant?
“Should you be doing that?”
“Are you sure that’s safe?”
“You should be careful….”
“Aren’t you pregnant?”
Not only is the list of foods I can eat dramatically decreased, now my physical activity? I have been highly active for my entire life. From school level sports, organized sports, gym workouts to outdoor activities – I feel like I have not sat still in 28 years! This is a great thing, I haven’t sat still because being active makes me feel happy and healthy. Isn’t that what I want to give my baby?
“The #1 ingredient for a happy baby isn’t breast milk, it’s a healthy and happy mom”
The moment you become pregnant you become a mom, you don’t have to physically give birth to be a mom. If you have sacrificed anything at all, you have already assumed the role. So, let’s get you pregnant moms, active and healthy!! Let’s take a look at why cross-country skiing is so beneficial during your entire pregnancy:
- An excellent aerobic workout No single muscle group is being targeted. You are using all your muscles in a “push and pull” motion to glide across the groomed terrain, therefore, having a complete body workout without the strain and discomfort!
- Maintaining an elevated heart rate This activity can help improve your cardiovascular health by helping to strengthen and improve blood circulation throughout your entire body. One of the best ways to lower your risk of blood clots during pregnancy is to exercise regularly. Often your circulation will not reach your toes therefore causing swelling in the feet and legs.
- A stress buster Whether you think you need it or not, getting out into some crisp winter air, surrounded by the fresh smell of evergreen trees, will dramatically reduce your stress levels. It will allow you to refresh from the day or start the day off right if you’re an early riser.
- Feel in control of your body again Often all these rules, restrictions and limitations have left me feeling like I have lost my sense of self. Having a hard time putting on my socks, dropping something on the floor knowing I’m going to have to pick it up…… very irritating. But doing an activity that is easy on my body, makes me feel good and back to normal, it makes me feel like I am not sacrificing my entire self, just a small part 🙂
- Helps reduce lactic acid Lactic acid build-up in the muscles can cause severe pain and cramping. This build-up normally occurs during strenuous physical activity or in our case, your body trying to grow a human in it (which IS actually a strenuous physical activity HA)! Cross-country skiing can help get the body ready for upcoming challenging tasks while reducing the build-up of lactic acid. In the second trimester 18-24 weeks, you can start to develop leg cramps which can continue to occur right through to childbirth. The most common cause of this is lactic acid build up. Drinking lots of water also helps reduce these levels.
- Increases your core muscles indirectly: Because this is a full body work out, your connection between your upper and lower body is your core. Without directly doing “ab workouts” you are strengthening your stomach muscles and engaging your core. A strong core can also alleviate the pressure that carrying a baby puts on your back and support proper posture to fend off the lower-back pain. Postnatal, your pelvic floor muscles, the base of your core that supports your bladder, uterus, and rectum, may be lengthened and weakened. A strong core allows for a stronger and faster recovery.
- Winters are long and depressing: This applies to everyone, not just pregnant women. Winters can play havoc on your moods and ambitions, often in countries such as Canada, people are at a higher risk for seasonal depression. Skiing is a good way to get outside and still stay warm. Because of the full body motion, it doesn’t take long to feel hot and sweaty so don’t let those negative temperatures deter you. The fresh air will boost your spirits and break up those long days being stuck inside.
“Staying active during pregnancy is good for you and your baby. Exercising while pregnant is no longer taboo. In fact, physical activity during pregnancy is not just accepted, it is encouraged. With a doctor’s permission, expectant mothers can and should exercise to improve health and feel better during pregnancy“
I could continue to go on and on about why this is good for you but I think you understand my message. I truly believe in the “airplane theory” of putting your own mask on before being able to help someone else. I know in previous generations this was very frowned upon – your child comes first no matter what and everything else, yourself included, second. While I do completely understand this, I do believe us mommy’s need mommy time as well. Time to recuperate, take care of yourself, do the things you love, exercise, de-stress, in order to be happy and healthy! Cross-country skiing is an activity you can enjoy throughout your entire pregnancy as long as you are sticking to trails that are within your ability levels. If you are new, find a circuit at a golf course or find a trail map you can stick to, an easy route to avoid falling. The best part about taking up cross country skiing is there are a few products on the market that allow a “chariot style” towing system for you to take your baby along until they are able to ski solo!
Please note that this is not to encourage any women with a difficult pregnancy to exercise or go against the doctor’s recommendations. This is a message for women with routine pregnancy that are looking for ways to get active safely! I definitely recommend asking your doctor if this, or any activity is ok before proceeding.