Mother and author Hope Dworaczyk Smith lifts dumbbells

Fitness for All Bodies — Especially Pregnant Ones

Body’s come in all different sizes, shapes, and states — each as beautiful and valuable as the next — but no matter the body, all have a single common need: Activity.
The CDC recommends adults get 150 minutes of “moderate-intensity aerobic activity” a week. That activity can range from a brisk walk to riding a bike, or even pushing a lawn mower (yeah, really!). The aim is the same for each type of exercise: to give your body time away from the sedentary lures of the office chair or couch.
Women are aware that sometimes our bodies are not always in a state that makes physical activity simple. For example, what if you’re pregnant?
For Hope Smith, physical activity is a key aspect of her day-to-day life, and having gone through multiple pregnancies she understands the importance of maintaining a light exercise routine even when your body is already working overtime.
Illustration of a pregnant woman walking a dog
In conjunction with Hope’s book on pregnancy and motherhood, “Your Body Is Magic,” which has a section dedicated to personal fitness with help from expert Brooke Cates, we wanted to highlight the importance of moving and some tips to doing so. No matter the state of your body.

Movement: Why It’s Important

We’re meant to move, but as technology and society have progressed, our tendency to sit during the day has reached never before seen heights.
According to Andrew Jagim, Ph.D. in an article for the Mayo Clinic, we have made sitting the norm, even while we understand that too much of it can lead to a handful of physical and mental ailments including back pain or even depression.
The great thing about finding the time to fit in regular movement is not just avoiding the potential negatives of a sedentary lifestyle — the benefits are even more attractive. Getting moving helps us achieve:
  • Happier mindset and less stress
  • Improved immune system
  • Maintained bone health — in the words of singer, Maren Morris, “The house don’t fall when the bones are good
  • Sharper brain performance
  • Stronger sex drive (seriously!)

Making the Move: Tips to Fitting in Some Fitness

While the CDC recommends 150 minutes (or 2.5 hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week for adults, the way you achieve that number has no restrictions. Whether you like to spend a few afternoons a week walking, or finding 15-minute windows each day to squeeze in some simple yoga poses, you can find a routine or schedule that works for you.
Just like your freedom to move according to your own schedule, there isn’t one way to get moving, and it certainly doesn’t have to be at a crowded gym. Here are a few ways to put your time in on your own terms:
  • Phone call from your friend? — Walk around the house while you chit chat
  • Weeds starting to overtake your flower bed? — Get outside and garden
  • Streaming a new murder mystery? — Watch an episode or two while walking on the treadmill
  • Just came across a new favorite song? — Turn it up and dance
  • Want to get together with a friend? — Skip sitting with lattes and go for a walk
  • At the grocery store? — Trade the cart in for a basket to tone those arms
  • Kids feeling a bit restless? — Turn back the clock and have a little playtime at the park
The possibilities really are endless, and as you can see from the list, the way you get moving doesn’t matter — just do YOU!

Exercising While Expecting

Hope’s book, “Your Body Is Magic,” focuses on all things pregnancy, from navigating your mental wellbeing to planning healthy food with delicious recipes. The book also features insight from experts, like personal trainer and pre and postnatal corrective exercise specialist, Brooke Cates, who offers fitness routines to keep you active during pregnancy.
Brooke, a mother herself, created The Bloom Method an online super-resource of over 350 on demand pre- and postnatal fitness classes.

“You are the CEO of your body,” says Brooke, “Memorize it, write it down, put it on your vision board, whatever you do just don't forget it!”

-Brook Cates, personal trainer and “Your Body is Magic” contributor
Brooke and Hope’s focus on activity during pregnancy is important because of the potential benefits that come along with it. Pregnant women who find the time to be physically active can experience less fatigue, improve the quality of their sleep, lower the chances of problems during delivery, and find the road to post birth recovery a little bit shorter.
Just like exercising while not pregnant, the way you get moving is less important than the amount of time you spend doing it. The key difference though is there are a few activities that you should avoid while expecting (and as always, check with your medical team before starting major fitness routines while pregnant).
While expecting, skip:
  • Hot yoga, or outdoor exercise on hot and humid days
  • Contact sports or exercises
  • Any exercise that requires lying on your back for an extended period of time (especially after the first trimester)
  • Activities that poses a high risk of falling (like skiing or snowboarding)
Just like the uniqueness of each and every person’s body, not all pregnancies are the same, and before committing to any exercise routine check with your doctor and make sure to get their sign off.

Making Moves Your Own Way

The best way to incorporate exercise into your routine is to start small, and find times and activities that work for you! It also doesn’t require the help of a personal trainer, something that isn’t always feasible for all people — YouTube and Instagram can be a great place to browse and find inspiration for how you can get moving. Check out Brooke’s Bloom Method Instagram feed for more pregnancy fitness tips, including a free week to get you started!
Read more about Hope Smith’s debut book “Your Body Is Magic”, which launched on Tuesday, March 8th, 2022, and grab your own copy. Also be sure to follow the “Your Body Is Magic” Instagram account!