Becoming a mama-to be has taught me so much more than I’ve ever known about radical self-acceptance. I’m a female athlete, but once I became pregnant, my body went through a lot of changes. I ran my last half marathon at 6 weeks pregnant, and my morning sickness hit the day after the race. It’s my first pregnancy so I thought I was iron deficient and went and got a half rack of ribs with my cousin and just stared at them on the plate—bad idea!
My hips expanded at 14 weeks and became so relaxed that any form of jogging, even power walking, gave me the worst SI joint pain to the point I was hobbling down the street just trying to walk Spunky.
With all the quick changes that pregnancy brought, I was forced to surrender to what my body reallyneeded at the time, and not just what I saw other mamas still doing. Just like we’re all in different phases of life, we’re all in different phases of pregnancy. (Of course, this only applies if you’re pregnant!)
With all the changes, I’ve found solace and safety in continuing my daily exercise, but that exercise has changed. I joined a gym with a saltwater pool, and started to swim per every person’s advice that, “swimming is the best thing you can do when you’re pregnant.” When I started swimming, I really didn’t understand what they meant when they said that. I was drinking mouthfuls of pool water, and found myself completely out of breath after 25 meters of freestyle swimming.
But it felt good. I wasn’t hobbling anymore, and my swimming mechanics were improving every time I got back in the pool, mainly because I’d watch the other swimmers and take notes on their strokes, kicks, breathing patterns, and how they used the strengthening pool props like fins, paddles and kickboards.
Every other day I swim, and the days I don’t swim, I am on a recumbent bike. I’ve found that the bikes with your legs stretched out in front of you is easier to make space for a pregnant belly than the ones where you have to crunch down to reach the handle bars. On my spin days, I do hip, lower back, and leg strengthening exercises to prevent any SI joint pain that comes with the territory of pregnancy, and I’ve been successful at staving off ALL of the hip and back pain that most pregnant women suffer from.
Matt and I just celebrated our 5thanniversary in the cozy beach town of St. Pete Beach. We decided to take our workouts to the beach, and I wanted to show you how I keep my legs, hips, and back strong, while entering the last trimester of pregnancy.
I’m not in the gym powerlifting or going crazy on leg exercises. I do about 15 minutes every other day of stretching and strengthening (moves that my chiropractor and my Mom, an athletic trainer, suggested) after I ride the bike. I’ve done enough hip and leg strengthening throughout this pregnancy, with consistency, that I’m actually able to jog for fun again!
Here are some easy moves you can do to relieve your SI Joint pain or prevent the pain from occurring, especially during pregnancy:
- Bridge hip raises. Raise your hips up and hold for three seconds. Lower slowly and repeat 12 times. Do two sets.
- 12 Regular lunges, 12 pulsing lunges, and a 12 second lunge hold without breaks. Repeat on other side. Do two sets.
- 12 Regular squats, 12 pulsing squats, and a 12 second squat hold without breaks. Do two sets. You can also hold your water bottle or hand towel straight out in front of you and pull the ends away from each other while you squat. This pulling engages your back muscles and arms while you’re activating your lower body.
- Crab walk side-to side. Squat low and stay low as you side step left 15 times. Walk right 15 steps.
Shake out your legs celebrate by walking it off!
You can easily incorporate these movements into any workout, including a morning or evening dog walk. Matt and I will do these together by completing one repetition at the beginning of our walk, and the second repetition later on when our legs feel strong again.
Head over to my IG stories archive under the folder “Move” to see these exercises on video. Shop the bikini on my IG with liketoknow.it.