Physical activity is defined as the any body movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure. This definition sounds boring and scientific doesn’t it? Well, its no wonder people are not breaking down the door to get their workout on. Physical activity needs to be redefined to entice people of all ages to get their bodies moving.
What if we used language like:
Physical activity is defined as any body movement that let’s you get your groove on; feel sexy; builds your confidence and self-image; relaxes your mind; reduces tension; and improves sleep.
Doesn’t that sound more interesting? Now what if we targeted a specific population, pre/postnatal moms perhaps, and tweaked the language just a bit more. Physical activity is defined as any body movement that let’s you feel relaxed; gives you more energy to take care of your baby; improves your self-image; reduces postpartum depression; increases your level of energy; and helps your body get into shape after pregnancy.
The bottom line here is we need to begin thinking about physical activity as a prescription for better health and overall well-being. It needs to be a conversation incorporated into every prenatal care providers visit and the work of birthing professionals including: childbirth educators; doulas; perinatal fitness experts; and breastfeeding educators/counselors. Birthing professionals and prenatal care providers are doing women a disservice by not initiating this conversation. Not sure where to begin? An excellent resource is the Exercise is Medicine website at http://www.exerciseismedicine.org This website provides some tips and far reaching ideas on how to do this work.
As you work with moms consider how you can be proactive in bringing up this conversation. Add this question to your registration form: how many hours did you spend being physically active last week (exercise, soccer, gardening, house cleaning, washing the car, etc…). Use this as baseline data and as you go forward teach women how to get at least three 10minutes blocks of exercise three times per day. Work with a locally certified perinatal fitness professional who can incorporate fitness into your work with clients, or teach you how. The possibilities are endless. Check back soon as I’m committed to helping you to walk through this process. With your help I’d love to see every pregnant woman getting her 150 minutes of physical activity every week.