More than 60 percent of U.S. women are overweight and more than one-third are obese, reports the National Center for Health Statistics of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. To combat such conditions, millions of moms practice yoga, Pilates and weight lifting to help them shed pounds and sculpt muscle mass. Learn what these exercises can offer you.
By Lindsey Radcliffe
The “Fit Mom” who wants to maintain
A Fit Mom can use a combination of workout methods to strengthen muscle, burn calories and maintain body flexibility and range of motion.
- Yoga: For the fit Mom, yoga’s biggest benefit may be peace of mind. Yoga burns some calories, but since it is not enough of a workout to keep off the weight, it’s best used as a complementary workout.
- Pilates: Pilates can help sculpt muscle tone and strengthen the body, but does not burn sufficient calories on its own. If you enjoy Pilates, continue to keep it a part of your aerobic exercise routine and use other forms of cardiovascular workouts and strength training to maintain.
- Weight Lifting: Already shapely Moms will need to lift more weights or do more reps to continue to challenge muscles. By building muscle, you’ll help your body burn more calories even while resting. Over time, this is key to helping maintain your healthy weight.
The Mom-to-Be who wants a healthy pregnancy
The health benefits of yoga, Pilates and strength training while pregnant are vast. Of course safety is first, so consult your physician before starting any new fitness regimes. Separated by activity, benefits include:
- Yoga: For expectant mothers, yoga helps with relaxation not only while practicing, but also in other aspects of your life. Learned methods can help ease your delivery, plus you can improve your flexibility, balance and muscle strength. There are a ton of yoga classes that cater to a pregnant woman’s physical changes. Another option is to ask a classic-style yoga instructor to modify yoga poses to accommodate your needs.
- Pilates: During pregnancy, strengthening your spine, pelvic floor and core is highly beneficial to expectant moms. If you decide to try Pilates, start slow; look into enrolling in beginner or prenatal Pilates classes or, if you prefer to practice alone, there are instructional Pilates videos you watch and follow at home.
- Weight Training: While it may seem counterintuitive for pregnant ladies to lift weights, it is in fact safe. Lifting now will help prepare your body for all the lifting you’ll be doing when baby comes.
The “Empty Nest” Mom who is getting back into shape
To moms who may have put fitness on the back burner to raise families: yoga, Pilates and/or strength training will get you back into shape in no time.
- Yoga: Yoga offers a gentle and fun way to begin building muscle mass and flexibility. Once you’ve mastered the basics in beginner classes, you can try more aerobic styles of yoga like Bikram or Power Yoga, to continue to challenge yourself.
- Pilates: Pilates offers benefits similar to yoga, albeit with more of a focus on gaining core strength than stretching and toning the whole body. Pilates can be used together with yoga for a complementary stretching and strengthening routine.
- Weight Training: Weight training can help to build muscle mass and stave off age-related muscle loss in women. Armed with a few sets of dumbbells, you can perform many weight training exercises from the comfort of home. According to Prevention, whole-body weight lifting can help women regain 5 to 10 years worth of muscle in a few months.
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s
What have you accepted in your life that took time, physically or mentally?
Getting my degree in counseling was very testing, but worth sleepless night of studying.
What do you appreciate about yourself and within your life?
I appreciate my god given gifts for helping others overcome obstacles in life. Seeing others flourish gives me great satisfaction.
What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What goals do you still have?
Being able to help families during times of crisis is the most rewarding thing. I would like to travel to other countries to help children in poverty and to help others.
What is your not-so-perfect way? What imperfections and quirks create your Identity?
I can be talkative at times, it would always get me in trouble at school when I was younger, but its helped me communicate with others at an older age.
How would you complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
LIFE…and all of the beautiful people who support me.
Lindsey Radcliffe – Marital counselor, Relationship blogger, Yoga enthusiast