Archive for the 'Athlete' Category

Walking is as good as Running, maybe Better

New research out by the Life Science Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory discovered that walking is one of the best things you can do for your body, sometimes even better than running. This is good news for many expecting women and new mothers who are looking for a form of exercise that is safe and easy to do with their constantly changing bodies.

The study showed that while walking can be less vigorous than running, if you expend the same energy walking as you did running (this means you would have to walk vigorously and for a longer period of time than you would run for the same effect), you could potentially affect even more positive health changes than running for reducing blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, diabetes risk and cardiovascular heart disease. In fact, the more you walk, the greater the benefit.

For many pregnant women, running is no longer a safe or comfortable exercise option as ligaments are loser during pregnancy along with increased weight and a shifting center of gravity which throws off balance. Running is also not doable for most women postpartum as your body is still healing and vigorous exercise in general is not recommended in the early weeks and even months following delivery. Running is particularly unadvisable for nursing moms who may suddenly have a heavy milk supply and a fuller chest. Tight sports bras are not a good choice as they can cause clogged ducts and mastitis. Walking, however, is an excellent way to ease back into exercise without hurting yourself while also allowing you some bonding time with your baby outdoors. Pushing a stroller while walking gives you the added strength and cardio workout that is even better exercise than walking alone.

The study noted that to achieve the full benefits walking you need to clock in 10,000 steps a day. The good news is that these steps can be spread over the course of the day and you will probably find many of your day to day chores, errands and daily activities can expend up to half of that step requirement. However, if you are not used to walking this much, you should start slowly and gradually build up to this amount as you are safely able to do so. Also, make sure you invest in a good pair of walking or cross training shoes with adequate support for your joints to lessen the impact. Proper athletic shoes will help you avoid injury and comfortably walk further. (Please note that 10,000 steps of vigorous walking while pregnant should only be done with your doctor’s ok, and not for those who are early weeks postpartum.)

Pregnancy is a great time to make positive changes in your health and fitness routines for life. You will need the stamina not only for labor when you deliver your baby in the coming months but also for caring for your newborn which can be a marathon in itself. So if you are not on bed rest and you are in good enough health to slip on your walking shoes, look into clocking a few more steps into your daily routine. Also don’t forget to hydrate frequently and avoid getting overheated by taking breaks as needed. Happy walking!

Selfies of Uber-fit Moms who show off bodies after Birth are Selfish

Personally I am tired of these moms coming out of anonymity to show off post baby ultra-fit bodies by posting selfies on Facebook while scantily clad to put the rest of us normal people to shame. Really, is there not any decorum and decency left? Of course I say “good to you” if you can find the time, means and let’s not kid ourselves, genes, to drop all your baby weight in mere days after giving birth and reveal something like a set of six pack abs. But in my opinion these photos reveal more about vanity than muscles.

However it does give me pause to wonder if they are forgetting about the baby or were more focused on their own body weight than a healthy pregnancy. If you are nursing postpartum, which is a fulltime job in itself, you should be consuming an additional 500 calories a day for a total of approximately 2500 calories a day to support milk production.

Many nursing women find that over time nursing does help them burn off a lot of the baby weight while continuing to eat a healthy 2500 calorie a day diet, particularly as the baby gets older and eats more. Personally I think nursing fulltime should be redefined as something of a contact or endurance sport as it does take a high level of skill, patience, strategy, quick reaction time and limitless energy to get it right. Of course the long-term benefits to your baby and to your own health are infinite and priceless (and yes it does save you money). However, any sort of weight drop from nursing is usually gradual and generally does not kick in for several months as the early day and weeks postpartum are really about revving up your milk supply and learning how to feed your baby successfully (and around the clock while trying to steal catnaps whenever possible and feel vaguely human).

So my message to the exhibitionists who are looking for instant fame and recognition through a viral Instagram or u-tube videos for their abnormal postpartum weight loss is, please keep it to yourself or between you and your husband. We may gawk at your photo and send encouraging messages, but really you are shaming the rest of us normal people with actual human bodies that do not react like yours.

Redirect the focus to your postpartum health and that of our baby and less on vanity. These early days with your new baby are a precious bonding experience which can set the tone for your relationship with your child for life. Savor them, expect them to be heartwarming as well as challenging steeped in sleep deprivation. Be sure to rely upon the kindness of friends and family who offer to help and cook a meal or watch the baby while you take a break or rest.

Remember to give yourself a pat on the back for successfully bearing a child, managing your life and body through 9 months of pregnancy and having the guts to care for a newborn who does not always follow an instruction manual and seeking to make that new baby a priority in your life in the days, months and years to come. That’s the important stuff, six pack abs can wait.

Exercise During Pregnacy to Make your Baby Smart!

As Holiday Season approaches many of us find ourselves munching on more cookies, eating more pie and indulging in bigger meals. It’s easy to do as the weather is cooler and you may be surrounded by friends and family and lots of yummy goodies. Although pregnancy is not a time to diet, it is perfectly ok and even recommended to exercise, especially when you need to offset some extra helpings of stuffing or pumpkin pie.

Not only is exercise good for maintaining a healthy pregnancy weight, it’s also good for your brain, nerves and self-esteem. More recently researchers are uncovering new benefits of exercise to the developing fetus. Two studies presented a few weeks ago at the Society of Neuroscience suggest that exercise during pregnancy gives unborn children a neurological advantage with “more mature and effective brain patterns.” Dave Ellemberg, a neuroscientists at the University of Montreal says active moms can give their kids “a kickstart even before they are born.” He continues, “What we found is that there’s this amazing transfer from what the mother does onto her child.”

What better motivation is there to exercise since not only are you improving your own body and mind during pregnancy but that of your unborn child’s at the same time. Another recent study performed at Dartmouth University found similar results with the potential for exercise to leave “long-lasting effects on the behavior and cognitive function of the offspring.”

Even as little as thirty minutes a day of moderate exercise can help with weight gain, mood and prepare mothers for labor, says Laura Riley, Director of labor and delivery and obstetrics and gynecology at Massachusetts General Hospital. She continues, that pregnant women who exercise are more mobile throughout their pregnancy and report less aches and pains during pregnancy.

How much you exercise and the type of exercise you choose to do should depend on your fitness level. In general it is recommended that women should continue the exercise they already do and just adjust the level to their weight and abilities as the pregnancy progresses. Even just walking will do wonders for your body and your baby.

There are obvious safety precautions such as staying clear of contact sports or those that require advanced coordination, such as biking (maybe consider a stationary bike). Also steer clear of exercise that involves flat on the back positions that can cause back strain or cut off the blood flow. Also you should not do abdominal work since those muscles are stretched to support your baby.

Most importantly stay in tune with your body and take more frequent breaks. Also, be sure to hydrate more often as your body will need more liquids when you are pregnant. Finally be sure to be in close communication with your doctor on all exercise you pursue to make sure it is recommended and safe.

Kerri Walsh Jennings Welcomes Daughter

Congratulations to Volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings and husband Casey Jennings on the birth of their third child, daughter Scout Margery.

The three time Olympic gold medalist is happy to have a girl to join her two sons Joey, 3 and Sundance, 2.

“Our family feels so blessed to have this beautiful new addition,” says Kerri. “We will cherish our lil Scout and can’t wait to watch her as she grows in this world alongside her sweet big brothers.”

Walsh Jennings revealed after the 2012 London Olympic games that she was unknowingly five weeks pregnant with her daughter when she and partner Misty May-Treanor were in the final showdown week of the Olympics. “When I was throwing my body around fearlessly, and going for gold for our country, I was pregnant.” She told Matt Lauer later.

Kerri also admits this last pregnancy was the hardest one of all. “This little one is kicking my butt!” she said. “The first two were pretty easy, but with this one, I’m sick every day.”

Just goes to show us that even the best Olympic athletes can feel physically challenged by morning sickness!

We wish all the best to Kerri and her growing family of five!

Kerri Walsh Expecting Baby #3 and Pregnant DURING Olympic Games!!!

If you did not already find Kerri Walsh completely mind blowing impressive with her 3rd Olympic Gold in beach volleyball with partner Misty May, but she also just revealed she was 5 weeks pregnant while competing in London 6 weeks ago while achieving that Gold Medal!

“When I was throwing my body around fearlessly and going for gold for our country, I was pregnant,” Walsh Jennings jokes.

While we don’t recommend beach volleyball as the preferred sport for expecting moms, I’m sure Kerri has probably scaled back on her body hurling in the sand now that she knows of the reality of her pregnancy. She even admitted feeling a little “off” during the games, although I’m sure her opponents didn’t feel that way about her play.

“I thought it could have been the stress of the Games and travel throws your schedule off,” she explains. “At some point, you’re late and then you start feeling something. And I definitely started feeling something in London.”

Kerri, 34, and her husband, Casey Jennings, will welcome baby number 3 in early April to join their sons, Sundance, 2 and Joseph, 3. Kerri says this pregnancy is a lot different than her previous pregnancies with her sons and is experiencing morning sickness every day.

“This little one is kicking my butt! The first two were pretty easy, but with this one, I’m sick every day,” she admits. “I’ve got some awesome acne. I just feel different.”

Well she sounds a little human, but I’m sure those washboard abs will pop out again by May!

All joking aside, we admire 3 times Gold Olympian Supermom Kerri and wish her all the best with her pregnancy.

Pregnant Athlete To Compete In London Olympics

Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi from Malyasia will be 7 months pregnant when she competes in the London 2012 Olympics. But, it’s not in track, swimming or other sports that require her extreme exertion. Suryani competes in shooting.

Given that shooting requires a steady hand we hope the olympic athlete has a baby who is calm and doesn’t kick her pregnant belly too much!

One suggestion of maternity clothes for Suryani would be the Maternal America Hoodie Maternity Track Suit. It is soft and stretchy. There’s plenty of room at the belly. The pants have a tie at the waist to allow for the changing shape. Sizes run from Small to Large and run $129.

Nursing Bra Tank by Bravado

The weather is starting to warm up and it’s time to get that one essential item for the nursing mom: The Bravado Nursing Bra Tank.

This iconic piece of nursing clothes is a must have. Ranging in size from 32 D/E up to 40 F/G it can be warn alone or as a great layering piece under a blouse. It provides the support you need when nursing without compromising easy access.

With a ton of different colors and the quality of Bravado, your are sure to find at least one that works with your wardrobe. In addition to the great colors is the fact that it is made from cotton and will feel cool and comfortable all day! This really is the Essential Nursing Bra Tank!

Water babies ‘have better balance and grasping skills’ than non-swimmers

The following article was posted at the Daily Mail:

Teaching babies to swim from just a few months old helps them to develop impressive physical skills later in life.

A university study found baby swimmers balance better and grasped objects more easily than non-swimmers.

This difference persists even when children are five years old, according to the research from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
babies

Three-month-old babies can hold a standing balanced position in the water, scientists reported

Professor Hermundur Sigmundsson from NTNU and Professor Brian Hopkins from Lancaster University, compared 19 baby swimmers against a control group of 19 children who had not participated in baby swimming.

The only factor that separated baby swimmers from the control group was swimming. All other factors, such as the parents’ education and economic status, were the same.

The baby swimmers had participated in swimming classes for two hours a week from the age of 2-3 months until they were about 7 months old.

A typical session might involve helping the baby do a somersault on a floating mat, having the baby dive under water, jump from the pool edge, and balance on the hand of a parent while reaching to pick up floating objects.

When they were five the two groups were tested with a number of exercises such as balancing on one foot, skipping rope and catching a beanbag.

The researchers said the results were startling.

‘We saw very clearly that baby swimmers were the best in exercises that related to balance and the ability to reach for things,’ says Professor Sigmundsson.

Professor Sigmundsson says he was simply overwhelmed by what the instructor was able to get the babies to do.

‘The instructor was able to bring three-month-old babies right up to a balanced position, standing on his palm. The babies locked joints – it was amazing to watch,’ he said.

He believes that the survey shows that specific training in young children gives results.

‘It’s incredibly exciting that specific training for young babies has an effect later in life. Development is a dynamic interplay between maturation, growth, experience and learning.

‘Our study shows that we must never underestimate the learning aspect.’

The study was published in the May 2010 issue of Child: Care Health and Development.

No Baby Blues For Olympic Skater Isabel Delobel

I must say Olympic athletes are truly an inspiring group of people! Only 4 months after giving birth to her baby girl Lois, French competitor Isabel Delobel competed in the Vancouver Olympics in Ice Dancing with her longtime partner, Oliver Schoenfelder.

Although they did not medal, they did have a strong 6th place finish overall. In addition to the pregnancy hurtle, Isabel also had to deal with a shoulder injury and surgery last January. But, Isabel had no excuses, only a positive attitude going into the Games:

“My pregnancy went very well and my shoulder is fine too so I’m feeling in very good shape now.”

delobelThe French competitor, 31, and her partner Olivier Schoenfelder, 32, were the 2008 world champions. Last night’s Olympic performance in the Free Skate was the “Last Dance” of their 20-year skating partnership.

Training with baby

Their program for the Original Dance was the French Cancan and Jacques Brel’s ‘La Quete’ in the free programme.”We put our soul into the free programme which is like a conclusion to our 20 years working together,” added Delobel.

Delobel fought hard to lose 20 pounds of baby weight after gbing birth to bay Lois on Oct 1st. (She wed Lois’ father , Olympic-bronze medalist Ludovic Roux in the summer of 2009). Delobel was back on the ice just three weeks after giving birth.

She told the Washington Post that losing the baby weight “was the most work, the hardest work I did all my life.”

Delobel continued to skate while she was pregnant and worked carefully with her trainers. She says that she had to cut back on jumps and quick turns so she would not be in danger of falling. Her partner admits to the challenges of preparing for the Olympics with his pregnant partner. He told the Post:

“Of course there is some frusteration. You want to go fast and you can’t because you have to go step by step.” They also had to hold off on practicing elements like lifts while Delobel was pregnant.

Although Delobel didn’t win the gold, she has no regrets. She calls giving birth “the best event in your life – different than the Olympics. It gives me serenity.”

Kristie Moore Pregnant Olympic Athlete Going For The Gold!

I have to admit curling is a sport I lacked enthusiasm for until I heard about Kristie Moore, an alternate to the Team Canada curling team, Kristie Moore photowho is 5½ months pregnant. This makes Moore the third pregnant athlete to compete in the modern-era Olympics and the first to compete well into her 2nd trimester.

Diana Sartor of Germany was brave enough (or crazy enough!) to compete in the skeleton in 2006 and actually finished 4th place! In the more distant past, Swedish figure skater Magda Julin won a gold medal at the Antwerp Games some 90 years ago while in her first trimester.

Moore, who is 30 years old, did not find out about her pregnancy until a few weeks team Canada invited her to join the team. The team has been very supportive of her visible pregnancy. Team Canada leader Cheryl Bernard told Yahoo Sports, “she is young and fit. There’s no reason we’ll have any problems, and she’ll be out there.”

curling photoIn a recent interview with Yahoo Sports, Moore said her pregnancy has not impacted her ability to participate on the team, but may have been more of an issue if she was closer to her due date:

“[In] the eighth month or so, that might be an issue,” she told Yahoo Sports.

Team Canada is a favorite for a Gold Medal in the curling event in Vancover. Even if Moore does not compete as an alternate, she will still get to take home a gold medal for her participation on the team if Team Canada wins. Not a bad baby shower gift!

Moore’s participation in Olympic competition while in her 2nd trimester of pregnancy is incentive enough for any pregnant women to get off the couch and exercise and also to continue to pursue her dreams during pregnancy and beyond!