Don’t freak. We are not talking about getting all muscled-up like Arnold Swarzenegger. But did you know that pregnant women are the world’s most natural bodybuilder? You are literally building a body inside of you! From toes that wiggle, a heart that beats and eyes that blink, you are constructing another human from the inside out. Any traditional bodybuilder will tell you that it’s their nutrition and exercise choices that shaped their end result. And while all the recent studies will point to the benefits of exercising and eating well during pregnancy, this knowledge was woven into the ancient Greek Spartan culture over 2000 years ago.
The Spartans believed that strong women produced strong heirs, and therefore actually encouraged their girls to train alongside the boys. That’s 2000 years ago and yet today we too often struggle with our girls and women being encouraged to be active and strong. As a nod to this ancient Spartan culture, my business partner and I named our women’s fitness magazine GORGO after the Spartan queen whose name was Gorgo.
Historians believe that the Spartan women had more live births and lower infant mortality than their ancient Greek counterparts because they were healthier when they conceived and ate better during pregnancy. Fast-forward more than 2000 years, and science continues to confirm what the ancient Spartans already knew.
Mommy & Baby Benefits of Exercising During Pregnancy
1) Labor and delivery may be easier
2) Boosts baby’s brain maturity
3) Reduces mommy’s blood pressure
4) Lowers gestational diabetes risk by as much as 41%
5) Increased energy
6) Better sleep
7) Baby less likely to become an overweight child
8) Less likely to need forceps delivery, C-section or other intervention
9) Less prone to morning sickness
10) May boost child’s athletic potential
11) Develop a healthier heart for baby that lasts into childhood
Somewhere in those 2000 years, the Spartan’s cultural knowledge was overtaken by the image of women being “delicate”, even helpless, especially during pregnancy. I found adopting an “I am a Bodybuilder” mantra during my pregnancy empowering as it provided me strength and reinsurance about making informed choices about my nutrition and exercise despite many cultural objections to me picking up the weights and staying active while I built one of the most important bodies of my life (my new baby’s body and the one I would bring her into the world with - mine!)
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