Being a good parent can start before birth. In fact, a new study from the University of Montreal and its affiliated Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Sainte-Justine children’s hospital, found that mothers who participate in as little as 20 minutes of exercise 3 times per week during pregnancy can enhance brain activity in their in newborns.
While mothers may be aware of the benefits of working out during pregnancy, such as better sleep cycles, an improved mood and less back pain, there has been little research that proves exercise can be good for the baby until now. The study revealed several new findings, but Dave Ellemberg, leader of the research and professor at the University of Montreal, hope the biggest takeaway will be that mothers change the way they approach their pregnancies.
“Most of all, we are optimistic that this will encourage women to change their health habits, given that the simple act of exercising during pregnancy could make a difference for their child’s future,” Ellemberg said.
Mothers need to be more active
In the past, many mothers would say that the right strategy would be to get as much rest as they can when they are pregnant, but this new study suggests this is simply not the case. According to Professor Daniel Curnier, another researcher at the University of Montreal, failing to get enough exercise can actually lend itself to more health concerns for both the mother and child.
“While being sedentary increases the risks of suffering complications during pregnancy, being active can ease post-partum recovery, make pregnancy more comfortable and reduce the risk of obesity in the children,” Curnier explained.
Martial arts can provide the physical activity mothers need
Mothers who are looking for a way to exercise during their pregnancy may want to try out martial arts training. Some women may not know that not all types of martial arts consist of self defense or combat. In fact, there are many elements of martial arts that focus on techniques and practices that increase heart rate with minimal impact or stress on the body. Zeroing in on these aspects of martial arts can make an expectant mother’s time in class that much more enjoyable. After all, working too hard can lead to light-headedness and higher levels of fatigue.
Expectant mothers who understand that the flexibility, meditation, and concentration are also a big part of martial arts training will be the ones who are able to enjoy their exercise the most during pregnancy. These mothers will still be able to work at their craft and advance their skill levels.