4 Reasons to Do Prenatal Yoga

Want to have a healthier, less stressful pregnancy? You might not have to look any further than your local yoga studio. Prenatal yoga classes help women in all stages of pregnancy participate in a healthy and safe exercise regimen. These specially designed classes teach breathing and meditation techniques, provide support for stressed moms-to-be and use asanas (yoga poses) that help expectant mothers build strength and stamina.

Pregnancy yoga teachers also avoid poses that may be risky for moms and design classes for all women, even those who have never done yoga before. If you currently practice yoga, be sure to tell your yogi that you are expecting so that he or she can help you stay safe.

New studies continue to reveal the benefits of prenatal yoga. So, with your doctor’s approval, unroll that mat, breathe deeply and get ready. After practicing yoga while you’re pregnant, you might experience:

Exercise leads to better sleep

Many pregnant women experience sleep problems that make dealing with the physical symptoms of pregnancy more difficult. However, exercising while pregnant can help you achieve better sleep. Yoga, for instance, reinforces natural circadian rhythms. Our bodies follow these rhythms to determine when we should be awake and when we should be asleep. By keeping to this rhythm, you may find you fall asleep more easily.

Yoga decreases Stress

Throughout a yoga class, you are encouraged to center your mind and focus on your breathing, clearing away stressful or anxious thoughts. Research shows that after a yoga class, pregnant women have fewer stress hormones like cortisol in their bodies. Breathing and meditation techniques can also be used outside of class to help you cope with a difficult pregnancy or work through pain during labor.

Research also reveals yoga can reduce symptoms of depression during pregnancy. Depression is associated with a higher risk of pre-term labor and low birth weight, so it is vital to reduce symptoms so both mom and baby enjoy better health.

Experience fewer pregnancy symptoms

It’s no secret that for some people, pregnancy comes with some unpleasant symptoms like shortness of breath, back pain, nausea, and headaches. Prenatal yoga classes can help you reduce these symptoms without having to rely on medicines. To help with pregnancy symptoms, you can:

  • Use breathing exercises to overcome shortness of breath
  • Practice relaxation techniques and certain poses to reduce nausea from morning sickness
  • Build core and back muscles to reduce back pain
  • Improve posture and stress levels to experience fewer headaches

Prenatal yoga eases labor and delivery

Yoga asanas build strength and flexibility throughout your body. During yoga for pregnancy, you focus on asanas that assist with labor and delivery. These asanas help the muscles in your hips, abdomen and back grow stronger and have better endurance for a more comfortable, faster labor and delivery. You can also use breathing exercises you learned to get through the pain of contractions.

Contact WCF to schedule an appointment on any questions or concerns you may have regarding exercise, health, and pregnancy.

5 Benefits of Losing 10 Pounds

There’s no way to sugar coat it; losing weight isn’t easy. However, the benefits of losing 10 pounds often outweigh all other weight loss challenges. Losing just 10 pounds can greatly increase your quality of life and set you on track toward a healthier lifestyle.

What happens when you lose 10 pounds? You might think you’ll only look thinner. However, if you feel sluggish or out of shape, losing even just a few pounds can help boost your confidence and motivate you to keep up the hard work. If you’re looking for additional motivation, here are five things that happen to your body if you lost 10 pounds.

Weight loss will decrease your chance of cardiovascular disease

Heart disease contributes to the most deaths in the United States. Each year, nearly 375,000 people succumb to cardiovascular disease. To avoid becoming another statistic, many of the benefits of losing 10 pounds begin with your heart. Start investing in a healthier lifestyle and shed those extra 10 pounds.

It may not feel like it, but your heart works hard daily. Any added weight puts extra stress on it. Therefore, don’t make the heart’s integral job any harder. When you start dieting and properly exercising, you help your coronary arteries. Furthermore, you decrease the likelihood that they will become hardened and narrowed. Narrowed arteries decrease blood flow to your heart. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will ensure that your heart gets adequate blood flow and can continue its job without extra burden.

Your joints will thank you for losing weight

Joint pain and inflammation dramatically decrease your quality of life. Walking up and down stairs can become a chore. Prescription painkillers can only eliminate so much pain. Also, you can’t function day-to-day from the mind-altering properties of painkillers often.

Instead of ingesting painkillers, losing 10 pounds will lighten the load on your joints. Building up muscle can mitigate the damage on your knees and allow your body to develop a “suit of armor” to protect you from injuries related to joint deterioration.

Weight loss can help you say goodnight to sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening disorder that disrupts proper airflow during sleep. If you snore, you have a form of sleep apnea. There are more than 18 million Americans with sleep apnea, and few understand the substantial risk of heart attacks during sleep.

The correlation between weight gain and sleep apnea is well established. When an individual is overweight, they develop excess tissue in the back of their throats that can fall over the airway and decrease airflow.

Insufficient sleep will lead to weight gain, which exacerbates sleep apnea, creating a vicious cycle of weight gain, and feeling tired every day. This makes it harder to make health-conscious decisions.

Losing just a mere 10 pounds can improve your quality of sleep immensely, allowing your airways to open up and increase oxygen to the brain.

Losing weight can reduce your risk of cancer

Doctors estimate that 1 in 20 diagnosed instances of cancer is linked to being overweight. Fat cells in the body produce different proteins and hormones that are carried through the bloodstream. Having excess fat cells produces more of these chemical messengers throughout the body and increases the risk of several different types of cancer. Hormone levels are also changed by excess fat and may increase the risk of cancer.

One benefit of losing 10 pounds can decrease the amount of excess fat cells and limit the number of chemical messengers in your bloodstream, decreasing your risk of many different types of cancer.

Improve your sex life with weight loss

Being overweight can directly lower your libido, inhibiting sexual desires in both males and females. There are many physical and psychological side effects of being overweight that influence your libido.

For men, being overweight increases your risk of sexual impotence. Excess weight can bring along a myriad of problems like hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes, all of which cause limited blood flow to all parts of the body, including the penis. Even losing a small amount of weight has been shown to improve this condition.

For women, having excess fat may increase the risk of infertility by causing abnormalities with their eggs that make them harder to fertilize. Overweight women produce less mature eggs and are at higher risk for failed pregnancies. Losing excess weight can not only save your life but improve your future baby’s health as well.

Ten pounds may not seem like a lot of weight loss, but the benefits are infinitely better than keeping the weight on. Losing those 10 pounds will improve your physical health scores across the board and may lead you down a track of habitually making health-conscious decisions and help you reach your goal weight.

For more information about how WCF can help you take care of you, contact us to schedule an appointment.

Your Postpartum Exercise Plan

When you have your newborn baby snoozing adorably in your arms, the last thing you want to think about is exercise. As a new mom, late-night feedings, dozens of diaper changes and hormonal swings can take away your energy and time, making it difficult to think about fitness. Though postpartum exercise is difficult, we encourage our patients to find time to get active so they can experience better health as a new mom.

Benefits of exercising after pregnancy

After pregnancy workouts can help you and your body adjust to motherhood in a healthy way. Even light activity, like a 15-minute walk each day can offer moms benefits such as better quality of sleep, lower stress, and a higher energy level.

Exercise after pregnancy can also help you lose any extra baby weight, especially when combined with a healthy diet. It can improve your heart health, help you build muscle and start to tone up your abdomen after delivery.

Starting a regular exercise program when your child is an infant lets you start to show your child an example of a healthy, active lifestyle. As your child grows up, they will understand the importance of exercise and develop healthy habits by watching you.

Make a postpartum exercise plan

Before you start any exercise plan, you should speak to your doctor about what is right for your body and health. Every woman will have a different postpartum experience, so you’ll need to create a postpartum exercise plan for your needs.

If you had a normal vaginal delivery, you can likely start becoming active just a few days after giving birth. Talk to your OB/GYN about limitations. Don’t push it; start moving only when you feel your body is ready.

If you had a C-section, you may need more time to heal, around six weeks or more. Ask your doctor about exercise during your post-natal care appointments.

Postpartum exercises

When you are ready for exercise after pregnancy, attempt to get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. Incorporate these exercises into your weekly or daily routine to reach your exercise goals:

  • Walking is a safe postpartum exercise you can do with your newborn. Head to your favorite park or jogging path with your baby safely secured in a stroller or carrier. If you were a runner before pregnancy, you’ll need to work back up to your normal routine.
  • Pelvic and kegel exercises. You can perform these exercises at home to rebuild your pelvic floor muscles, reducing your risk for incontinence or other postpartum complications.
  • Postpartum exercise classes. Some gyms, yoga studios, and even hospitals offer classes designed for new moms, like Baby Boot Camp or Strollercize. These classes take it easy on your body while emphasizing rebuilding strength in your abdomen and pelvic muscles.
  • Swimming. Swimming is a full-body exercise that is good for your joints. Swim at your own pace and slowly add time or distance to your workout.
  • Aqua classes. Like swimming, aqua classes allow you to move while putting less stress on your joints and muscles. Try aqua yoga, Zumba or aerobics to find an exercise that works for your body.

If postpartum exercise leads to bleeding, pain or discomfort, you should stop exercising and give your body more time to heal. Pushing yourself too soon can hurt your recovery.

Tips for postpartum exercise

To find the time and energy for postpartum exercise, you’ll need to rely on your support team. You should:

  • Schedule time for your partner to care for the baby while you go exercise.
  • Find friends who also need to exercise and go to classes or on walks together.
  • Incorporate your baby into exercise by attending Baby & Me classes.
  • Remember that even just 10 minutes of exercise can make a difference. Try to fit in exercise when and where you can.

If you are worried about exercising after pregnancy, always speak to your trusted OB/GYN for more tips and advice.

For additional support losing weight, you can rely on Weight Loss Programs and Nutrition Counseling from Women’s Care Florida. Our understanding experts can help you develop a personalized plan for postpartum exercise and diet.

How to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

On average, an American adult gains almost two pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. With the stress of travel, the tempting call of pumpkin pie, the cutely named holiday cocktails, and all the parties at work, it’s no wonder a few extra pounds manage to sneak their way into our celebrations. However, you can stay fit during the holidays without giving up all the delicious parts of the season. Learn how to stay healthy during the holidays by building good habits in your celebrations. Try out the fun holiday wellness tips below.

Start a new tradition

Many families have traditions that center around food such as enjoying a cup of eggnog or digging into a Christmas ham. However, learn how to stay healthy during the holidays by starting new traditions that don’t involve food. These traditions can put you in the holiday spirit without increasing your caloric intake. Some new traditions might include:

  • Decorating the house as a family
  • Taking special holiday shopping trips together
  • Listening to your favorite holiday music
  • Watching holiday movies (with healthy snacks like low-calorie popcorn)
  • Telling a family story every night when you light the menorah
  • Volunteering at a soup kitchen or shelter to serve others

Furthermore, if you do have a tradition that surrounds food, change it up. Instead of having all unhealthy dishes filled with cream, sugar, salt, and butter, swap some of them out for healthy recipes. Many healthy holiday recipes exist all over the web. If there is a certain vegetable you like, research some recipes that you can incorporate into your feasts.

Take in the lights

One way to combat all the extra calories you eat during the holidays is to get a little extra exercise. You don’t have to squeeze in another visit to the gym. Instead, learn how to stay healthy during the holidays by heading out into your neighborhood for a tour of the best holiday light displays. You can take the whole family or just a cup of your favorite black coffee or tea. By walking just 30 minutes every day, you’ll burn around 700 calories in one week.

Try a little of everything

One holiday wellness tip is portion control which can help you enjoy unhealthy foods without packing on the pounds. Instead of taking normal size portions, try taking just a spoonful of everything you want on the holiday table, healthy foods included. You’ll be able to sample everyone’s delicious dishes and stick to your daily calorie needs.

Sleep in

A great night’s sleep helps keep your metabolism, blood sugar, and blood pressure at healthy levels. Take advantage of the holiday vacation by getting plenty of sleep every night—even if it means sleeping until the sun has been up for a while.

Don’t make a weight-loss resolution

The most popular New Year’s resolution every year is to lose weight. This year, don’t join that club. Many who plan to jump on the bandwagon give themselves excuses to eat even more during the holidays as a last hurrah. If you do want to go on a diet or lose weight, start a regiment before the holidays. Only cheat on the day of the holiday and get right back to it the next day. With your healthy leftovers, you have fewer excuses for just binging on pumpkin pie.

Instead of dieting or joining the stampede to the gym in January, make a resolution that gets you excited about the new year. Some fun resolutions might include:

  • Completing a 5k, 10k or half marathon
  • Taking dance lessons
  • Learning how to cook
  • Taking up photography
  • Redecorating a room in your home
  • Spending more time with your kids

If you need help with effective holiday wellness tips, contact a Women’s Care Florida provider today.



How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolution

If you broke a New Year’s resolution before, you’re not alone. People break 80 percent of all New Year’s Resolutions by February. This year, you have a chance to learn how to keep your new year’s resolution. Make it easier on yourself to succeed by making them achievable. Instead of making a year-long, general goal such as “lose weight,” try making more personalized goals using the new year’s resolution ideas below.

Make monthly fitness resolutions

Having the same goal for one year can feel impossible to attain. Instead, set a different fitness resolution for each month of the year. Think ahead about what your life might be like during that month and set goals that will be fun and realistic to achieve.

For example, start a goal such as losing four pounds in January. When February comes around, base your next goal off of how you did in January. If you didn’t lose four pounds, create smaller goals to achieve January’s such as exercise an extra day or skip the cheat day. Furthermore, if you did achieve your January goal, try to extend it. However, if you feel like you might be pushing yourself too hard, create smaller goals in addition to keeping the same goal such as learn a new type of exercise such as weight training.

Each monthly resolution moves you toward becoming more fit. Moreover, it helps you have an easier time sticking to each goal. Even if you hate lifting weights, you know that you only have to do it for a month before trying something else. With any luck, at the end of the year, you will know what exercise you like best and can make that exercise a part of your routine in the years to come.

Choose SMART resolutions

You can use SMART goals in every aspect of your life. Some of these include setting SMART business foals or fitness goals. The acronym stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

SMART goals help you effectively learn how to keep your new year’s resolutions. They provide you with more direction than the vague and almost useless decision of “get fit” or “lose weight.” An example of a SMART fitness resolution would be:

“I’m going to attend my local gym (specific) three times per week for 45 minutes (measurable) in January (timely) because it will help me improve my fitness and lose weight (relevant).”

Because this goal addresses SMART, it becomes more attainable. Think of SMART as better strategizing your goals. Furthermore, in February, you can start going four times a week for 60 minutes. Each month, you can either add or change this goal. Whichever goal you choose, know why you’re doing it, strategize how you can do it, and what you have to do to achieve it.

Make one change at a time

If you don’t want to use monthly goals or SMART goals, just remember to make one change at a time. If in January you decide to quit smoking, work out three times a week, and go on a diet, you’ll be too stressed by the end of the month to keep any of these goals.

Remember, your physician can be your partner in setting and keeping fitness resolutions. For help creating a fitness plan that’s right for you, schedule an appointment or find a physician at Women’s Care Florida today.

Tips on Sticking to New Year’s Resolutions

You ate a brownie in the office. Then you skipped the gym yesterday to go shopping. Plus, you haven’t gone on a walk in a week because it’s just too cold. You think maybe you just won’t be able to get fit this year after all. Sticking to new year’s resolutions can feel impossible. Most new year’s resolutions last until February with about 80 percent of all goals ending then. However, this year has 12 months. Even if your fitness new year’s resolution didn’t pan out in January, you could still meet your goals by following these tips:

Find a partner

It might be easy to skip the gym if you attend by yourself. However, skipping can feel a lot more difficult if someone holds you accountable. Next time, find a friend or acquaintance with a similar fitness new year’s resolution. If no one has the same goal, you can find a weight loss buddy online. Many groups exist on social media, where you can find friends and hold each other accountable with achievable new year’s resolutions.

Ditch the old plan

Many resolutions fail because you don’t execute your goals with a good strategy. Write out an achievable new year’s resolutions with strategies that explain how you will execute goals. Plan out how you want to lose weight with SMART goals. If you try a low-carb diet first and hate it, try something else instead or add more carbs back into your day. Don’t be afraid to be flexible and change up your plan as the year passes. Remember: never give up on your original goal, even if in January or February, you weren’t sticking to new year’s resolutions.

Reward yourself

Don’t forget to include rewards in your resolution plan. For instance, if you meet your goal of jogging every day for two weeks, get a pedicure or purchase a small item you’ve been wanting. You can even reward yourself with quality time, like an hour to read a book or a nice long bubble bath. Just make sure the reward makes you feel good about your accomplishment.

Be gentle with yourself

Not every day goes as planned. On the days that get derailed by a sick child, a broken washing machine, or a stressful day at work, don’t beat yourself up for skipping the gym. Know that achievable new year’s resolutions include failure. However, to achieve your overall goals, you need to be able to bounce back. Don’t focus on failing short-term goals. Keep your original goal in mind and never take no for an answer.

For example, if you didn’t lose the weight you wanted in February, plan out different strategies to do so. Accept the failure, own it, and move on. Also, be kind to yourself and know that you’ll get back on track as soon as you keep going.

Remember your reasons

When sticking to new year’s resolutions, remember why you chose the goal to keep you motivated. Why did you resolve to get more fit? Is it because you want to fit in those jeans from college? Or maybe, so you have the energy to keep up with your child? So you have less pain in your joints? Remind yourself of these reasons every day to help you stay on track.

Put a picture or note that represents your goal in places you can see it, like on the bathroom mirror, your computer at work, or on your car dashboard. These reminders will help you make good choices when you’re struggling.

Track your progress

Sometimes, we need to see our progress to keep going. For instance, maybe you work out for three days in a row then skip a day. If you focus on the day you jumped, you miss all the good you’ve done. Find a way to track your progress so you can understand what you’ve accomplished.

You can use apps or even just mark off days on the calendar that you meet your goal. Seeing your progress helps you stay motivated and focused on the positive changes you’ve made.

Ask your doctor for help

Your physician is your partner in health and fitness. He or she can give health advice that’s personalized to your needs. They can also refer you to dietitians or physical therapists who can help you work toward your fitness goals.

If you’re struggling to keep your resolution or need help getting back on track, make an appointment with a physician at Women’s Care Florida. Together, you can develop a plan that will help you keep your resolution in 2018.