Feature Article in the Oregonian

“Physical Therapist Micky Morrison offers tips for getting fit, staying fit in pregnancy, and beyond”

By Helen Jung

Bring your bulging belly and aching back, your busy schedule and your excuses. Micky Marie Morrison, creator of the Babyweight.TV website of prenatal and postnatal exercise videos, just may have the answer to all of those.

Morrison, a certified prenatal fitness educator, will be giving a free talk at Zenana Spa and Wellness Center on Saturday, April 13 at 10:30 a.m. to talk about getting – and staying – in shape during and after pregnancy. Morrison, the author of “Baby Weight: The Complete Guide to Prenatal and Postpartum Fitness” will also offer tips on making time for exercise when time seems to be the last thing you have.

We talked with Morrison in advance of her trip next week to Portland, when she will also be addressing attendees at the Oregon Physical Therapy Association’s annual meeting. She shared some thoughts on fitness, busy work schedules and the importance of kegels.

If you’re pregnant:

  • Focus on your core muscles. Abdominal exercises can help you ward off the dreaded disastis recti – more commonly known as abdominal muscle separation, she said. As your belly grows, the abdominal muscles’ connective tissue that runs vertically along either side of your belly button can be forced apart like a zipper opening, she said. If those abdominal muscles separate from each other too much, they can lead to low back pain and other injury as your body tries to compensate for its weaker core.
  • At the same time, embrace modifications. Lay off stomach crunches and hard-core Pilates, Morrison said. In fact, some exercises such as crunches can exacerbate the abdominal separation. While women who were regular runners before pregnancy can continue running potentially even in their third trimester, they should be aware of loosening in their ligaments that can lead to knee and ankle injuries, she said.
  • Do your kegels! These are the pelvic floor tightening exercises that help prevent – oh, how shall we put this – leakage when a woman sneezes, coughs, etc. Put up little sticky notes to remind yourself to practice the contractions, said Morrison, who recalled putting one near her speedometer in her car as a reminder when she was pregnant.

If you feel too busy to workout:

  • Look for double-duty opportunities. Family outings can double as exercise – as well as help the entire family incorporate physical activity into their routines, she said. Go for family walks around the block, or jog beside your tricycling toddler. Similarly, set up opportunities with friends that incorporate fitness and movement.
  • Think small and targeted. Some people mistakenly believe that they need to devote 45 minutes to exercise or they’re not getting any benefit. That’s not true, she said. Look for smaller chunks of time and focus on a goal. Believe me, she said, a 12-minute routine on your core muscles? “You can make a huge difference in your muscle tone in a very short time,” she said.
  • Use your lunch hour. Even if it’s just 20 minutes of walking the stairs, she said, “you will work up a sweat.”
  • Use technology. Set up an alarm on your computer to remind you to stop, get up and do two minutes of wall pushes or squats. Buy a pedometer. It can help spark competition with yourself to see how many steps you take each day, she said.

Want more? Check out BabyWeight.TV’s videos, which viewers can download for a fee or through a subscription program. The videos demonstrate exercises geared for different levels and interests, from a 12-minute workout on core muscle strengthening to a 60-minute lower-intensity yoga-centric regimen for pregnant women. There’s also information on how to check for abdominal separation and exercises for correcting that.

If you want to attend Morrison’s presentation on April 13, consider reserving a spot by calling Zenana Spa at 503-238-6262. Pre-registration is not required, but those who do will receive two raffle tickets for a book giveaway and a subscription to BabyWeight.TV.

— Helen Jung

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