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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