Iowa State University research suggests a 30-minute workout every day may not be enough activity to limit excessive weight gain during pregnancy.
“Just because you did that doesn’t necessarilly mean that you are truly an active person and that you may end up spending a lot of time during the day in sedentary behaviors, regardless of whether you went and did a 30-minute exercise session,” says Christina Campbell, a food science and human nutrition professor at Iowa State. “…How active a woman is overall, throughout the day — regardless of whether she goes to the gym — is the best way to prevent gaining too much weight.”
Campbell’s research analyzed data from pregnant women who wore two monitors — one on their arm, the other on their leg — and found the pregnant women spent 75 percent of the time they were awake in sedentary behavior, like sitting at their desk at work. Campbell recommends spreading activity throughout the day and while it could include a workout at the gym, it doesn’t have to.
“Set goals for yourself: I’m going to walk to the end of the hall or I’m going to create this loop that I’m going to do and then come back to my job and sit down again,” Campbell says.
Campbell’s research is part of what’s called the “Blossom Project” at ISU. She’s currently focusing on how to motivate women to exercise more and trying to find the best diet-and-exercise strategy to help women not gain too much weight during pregnancy.