Friday, September 27, 2013

Too Little Exercise during Pregnancy

Questions about too much exercise during pregnancy are often raised  - such as the current discussion on weightlifting at 38 weeks here.

But a recent study in the Maternal and Child Health Journal of more than 600 pregnant women in Canada found that only 58% of the women did 15 minutes or more exercise at least 3 days per week.  Only 23% of women met the Canadian guidelines for physical activity during pregnancy (30 or more minutes on at least 4 days of the week). Pregnant women were less likely to be meeting exercise guidelines if they were single, divorced, separated or widowed, a visible minority, had a household income between $20,000 and $80,000, and reported being in less than excellent health. Women who had completed high school were more likely to be meeting guidelines.

The bottom line here is that pregnancy is not a time to let your exercise habits slip.  In a healthy pregnancy and with physician approval, mother and baby will both be best served by a moderate exercise program as recommended in both Canadian and US guidelines.

It should be noted that the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests that each potential sport activity should be reviewed individually for its potential risk.  They recommend that activities with a high risk of falling or those with a high risk of abdominal trauma should be avoided during pregnancy. They strongly recommend that scuba diving be avoided throughout pregnancy because the fetus is at an increased risk for decompression sickness during this activity.

Read more about the Canadian exercise in Pregnancy study here.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Young Women like Feedback!

You can now buy many devices to monitor your exercise program – ranging from cell phone Apps that work as long as you carry your phone to body-mounted sensors on the wrist, ankle, or waist.  But do they encourage you to exercise more or are they just a way of expressing your tech savvy?

A recent study from Murray Edwards College in the United Kingdom recruited almost 900 male and female adolescents - mean age 14.5 years – and monitored their activity over four days.  Half of the subjects also wore a pedometer from which they could get feedback about their own exercise history.

Girls who wore the pedometers were more active than girls who did not.  There was no such difference among the boys.

The bottom line is that self-monitoring of activity may be an effective way to motivate young women to exercise.  So an exercise App or a body-mounted sensor might be a healthy gift for your daughter!

Read more about the study here.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hypermobility and ACL Injury

People with hypermobility can move their joints well beyond the normal range.  A group of researchers at a hospital in New Dehli, India studied the association between hypermobility and injury to the anterior cruciate ligament.  They examined 135 men and 75 women who had experienced an ACL injury giving each a rating on a standard test of hypermobility called the Beighton score. There are nine components to this score including the ability to put the hands flat on the floor with knees straight, to bend the elbow backwards, and to bend the thumb back onto the front of the forearm.  The injured group was compared to a comparable group who had never had knee injury.

The investigators found that the women in their samples were more likely to be hypermobile than men but the dramatic finding was that people with an ACL injury were 4.5x more likely to be hypermobile than those without an ACL injury.

If this research is confirmed by others, the results suggest that active women who are hypermobile should consider a training program to decrease their risk of injury or consider protective bracing in at-risk settings.

The original paper can be accessed here.