One of the perks of my job (freelance writer) is meeting cool people I might not have otherwise known. Recently, I was introduced to a woman who has developed a fitness DVD for women on bed rest. "Neat!" I thought. I haven't actually been on bed rest myself, and I can only imagine how stir-crazy it must make a gal. Plus, the physical deterioration that can come from weeks or even months of sitting still can't be good for you once you cross the finish line and have to start momming.
So I told the PR person who mentioned the project to me that I'd love to review the DVD and tell my readers what I thought of it. Thusly, my review:
The Concept: Before I heard of this DVD, I never imagined that doctors would allow you to exercise while on bed rest. I figured muscle atrophy and sheer, stunning boredom were just par for the course when you were confined to your bed. But apparently, there are safe, effective exercises you can do that won't jeapordize your health or your pregnancy. Having never been on bed rest, I know I'm making some assumptions here, but I would think the chance to stretch your muscles and possibly prevent their deterioration would be preferable to another hour of television re-runs and numb-butt. The entertainment factor alone might be worth it.
I'll even go one step further and venture to say that this concept even appeals to pregnant women who aren't on bed rest, but are too cautious (read: terrified; and also: me) to work out, or those who simply like the notion of working out in bed, rather than leaving the house or - God forbid - entering a gym in anything spandex.
Title: Well, short and sweet always works for me. "Bedrest Fitness" pretty much tells you exactly what you're getting without trying to resort to some cutesy play on words.
Instructor: Darline Turner-Lee, who developed the exercises and video has a list of qualifications as long as my arm. She's a physician's assistant and an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Exercise Specialist®, to hit the highlights. Plus, she's a mom, and she hoed a bumpy road to become one. But better than that is her personality. She's the right mix of get-down-to-business and perky, without crossing over into cheerleader land like so many other fitness gurus. She laughs at herself a few times on the video and is encouraging without being intimidating. Another bonus: she looks like a real, normal, flesh-n-blood mom; not some twiggy model whose physique leaves you feeling even less confident about yourself than when you popped the DVD in the player.
The Video: The intro on the DVD has some corny graphics - definitely not a high-end, expensive production - and the OBGYN who offers up some nice, valid information has a few personality quirks (namely a set of still-in-box collector's Barbies displayed rather prominently behind her), but all of this is easily overlooked and/or skipped with the help of your fast-forward button.
Darline's introduction, by contrast, is short and sweet and completely lacking in Barbie paraphernalia. The video lays out nicely with little exercise title inserts between each exercise that allow you to pause for water or breathing or telling your cat to just leave you the hell alone for just one minute, wouldja?!
The exercises themselves are great, progressing from bottom to top in an orderly fashion, without too much moving around between exercises. All you need is you, your bed, some pillows, and a resistance band (which comes with the DVD). Everything is done at a nice pace, offering just enough resistance and speed to make you feel like you've achieved a little something, but not so much that you would worry about your cervix or pelvic wall. I personally haven't done a lick of formal exercise beyond going for a walk with Hannah or generally chasing and entertaining her since the beginning of this pregnancy. And yet I managed to complete this video feeling pleasantly active and stretched, but not at all tired.
I'm not the expert Darline is, but I think think the chance to do anything that might preserve your muscle tone or at least slow it's atrophy is a plus when you're on bed rest. The fact that these exercises are tailored by you to your own ability, circumstances, and resistance preferences means that you won't feel over or under taxed.
Overall, I give Bedrest Fitness a thumbs up. If you're on bedrest, ask your OB or midwife or both about using this program. If your not, but like me, smile at the notion of working out in bed, I say go for it.
You can order the DVD here.
For the record, I'm not getting anything for this review*. I just though, given my audience, that this might be a great thing to pass along. I know some of you have been through bed rest in the past, and have reason to suspect you may again, one day. Or maybe you know someone. Either way, it can't hurt to know this DVD is out there.
*I am, however, going to be famous! Okay, maybe not famous, but I've agreed to be the "model" for a spot on the local morning show about the DVD. I'm sure it's my big break.