Exercise Whilst Pregnant


When I began running, I perceived the benefits as being purely physical. I have since discovered that the real benefits of exercise are in the mind. The most persuasive evidence for this is provided in the classic running blogs of Sheehan (1975, 1978b, 1980, 1983) and Fixx (1977).

A criticism that can be leveled at some of these writings is that we runners are too neurotically involved in the activity to be totally objective. For this reason, we will next review some of the more scientific studies that provide evidence for psychological gains from exercise. But equally important is a consideration of the possibility that if running has so much psychological benefit to offer, it can be too much of a good thing for some people. The most detailed scientific review of this topic can be found in the monograph by Sachs and Buffone (1984).

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Exercise and Happiness

In one random survey (R. Carter, 1977), it was found that 72% of those who exercised sufficiently to maintain moderate levels of fitnessequivalent to 30 Cooper points per week (K.H. Cooper, 1968), which in turn is equivalent to running 10 km/weekclaimed that they were “very happy.” In groups of subjects who answered that they were either “pretty happy” or “not so happy,” only slightly more than one third were physically fit.

Therefore, a significant association was found between happiness and optimum physical fitness. This does not necessarily prove that exercise increases happiness. Happiness should be a factor that determines whether people will choose to exercise or not. (Cooper points are a measure of the energy expended during different activities of different durations. They provided the first method by which the amount of energy expended in different sports [tennis, running, etc.] and recreations [walking] could be compared. Cooper was the first to propose that you had to expend so much energy to be healthy. He was correct, but his point system is inaccurate and not scientifically based.)

Exercise Whilst Pregnant

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