I knew there was a reason why I have now retired from any form of extreme sport and don’t feel guilty sitting around drinking wine and eating chocolate. It turns out that pregnancy is the ultimate endurance activity and so having already put my body through the equivalent of the Tour de France THREE times, that is quite enough exercise to last a lifetime.

Amazing isn’t it to think that a female body can change and endure so much during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Just so clever. All those squished internal organs, stretched skin and extra energy expended, it’s a wonder any of us can function after birth. I think, on the basis of this new research that we need to take things back to the days when women were allowed to stay in bed for a few weeks after birth, learning what to do with our babies and getting lots of help with all the other day to day shit in the meantime.

A review of some of the world’s most physically demanding activities suggests that even the most impressive human specimens will hit a ceiling that determines how long they can sustain their activity. The maximum amount of energy a human can expend indefinitely is around 2.5 times the number of calories a person burns – it turns out that during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding, women hover just below this critical threshold. “If you think about it, pregnancy is the ultimate endurance activity,” said Herman Pontzer of Duke University who co-authored a paper published this week in the Science Advances.

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