Stay in shape while you’re expecting with these baby-safe workouts.
Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you don’t need to exercise. In fact, the opposite is true. Exercise does wonders for moms-to-be! If you don’t want an achy back, want to reduce your risk for gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, need more energy, hope not to gain too much weight, want to sleep better, desire to prep your body for delivery, and hope to recovery quickly after delivery, then exercise is for you.
Between decorating the nursery and shopping for those cute little clothes, set aside at least 20 or 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity cardio and/or strength training and flexibility exercise. Not sure where to start? Try these exercises! They’re considered safe for most pregnant women, but always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
Feel your heart rate increase when you exercise? That means you’re doing cardiovascular exercise. An increased pulse when you’re exercising is a sign that your heart’s getting stronger, your body and your baby are receiving oxygenated blood, your muscles are strengthening, and you’re burning calories.
One of the best forms of cardio exercise for moms-to-be is walking. It’s gentle on your joints, safe for the baby, keeps you in shape, and can be done anywhere as long as you’ve got a good, supportive pair of shoes.
A second exercise recommended for pregnant women is swimming. Safe, gentle, and providing a full-body workout, the buoyancy of swimming is also great for women who deal with lower-back pain or swelling in their legs. The cool water may also help ease nausea and feel refreshing on hot days. Sign up for a water aerobics class designed for pregnant women at your local gym.
Pilates workouts are also low-impact and therefore generally safe for expecting moms. With these exercises you’ll strengthen your core and abdominal muscles that support your belly, improve low-back pain, and increase flexibility. After the first trimester, avoid exercises that require you to lie on your back or twist sharply. Look for a Pilates workout that’s specially designed for pregnant women.
2. Strength Training
Lifting weights and performing resistance exercises are safe during pregnancy as long as you’re not overdoing it, using correct form, and lifting with slow, controlled movements. Building and strengthening muscle will prepare your body for labor, speed recovery, and provide the strength you need for carrying baby and all of the baby’s equipment. Work with your personal trainer to develop a safe weight-lifting routine, do simple bodyweight exercises that aren’t too jarring, or use the weight machines at the gym.
Feel achy and have trouble relaxing? Take a few minutes each day to stretch. You’ll increase your flexibility to prepare for childbirth, loosen and relax your muscles, and relieve aches and pains.
Develop a flexibility routine that leads you through stretches for each body part—your neck, shoulders, arms, back, abs, sides, glutes, hips, hamstrings, quads, and calves. Yoga is another option for flexibility exercises. The focused breathing and meditation during the movements may help relieve stress.
Before stretching, make sure your muscles are warmed up by taking a brief walk or putting your body through full-body movements. As you perform your stretches, be sure to move gently and slowly. Hold each stretch without bouncing for 10 to 30 seconds, breathing the whole time. Also, be careful to stop stretching if it hurts, and avoid stretches that require you to lie on your back.
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If you live in the Gilbert area, treat yourself right by calling or emailing today to get started on an exercise program that will change your life for the best.