Congratulations! You’re expecting! With the excitement of pregnancy and all the possibility that becoming a parent holds, you also get swollen ankles, an achy back, and sleepless nights. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was something that you could do to minimize some of the more uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy and provide you with energy and vitality?
The good news, there is! Exercise!
Exercise is one of the most effective ways to stay healthy and happy during your pregnancy. Working out while you are pregnant has numerous benefits for both mom and baby; you’ll have less discomfort, you’ll recover faster, and you and baby will be healthier.
Not to worry, mama. You don’t have to be an iron-triathlete or a champion bodybuilder to benefit from activity during pregnancy. Getting the okay from your practitioner is an excellent way to start on your pathway to pregnancy fitness. Check out these fun, yet safe, ways to exercise both you and baby, as you prepare to meet each other soon:
Swimming is great cardio, and it helps tone and tighten areas of your body that may need a bit of attention now that everything is expanding. In the water, you are likely to feel more flexible and agile, and the additional support from the water surrounding you will make you less prone to injury. Take care to walk on slippery pool surfaces and around slides that may have standing water nearby; safety is just as important, if not more so, than exercise.
Walking is an exercise that almost anyone can do. It can be used as a means of getting from place to place, or you may use it as an excuse for some social time with friends and family. You can walk until the day you deliver, and the best part about this workout is that you can quickly incorporate baby into your postpartum workouts with relative ease.
With the okay from your health practitioner, it may be appropriate to do some kickboxing. The perfect blend of cardio and muscle toning, kickboxing keeps you flexible and toned, while providing a fun and energizing workout. Leave plenty of space around you to avoid contact with other people and objects, and look forward to the sweat that you’ll work up as you put on your boxing gloves.
Yoga is the perfect blend of flexibility, strength, and cardio exercise. It addresses every part of the body, soothes the soul, and calms the mind. All of this is excellent preparation for the miracle marathon of birth; make sure you check with your doctor to see what types of yoga are right and appropriate for your growing belly, and consider taking a class with other mamas to share the experience of self-care with you.
5. Weight lifting
Believe it or not, weight lifting is a completely acceptable form of exercise that can benefit both mother and baby during pregnancy. Opt for more reps using a lower weight, if possible, and avoid postures and sequences that may test your balance. Your center of gravity is shifting, and you need to compensate for that as you continue to develop.
How much exercise should I be doing?
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology suggests that at least 30 minutes daily of moderate activity is enough to keep most women in good shape. You can sprinkle short sessions throughout the day, or you may engage in one power session to meet your physical fitness needs.
Risks associated with exercise while pregnant
This is not the time to enter a water ski competition or a horse riding exhibition; sticking with activities that your body is familiar with will help to reduce the risk of injury to you and keep you safe while engaging in exercise. Get the go-ahead from your practitioner before starting any kind of exercise program, and if you feel faint, nauseous, dizzy, or experience discharge or bleeding, stop and seek medical attention promptly, to avoid injury to you or to your unborn child.
Exciting times are ahead….are you ready?
You have an exciting opportunity to improve your fitness so you can meet your baby in the best shape of your life. Establish healthy habits now, continue them after you deliver your precious parcel, and look forward to a lifetime of health and happiness!