If you are pregnant, then you will want to do everything possible to ensure that your body is nourished, strong and prepared to carry and deliver a healthy baby. Exercising regularly is a wonderful way to maintain your health during pregnancy, as many gentle, fun and effective options are available.
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Try one or several of the 10 exercises described as follows to safely boost energy, muscle tone and cardiovascular health while you are expecting. Aim to exercise at least three times a week for 30 minutes each time.
1. Yoga Poses
Performing certain yoga poses, such as those that do not require you to lie on your back, can help you to become more limber, toned and mentally relaxed throughout your pregnancy. Try poses deemed as appropriate for expectant mothers, including the child’s pose, cat pose and sitting side stretch pose.
2. Swimming/Water-Based Exercises
Consider heading to the nearest pool for a relaxing, stress-free pregnancy workout that tones your arms and legs. Swim laps in a spacious area, or brace your arms on the side of the pool as you move your legs in a cycling motion.
3. Brisk Walking
Walking at a brisk pace offers many of the same health benefits as jogging or running, but is typically regarded as a safer option for pregnant women. Pump your arms lightly as you walk if you wish to add a bit more intensity to your workout.
4. Low-impact Aerobics
Aerobic exercises can be tailored to suit expectant mothers; arm and leg movements are performed with a smaller range of motion yet are still able to get your heart pumping. Choose aerobic videos or classes that are specifically designed for pregnant participants rather than attempting a traditional workout.
5. Lifting Light Weights
You can firm up your arm and leg muscles during pregnancy without having to leave your chair! Sit comfortably as you do reps with lightweight barbells to tone your arms and strap-on ankle weights for your legs. Experiment with both straight-arm and curled-arm exercises, alternating as you go along.
6. Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises target your pelvic floor muscles, which comes in handy for protecting against incontinence in late pregnancy and strengthening your body for the labor process. Sit or stand as you squeeze your pelvic muscles in a manner that mimics holding in urine flow. Hold for 10 seconds, release, and then repeat.
7. Pilates Workout
Pilates, an exercise technique involving controlled and precise movements, is ideal for helping your pregnant body to increase endurance and flexibility. Breathe deeply as you perform Pilates exercises such as “wag the tail,” thigh stretches, plank poses, side bends and pelvic tilts.
8. Stationary Bicycling
Another low-impact form of exercise that allows pregnant women to assume a sitting position, stationary bicycling can easily be done right in your home. Adjust the speed in which you cycle according to your comfort level and incorporate arm movement if your machine has movable handles.
9. Barre Stretches
If you have access to a ballet barre, then you can benefit from stretching and strengthening your core upper and lower body muscles. Take care to avoid abdominal barre exercises while pregnant, and keep your hip, leg and arm movements limited to a small range of motion.
10. Tai Chi Movements
The gentle and slow-paced movements associated with Tai Chi are ideal to practice during pregnancy as these exercises improve balance, posture, endurance and overall well-being. Combine the swaying and gliding of your upper and lower body with focused breathing as you engage in a Tai Chi class.
Even if you were accustomed to higher-intensity workouts prior to your pregnancy, it is best to err on the side of caution when exercising as your baby develops. Take care to prevent straining your muscles, putting stress on your abdominal region or engaging in contact sports. Consult a medical professional if you have concerns about specific exercises as they relate to your pregnancy.