Although exercising during pregnancy may seem risky, if done properly, it can be healthy for both mother and child. Maintaining an active lifestyle while pregnant can lead to many benefits, but mommas-to-be need to carefully choose which exercises they do and for how long. From the multiple health advantages of working out to safe exercises you can practice, here is everything you need to know about staying fit when expecting and 7 safe exercises during pregnancy that you should try.
Benefits of Safe Exercise During Pregnancy
Just as there are many health benefits tied to exercising during our everyday lives, there are advantages to expecting mothers staying active throughout pregnancy. If there aren’t any health conditions your doctor is concerned about, he or she will most likely recommend working out as a healthy activity for you and your baby. These are just a few of the health benefits that come from safe exercise during pregnancy.
Benefits for the Mother
- Increased Energy
- Increased Strength
- Reduced Backache
- Reduced Bloating
- Reduced Constipation
- Reduced Gestational Diabetes Risk
- Reduced Swelling
Benefits for the Baby
- Less Body Fat: Studies have shown babies of mothers who practice safe exercise during pregnancy are born with less body fat.
- Heart Health: Fetuses have also been shown to have lower heart rates (a sign of good heart health) when their mothers regularly work out while pregnant.
Safe Exercises During Pregnancy
To get you started on your fitness journey, here are seven safe exercises to do during pregnancy.
Yoga, specifically prenatal yoga, is a perfect exercise for expectant mothers looking to relax and unwind. While regular yoga is a safe exercise during pregnancy, some positions may be uncomfortable or even painful to try. Prenatal yoga simply modifies these difficult positions to reduce any discomfort. It also focuses on breathing, stretches, and strengthening moves that help prepare you for labor. Yoga has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and stabilize your moods, so get into your vinyasa flow and enjoy!
Nothing is more simple and calming than a nice stroll around the park or your neighborhood. Even though walking isn’t complex or full of fancy moves, it’s just as healthy for a mama and her baby. This is a great way to stay active during pregnancy because you can easily fit it into your schedule and all you need are comfy shoes! Another benefit to keep in mind is that walking is a safe activity all the way up until you give birth! It can even help induce labor when the time comes.
If you feel like spicing things up, consider bringing some light weights and start walking for 15-20 minutes each session. You can slowly increase the time and intensity as you start to feel more comfortable.
Swimming is one of the most rejuvenating exercises you can do while pregnant because you feel light as a feather! When you swim around the pool, you weigh 10% less than you do on land. This gives your joints and ligaments a well-deserved break from the extra weight caused by that little bundle of joy. If swimming laps isn’t your cup of tea, consider taking water aerobics classes for a fun group experience!
Because swimming uses all parts of your body, it provides a multitude of health benefits. Besides toning your arms, legs, back, and chest, this exercise strengthens your heart and lung capacity.
Lifting weights isn’t just for the guys! Expecting mothers can easily adjust their weight lifting routine to fit their growing belly. This workout helps to improve your strength and muscular endurance which is quite fitting when it comes to giving birth and carrying your baby as they grow.
Overall, you should focus on a low-weight, high-rep workout. Keep the weights light to prevent any straining, and amp up your repetitions to close the gap (about 12-15 reps per set). Switching to machines is another option for this exercise. They help to limit your range of motion to prevent any injury.
One other tip to remember is to skip isometric movements – movements that require you to hold still in a certain position. We often forget to breathe during these movements which can make you lightheaded!
Grab your pilates socks and get ready to feel the burn as you strengthen your core in pilates class! Pilates is generally safe for expectant mothers, but once again, you may want to find a prenatal pilates class that helps to further make this a safe exercise during pregnancy. After you’ve done that, you can enjoy the benefits of this popular workout.
Pilates is all about strengthening your core and lengthening your muscles. Your modified workout should do all of this with little to no impact which leads to awesome health benefits. Pilates helps to ease back pain, improve flexibility, and maintain your posture as your belly grows.
It’s bike riding time and the destination is a healthy mind and body! Just like swimming, stationary cycling takes pressure off your joints while still getting your blood flowing.
Whether you like to call it spin or indoor cycling, stationary cycling is a safe exercise during pregnancy as long as you follow the proper safety precautions recommended by your doctor. When practicing this safe exercise during pregnancy, remember to adjust your handlebars to help you sit up straight and relieve pressure on your lower back. Also, stay seated during hill climbs because standing is a little too intense for your body when you’re pregnant. In general, listening to your body and not exerting yourself are the best ways to go about stationary cycling!
If you’ve got the moves, keep on groovin’ throughout your pregnancy! Dance classes are considered a safe exercise during pregnancy because they don’t require super intense, high-impact movements. As long as you avoid jumping and balance-related movements, you should be good to go. Zumba is an example of a fun dance class that will get your heart racing and your endorphins flowing!
Practicing safe exercise during pregnancy is a great way to feel productive and improve your health throughout each trimester. While the thought of working out may seem daunting and uncomfortable, don’t give up too quickly. Remember that you don’t need to turn into a fitness queen overnight in order for you and your baby to be happy and healthy. If you need assistance, look for a gym or trainer who specializes in safe exercise during pregnancy to help you find the right activities for you.
Exercising for just 30 minutes on most (or all) days of the week can help better your health. If that seems like too much for you, try being active for just 20 minutes, 3 or 4 days a week. Anything is better than nothing! It is recommended to speak with your doctor before starting any strenuous activities during pregnancy to ensure it is safe for you.
Now that you know all about safe exercises during pregnancy, get out there and start making it happen! Keeping fitness as part of your routine is now beneficial for you, as well as your baby.