Getting yourself off the couch and into the gym can be challenging enough, more so when you’re pregnant. When you’re constantly nauseous and exhausted from carrying all that baby weight, exercising is probably the last thing on your mind. However, all the more does it become important to stay active during pregnancy. Exercising provides a wealth of benefits for expectant mothers, like giving a burst of much-needed energy, fighting off fatigue, improving sleep, and preparing the body for labor and delivery.
Researchers from the University of Granada have even found that moderate-intensity exercise three times a week during the second and third trimester of pregnancy reduces the risk of high birth weight and C-section delivery by half. But of course, you must listen to your body and your doctor at all times. Generally, experts recommend sticking to a light to moderate exercise program. A good tip when gauging the intensity of your workout is to ensure you can still hold a conversation whilst exercising, which we previously discussed on CompleteBody. If you become breathless while talking, then your workout is most likely too strenuous for you.
Here are some recommended workouts to try when you’re expecting.
Barre / Pilates
Barre and Pilates are low-impact workouts that train your body to become stronger, more flexible, and more balanced. It also involves a lot of deep breathing and relaxation to help you ease into the positions. It’s great for pregnant women since it strengthens your core, pelvic floor muscles, and back muscles, which are all key to staying strong amidst that baby bump.
Take your cue from celebrity yoga instructor Hilaria Baldwin. Back when she was expecting her first child, she emphasized the important of exercise in her daily life. Her routine included hour-long barre classes seven days a week, which she claimed eased the pregnancy process.
As the baby grows, it’s normal to feel more tension in the lower back, hips, chest, upper back, neck and shoulders. Pre-natal yoga is known to help relieve stress from those specific muscle groups. Even better is that it helps you build a connection with your baby, since the practice lets you slow down and focus attention to your body.
Erica Ziel of Core Athletica Inc. recommends aiming for 30 to 60 minutes of exercise six days a week while pregnant, but it doesn’t always have to be a hardcore workout. Walking is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health and whip your body in shape before labor, since it increases flexibility and tones your hip flexor muscles. Regardless of your fitness level, anyone can do it.
Low Impact Aerobics
Aerobics is another good way to get that blood flow going. With a strong cardiovascular system, you become less tired and more energized throughout the day. Aerobics also helps maintain muscle tone, which will support the physical changes your body is going through. This means less soreness and better balance.
Medicine Ball Exercises
World famous tennis player Serena Williams is never one to shy away from a fierce workout. Coral News states that Williams is the most successful player in the annals of the women’s game. As the new baby momma has shown, not even pregnancy can slow her down. When she was eight months pregnant, she posted a video on Snapchat of herself doing medicine ball slams. Medicine ball slams are ideal for pregnancy because it is low-impact and doesn’t put too much pressure on one’s pelvic floor, despite being a full-body workout. Just be sure to stay within the light weight range and consult with a trainer if you can.
Article prepared by Lucy Craig