You can stretch, swim or walk your way to increased pregnancy well-being! Studies show exercising while pregnant is a boon for not only your physical health but also the emotional welfare of mothers-to-be. Stress reduction and increased muscle tone are two of many major advantages of staying committed to a fitness program while preparing for the exhilarating birth of your bundle of joy.
Expectant mothers might feel extra weary performing pre-pregnancy exercise routines, but that is because you are exercising for two, with your heart working harder to circulate the blood of both baby and mom. Just remember women in the midst of pregnancy are not out to make fitness gains but to maintain fitness levels.
Swimming – Suit up and paddle through the water, buoyant as a beach ball! Swimming is one of the safest exercises for pregnant women, according to American Pregnancy Association. You’ll feel “weightless” as you glide through the water, with zero stress to your joints. Your heart rate will rise and you’ll enjoy cardiovascular exercise without fear of losing your balance.
Walking – Grab your walking shoes and hit the trails or treadmill! You’re in control of your pace and time. A simple walking routine gives you a strong heart, burns extra calories to prevent excess weight gain and makes it a whole lot easier to keep up your exercise regimen after giving birth.
Yoga – A few tried-and-tested prenatal yoga poses will keep you limber, tone your muscles and improve your balance during the nine months of expectant motherhood. Not only will your body stay in physical shape, but you will learn to breathe deeply and consciously, which, according to BabyCenter, will ease you through labor, birth and new motherhood. Be careful to stay away from excessively rigorous forms of yoga while pregnant to prevent injury.
Indoor Cycling – Ramping up the miles on a stationary bike will boost your heart rate, increase your cardiovascular fitness and eliminate any fear of falling or losing your balance. Your joints will feel less stress as you cycle!
Stretching – Holding a few seconds while seated with your knees bent and leaning forward to create a stretch in your pelvic, hip and thigh muscles helps to lessen back pain. You can add a wide range of other stretches to keep your body limber and prepped for the birthing process.
A note of caution: Pregnant women should avoid contact sports, like basketball or soccer, that increase the likelihood of injury to you or your baby, as well as activities that increase the risk of falling, including outdoor cycling and horseback riding.
When properly done, exercise is a guaranteed mood booster. Endorphins rush to your brain during exercise, helping you feel good. It also lowers your risk of depression and anxiety. Pregnancy and stamina for physical exertion are perfectly compatible.