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Posted by Dr. Scott Wilson | 16-Apr-2018
When you’re expecting, it’s important not to remain sedentary for nine months. Besides being good for your body, your baby will also benefit from exercise. Pregnant women who exercise report more energy, less back pain and an improved body image. Plus, when you remain active during your pregnancy, you’ll have an easier time returning to your pre-pregnancy body. You don’t have to spend hours in the gym, but maintaining a moderate fitness regime while you’re expecting will keep you from gaining too much weight, remove some of the stress from your joints, and prepare your muscles for labour.
To get you moving during your pregnancy and after you’ve discussed your options with a physician, try the following six exercises:
Walk your way to a healthy pregnancy
Walking is a great way to stay fit for all three trimesters. When you walk, you are getting a moderate cardio workout without putting much stress on your knees and ankles. Make sure you have supportive footwear like running shoes, and you can even ask your physician about custom orthotics since your feet will probably be swollen from the pregnancy.
Start simple by walking around the block or spend a few minutes on a treadmill. Avoid hilly surfaces, trails, and areas with uneven ground. Keep in mind that as your pregnancy progresses, your centre of gravity will shift. You may lose your sense of balance and have issues with coordination. If this is the case, walk carefully and stop if you feel dizzy or nauseous.
Swimming does the body good
Water makes us buoyant which will be a welcome relief for pregnant women. You’ll feel free of your extra weight as you move through the water. Furthermore, you’ll enjoy a better range of motion that does not put extra pressure on your already exhausted joints. Most community centres offer water aerobics for pregnant women. If you don’t live near a public pool and have your own backyard pool, stick to walking in water or finding a stroke that doesn’t strain or hurt your back, neck, and shoulders. Kickboards and pool noodles can help strengthen the buttocks and leg muscles.
When you enter the pool, hold onto the railing since your centre of balance may be off due to the pregnancy. You also don’t want to slip and injure yourself on the stairs. Never jump into the pool when you’re pregnant as you could bruise your abdomen. Finally, stay out of saunas, steam rooms, and hot tubs to avoid overheating.
Cycling without going anywhere
Stationary bikes are great for pregnant women because they raise your heart rate, are a good form of cardio and keep your joints from experiencing too much stress. You can take a special spin class for expectant mothers or use your own stationary bike to work up a moderate sweat. Moreover, when you exercise with a stationary bike, your body weight is supported, and the risk of you falling off the bike is very low. As you move along with your pregnancy, you will probably have to adjust the seat and handlebars to fit your expanding belly.
Yoga melts the stress away
Many yoga studios offer prenatal yoga because it helps pregnant women clear their minds and maintain their flexibility. When you do yoga, whether you are expecting or not, your muscles and circulatory system benefit. Yoga stimulates blood flow and helps you breathe while making your muscles stronger. This is especially important because you want to maintain a healthy blood pressure throughout your pregnancy. Also, the breathing and relaxation techniques you’re given in a yoga class can be used while you’re in labour. You’ll be able to maintain your breathing and stay calm as you welcome your child to the world.
There are a few important things to remember about prenatal yoga:
Stay away from positions that will knock you off balance or cause you to overbalance to maintain your posture.
When you reach your second trimester, do not attempt poses that require you to lie on your stomach or flat on your back because the weight of your belly can put undue pressure on your veins and arteries decreasing the amount of blood that is supposed to flow to the heart.
You may be tempted to overdo it with the stretching because you’re not as flexible as you were before you fell pregnant, but overstretching can lead to injuries.
Aerobics that won’t wear you out
Low-impact aerobics help you maintain muscle tone and keep your heart and lungs working properly during pregnancy. Instead of focusing on doing circuit training or taking a high-intensity aerobics class (unless it’s prenatal aerobics) focus on the low-impact version. Low-impact aerobics are exercises where one foot is always planted firmly on the ground. This type of aerobics is perfect for pregnant women because it helps you maintain your balance, keeps joint stress to a minimum and reduces the risk of weakened pelvic floor muscles (to keep urine leakage at bay).
Weightlifting without straining
If you lift weights regularly, there’s no reason to stop when you’re expecting. If you’re not a regular weightlifter, you too can benefit from this type of strength training while you’re pregnant. All you need is a sturdy chair and 5-8lb weights.
Sit on the chair’s edge with your feet on the floor, back straight and your arms at your sides. Hold one weight in each hand with your palms facing towards your body. Bend your elbows, allowing your arms to form a 90-degree angle. Lift the weights to your shoulders while your elbows remain bent. Lower your arms to your sides before returning to the starting position. Repeat for 1-3 reps to keep your biceps and shoulders in top shape.
Remember, the goal is to stay healthy and fit without overexerting yourself. Contact Physiomed today to learn more on staying active during your pregnancy.
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