Pregnancy exerts many demands on a body. While getting proper rest and nutrition while pregnant are important, there is increasing evidence that suggests pregnant women should engage in regular exercise as well. As the most basic level, regular appropriate exercise improves muscle tone, strength, and stamina; all of these improvements help during the physical and mental challenges of pregnancy.
Focus on Gentle Exercises & Stretching
While each situation is unique, any exercise program begun during pregnancy should focus on gentle strength training and flexibility programs. Advantages to all exercise include improved mood, better sleep habits, the ability to physical adapt to the extra weight of pregnancy, and the better to prepare one’s self for post-birth life. A combination of aerobic exercises and strength/flexibility exercises will likely yield the best results. It is also important to note that any exercise regime may be modified throughout the pregnancy.
Incorporate Exercise in Everyday Life
The exercise program that is adopted should be one that can be sustained. Find exercises that appeal to one’s style and also be sure to incorporate more physical activities into daily life. Walking to the store, taking the stairs, and gardening are all ways to keep active during pregnancy. Any exercise program during pregnancy should also avoid high impact activities or activities with greater risks for spills and falls.
Start Easy & Carefully
If you are new to exercise, be sure to consult with your physician before embarking on a new program. Always take it easy at the beginning and avoid injury or discomfort. An excellent way to get exercise is through simple, brisk walking. If you can walk thirty minutes of day, five days a week, your heart and leg muscles will benefit. This walking can be organized (i.e., with friends around a track) or incorporated into your daily activities (i.e., walk to corner store, walk to work, etc.). Better yet, do both: have regular organized walks and also incorporate more walking into your daily routine. Jogging is an extension of running and is an excellent approach to working your heart and body. However, jogging is not recommended for beginners during pregnancy.
Swimming is a wonderful approach to exercise. It is low-impact, works a variety of muscle groups, and is highly aerobic. You can enjoy lap swims or there are now aqua-natal classes bringing other mothers together for group water exercise. Swimming and water exercises can be enjoyed throughout pregnancy and may be especially comforting in late stages where back pain and leg swelling are more pronounced.
Yoga for Flexibility
Exercises such as yoga and pilates are excellent low-impact ways to maintain muscle tone and improve flexibility. Combined with aerobic activities these exercises keep you supple and relaxed. Pilates also provides excellent exercises to strengthen your core and pelvic floor muscles which, if not tended to, will weaken during pregnancy.
Use Caution & Recognize the Risks
Much like running and jogging, weight training is a good source of exercise if you are already engaged in the activity prior to pregnancy. Pregnancy is not the time to start a weight training program. Other exercise programs that may be beneficial include low-impact pilates and gentle dancing. Anything that keeps you moving is beneficial, but you want to limit the jumping movements and you want to reduce risks of falling.
Pregnancy is a wonderful, albeit stressful, period of time. Proper exercise, especially in the form of guided classes designed for mother-to-be, can relieve stress, improve mood, and provide a foundation for both a healthy birth and prosperous post-birth life.
Leslie Perez enjoys writing about beauty and health. She is dedicated to living a life that is full of happiness that comes from living healthfully. Aside from writing about makeup routines and healthful eating- she enjoys writing about exerciss, especially for pregnant woman.