Pregnancy may seem to involve many restrictions and restraints like no eating sushi, drinking wine, or riding roller coasters for the next nine months. However, one thing you can enjoy that will also provide wonderful benefits to both you and your growing bundle of joy is exercise!
These 6 exercises will help you have a fit pregnancy, keep you on track for an appropriate amount of weight gain , and help you recover quicker after your precious little one arrives.
Walking is an ideal exercise . It is an easy way to get moving, and improve upon cardiovascular fitness level! In fact, your doctor may recommend walking during the latter part of pregnancy if you need help inducing labor.
The great thing about walking is you can change up the location to keep it interesting. Find a scenic lake or park and get some fresh air with a beautiful view of nature, or catch up on your favorite shows while walking on a treadmill. It can also be a nice activity for the entire family to enjoy together, or invite a friend to chat with for a healthy get-together.
Build your strength
You can structure these next four pregnancy exercises into an ongoing routine. The Mayo Clinic recommends that most women exercise during pregnancy 30 minutes a day, most days of the week .
Perform the following strength exercises for 10-15 repetitions, then repeated 3 times with a 1 minute rest in between.
A squat is one of the most effective exercises that anyone can do. It is completely safe to perform this move while pregnant. Moreover, strengthening the lower body will prove helpful during labor.
To perform a proper squat , begin by stepping the legs out into a wide stance. Keep your back straight, bend your knees, and lower your bottom like you are sitting in a chair. Focus on keeping your knees aligned with your ankles, and push up from the heels to engage your glutes.
3. One-arm row
This strength exercise will help build a stronger back, thus reducing potential back pain as well.
To prepare for the one-arm row , find a sturdy piece of furniture or countertop about the height of your hips. Place one arm on it for support, pull the core in tight, and lean over with a straight back. Grip one dumbbell in the opposite hand, and pull the weight up alongside your body while keeping the weight close. Repeat for your desired number of repetitions, then switch to the opposite arm.
4. Bicep curl
A bicep curl will not only help your arms feel toned and give you a little boost of confidence in a tank top, it can also prepare you for carrying your baby and the car seat! Since the average weight of an infant car seat is between ten and twenty pounds, your arms may thank you for building up the strength to tote it around town before your baby arrives.
To perform a bicep curl , begin with a dumbbell in each hand and your arms at your sides. Bend the arms keeping them close to your sides as you lift the weight up towards your shoulders. Flex the bicep at the top, then lower the weight in a controlled movement on the way back down.
5. Shoulder press
Another exercise to tone and strengthen the arms is the shoulder press . This exercise can be performed standing or in a seated position with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight. Bend your elbows, and raise your arms to shoulder height. The dumbbells should be about ear level for this starting position. Raise the arms overhead, bringing the dumbbells to almost touch right above your head. Lower slowly in a controlled motion as you return to the starting position.
Since these strength exercises require a weight of some kind, you can purchase light dumbbells between 5-10 pounds. However, you can simplify your pregnancy fitness routine even more. If you do not have a dumbbell handy, then instead use a jug of water! A gallon jug of water filled weighs approximately eight pounds.
Build a stronger core
The plank is final exercise you can add to any routine. A strong core can be exceptionally helpful during pregnancy and is actually one of the keys to helping prevent lower back pain. Additionally, since having a strong core makes any activity easier, it will also prove to be beneficial during labor and delivery.
To perform a plank , start face down on the ground balancing on your forearms and feet. Create a straight line with your body, being careful not to let your butt raise up too high. Hold your core in tight, and maintain this position for as long as you can. Make your starting goal 20 seconds if you are new to planking, then increase by 5-10 seconds until you have reached one minute.
Make a plan
It is always a good idea to discuss your pregnancy fitness plans with your doctor before you begin! Remember to stay hydrated, and pace yourself. If you are new to working out, then start with a shorter period of time, and work your way up to thirty minutes.
If you would like more information about the best types of exercise during pregnancy, then contact The Woman’s Clinic at (501) 222-4175.