‘Pregnant women workouts’ undoubtedly makes it to one of the top search history slots for most moms-to-be. Exercising during pregnancy can be immensely helpful. It has been proven to yield incredible results for both the physical as well as mental wellbeing of pregnant women. Yet, only about 40% of pregnant women indulge in it.
Your workouts don’t have to be long and stressful. 150 minutes of moderate physical aerobic activity/week during and after pregnancy will serve the purpose well. You can choose to exercise five times a week for thirty minutes or ten times a week for fifteen minutes. If you are already accustomed to heavy physical activity like running before pregnancy, continue the same.
Here are twelve tips to guide you on your way to fitness, however, we recommend that you consult your doctor first before adopting the below –
1. Take a quick stroll if you’re not used to regular workouts.
A quick stroll around the neighbourhood will offer adequate cardiovascular activity without stressing your knees and ankles. You can also walk on your terrace or verandah. It is completely your choice, and you can walk anywhere you want to at a time that suits you best. Ask your close friends and family for company so that it becomes something you look forward to every day. Fresh air will make you healthier from inside out by brightening up your mood and keeping your immune system in check at the same time. Fresh air can do wonders for both the body and mind.
Steer away from obstacles like rocks and potholes, wear supportive footwear and walk on smooth surfaces. You are good to go!
2. Buoyancy can offer relief.
As pregnancy progresses, your increasing body weight may cause discomfort. Swimming, walking in water and aqua aerobics are some fun activities that enable motion without putting too much pressure on the joints.
Breaststroke is a great choice as it is comfortable and does not strain the neck, shoulder or back muscles. If you want to strengthen your leg and buttock muscles, you can use a kickboard.
Here are some safety tips that you must keep in mind while swimming –
- Use the railing while ascending and descending to avoid slipping and hurting yourself.
- Do not dive or jump into the water as it can impact the abdomen.
- Avoid visiting warm pools, steam rooms and hot tubs as overheating can be dangerous.
3. Squatting can help during labour.
Squatting will help you in opening up your pelvis during labour. Here’s how you can do it –
Keep your back straight and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Slowly, lower your buttocks while keeping your feet flat. Your knees should be no further apart than your feet.
Reach the lowest point possible and hold for 10-20 seconds. Push yourself up and repeat.
4. Practice pelvic tilts to reduce back pain.
Pelvic tilts strengthen the abdominal muscles and thus aid in reducing back pain. Here is a step-by-step guide for the same –
Get down on your hands and knees. Pull your abdomen in and tilt your hips forward while rounding the back.
Hold for a few seconds and release. Let your back drop. Repeat this over ten times.
5. Kegel exercises can reduce the risk of urine leakage.
Kegel exercises are simple and can tone the muscles on the pelvic floor. Strong pelvic muscles will make it easier for you to push during delivery. Further, it will also prevent incontinence afterwards.
6. Opt for spinning if you are a first-time exerciser
Spinning is nothing but cycling on a stationary bike. It will raise your heart rate without pressuring your joints and pelvis. As the bike is stationary, it will support your body weight, and the risk of falling is minimal. In later stages of pregnancy, a higher handlebar will feel more comfortable.
7. Socialize in low impact aerobics classes.
Low impact aerobics imply that at least one foot stays on the ground at all times. It strengthens the heart and lungs while limiting the stress on the joints. It can also help you tone your muscles and improve balance.
You can opt for classes designed specifically for pregnant women. These classes will have the advantage of a trainer who is well-qualified to deal with your situation. If you are already into aerobics, ensure that you let your instructor know that you are pregnant so that suitable modifications can be made to the exercise regimen.
8. Maintain flexibility with yoga.
Yoga helps in pain and stress management and keeps the joints limber. It strengthens the muscles and boosts flexibility. It also stimulates blood circulation, and practising it regularly will result in healthy blood pressure. Finally, Yoga is a fantastic way to relax. You will even get to learn techniques to stay calm during labour in pregnant women yoga classes.
However, keep these points in mind as the pregnancy progresses –
- Avoid poses that may involve overbalancing or lying on the abdomen.
- Spend more time doing exercises that involve lying on the back.
- Avoid overstretching as it can lead to injury.
9. Choose the right attire.
Dress up in loose-fitting and comfortable clothes and invest in a sturdy support bra. To further prevent injury, choose specific shoes for the exercise you have decided to practice. If you are experiencing swelling in your legs, you can wear compression stockings.
10. Avoid overheating like the plague.
Drink plenty of water before, during and after the exercise to keep yourself hydrated. Don’t exert yourself too much and always avoid overheating. Finally, get up slowly and gradually to prevent dizziness.
11. Take appropriate measures to avoid losing balance.
Always exercise on a flat surface to avoid losing balance and hurting yourself. Weight fluctuations during pregnancy change the centre of gravity of the body, which puts extra strain on the joints and muscles in the lower back. Negligence can lead to severe consequences.
12. Track your exercise schedule.
As pregnancy progresses, there will be several changes in your body. It is important to monitor the effect of each activity and maintain flexibility in your regimen whenever required.
The bottom line
Though exercise has myriad benefits, you should consult your doctor if you are suffering from asthma, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes or any other pregnancy-related condition. You can then arrive at a program to match your unique needs.
Happy Working Out, Ladies!