5 Exercises to keep fit during pregnancy | Ash FitMom

Written by: Ash FitMom

While pregnancy is certainly not the time to embark on a rigorous exercise or weight loss regime, it should also not be used as an excuse to remain sedentary for 9 months. There are numerous benefits to remaining fit and active throughout your pregnancy such as preparing your body for the physical challenge of labour, elevating your mood, helping you fight fatigue and sleep better at night, and making your recovery post-birth a lot easier.

A combination of aerobic exercises (to get your heart and lungs pumping without causing physical stress) and weight training (to improve strength, flexibility and posture) is ideal. The bigger your belly gets the more you’ll need to adapt the intensity of your workouts. It is important to note that exercising to the point of exhaustion is NOT recommended. Be sensible, listen to your body, stay well hydrated and ensure adequate rest periods between exercises.

Here are 5 exercises which I strongly recommend in order to keep fit during your pregnancy:

  1. Squats: Squats are an excellent resistance exercise to perform during pregnancy. They help you to maintain strength and range of motion in your hips, glutes, core and pelvic floor muscles. By squatting during labour you open up your pelvis which assists in the baby’s descent.
  2. Bicep curl and press: soon you’ll be schlepping a baby around so it’s important to keep your biceps, triceps and shoulders strong and toned with this basic weight training exercise. As your bump grows you can adapt the exercise to sitting on a chair to support your back and you can lower the number of reps or decrease the weight of the dumbbells.
  3. Pelvic floor exercises: The muscles of your pelvic floor come under huge strain during pregnancy and childbirth. One of my favourite pelvic floor exercises is the bridge squeeze. This will help to reduce or avoid stress incontinence (leaking urine) after pregnancy.
  4. The pregnancy plank: a strong core during pregnancy is essential. This has nothing to do with how your abs look. It’s all about how they function. The “preggie plank” is a great way to strengthen your core without putting strain on your lower back, as well as loosen any tight muscles. This is an adapted version of a normal front plank.
  5. Low impact cardio: walking/jogging, swimming, or cycling on a stationary bike are all great ways to elevate your heart rate so that you feel like you’ve actually had a workout. When you hit the final stretch of your pregnancy, even the above may feel too uncomfortable and that’s when I think it’s amazing to incorporate pregnancy yogainto your workout routine. This is a wonderful way to stretch, reduce stress and anxiety, focus your breath, connect with your baby and meet other expectant mothers.

Pregnancy allows you 9 months to mentally and physically prepare for the birth of your child. Labour is THE most physically challenging event your body can go through – surely you would want to be adequately prepared? By moving your body and strengthening your muscles, this will ensure a better overall experience for both you and your bun in the oven.

Image credit:www. jennielizabeth.com

Ash Iovino

ash@fitmomsa.co.za
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