Pregnant and Fit Exercises to Keep Your Growing Body in Shape
Your pregnancy is a time of expectation. You’re looking forward to welcoming your baby into the world and your home. You’re thinking about the ways in which your life will change as you and your partner plan to expand your family. Being pregnant is also a time of feeling tired, sluggish, and stressed. As your body grows, you’ll experience bouts of discomfort, low energy levels, and even a poor self-image. Even though it’s the last thing on your mind, exercising is one of the most effective ways to feel great – physically and mentally – while you’re pregnant.
Below, we’ll describe the many benefits you can enjoy by working out on a daily basis. We’ll also provide a quick checklist of the best types of exercises for improving your cardiovascular system, staying flexible, and maintaining your strength.
The Benefits Of Exercising While You’re Pregnant
With your energy levels dipping, and a task list that grows by the hour, you need a reliable way to give yourself an energy boost. A daily workout helps to release endorphins, providing a natural burst of energy.
Regular exercise delivers an assortment of other advantages. It helps you to expend some of your residual energy, so you’ll sleep more restfully at night. It can also lower your stress and improve your self-image by elevating your level of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that influences your mood.
Working out keeps your muscles strong and joints limber. Both help to reduce a substantial amount of the discomfort you’ll likely experience during your pregnancy. Exercise also lets your body prepare for labor and childbirth while laying the groundwork for getting back in shape more quickly.
Working Your Cardiovascular System
Keeping your cardiovascular system in top condition is critical, and increasingly so as you enter your second and third trimesters. However, some aerobic exercises are more appropriate for pregnant women than others.
For example, walking and swimming are ideal because both are easy on your joints. Walking, in particular, is good because you can do it anywhere as long as you’re wearing supportive, comfortable shoes. Swimming puts a wide range of muscles to work, making it a great all-around exercise that you can enjoy during all three trimesters.
How To Stay Flexible
Staying flexible is important because it helps to relieve pressure that is placed on your body and joints throughout your pregnancy. Get into the habit of stretching before, and following, your other exercises (i.e. walking, swimming, weight training, etc.). Stretch your shoulders, chest, and abdomen, taking care to breathe deeply while doing so. Twist your waist and stretch your hips, calves, and thighs.
A lot of women also enjoy doing prenatal yoga. Not only does yoga promote stretching, but it also encourages deep breathing. In fact, it makes a seamless fit with your cardiovascular exercises. The deep breathing prepares you for the experience of childbirth while stretching keeps your body limber.
Maintaining Your Strength
Weight training often takes a back seat to cardiovascular and stretching exercises. But, keeping your muscles toned and maintaining your strength throughout your pregnancy is important. It helps to build stamina that will prove valuable during childbirth. It also keeps your muscles working efficiently, which stimulates your metabolism.
The key is to start slow and take the time to learn how to weight train properly. Ask a trainer to show you the right way to stand while using the machines (avoid free weights). Focus on your form to avoid placing unnecessary pressure on any portion of your body.
Exercise is essential while you’re pregnant. It relieves physical and emotional stress while helping you sleep better at night. It also helps you to feel more energetic during the day. Discuss your daily workout with your obstetrician, and follow his or her suggestions regarding any changes.