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Exercise During Pregnancy :: Taking Care of You!

Exercise During Pregnancy...Taking Care of You - Columbia SC Moms BlogPregnancy is a time to take things slow and enjoy this special time in your life, as well as nurture your body while you prepare for the arrival of your new bundle of joy.

As your body changes to accommodate your growing baby, pregnancy symptoms can make you feel tired, bloated, moody, and uncomfortable. It may seem counterintuitive to exercise, but being active just might help to alleviate some of those symptoms. A good exercise routine can keep you fit, as well as help your body prepare for labor, delivery, and the recovery that follows.

If you were exercising before you became pregnant, you should be able to maintain your routine. However, pregnancy is not the time to start new high intensity activities or to push your limits. After consulting with your doctor (always a good idea to check for safety first!), feel free to continue your exercise routine or to begin a light exercise routine such as walking, biking, swimming and even weight lifting.

Many experts recommend no more than 3 to 5 sessions a week of working out. If you are not comfortable working out on your own, exercise classes may be a good alternative. You’ll have some watching you, supervising your posture, checking safety and who knows, you might make new friends!

Exercises to Try

Here are some good exercises and guidelines to consider when you’re expecting:

Walking: Try for around 30 minutes each day three to five days a week.

Cycling: Join a Spin Class – make a goal of working up to 30 minutes per class!

Swimming: A favorite during these 100 degree days! 30 minutes of swimming three to five days a week.

Bicep curl: Begin with comfortable, light weight. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, keep your elbows tucked toward your torso and curl the weight up.  Repeat: 3 sets of 12.

Side plank: Lie on your side, choose one side, you’ll eventually do both so it doesn’t matter which one you start with. Prop yourself with your forearm and the side of your lower foot, lift your hips into the air, trying not to bend at the waist and keep a straight profile. As your weight is supported by your forearm and side of lower foot, lower your hips to the floor, take a short break and then repeat. Do 3 sets of 10 on each side.

Squats: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, keep your posture straight and knees bent.  Lower your body close to the ground until your thigh and calf makes a 90-degree angle and then repeat. Repeat 10 times.

Many experts recommend no more than 3 to 5 sessions a week of working out. If you are not comfortable working out on your own, exercise classes may be a good alternative. You’ll have some watching you, supervising your posture, checking safety and who knows, you might make new friends!

Group of pregnant women interacting in gym

Physical therapist, Judd Warren of Warren Physical Therapy shared with me several benefits of physical activity as well as some of the cost associated with physical inactivity. In America, the lack of physical activity cost Americans over $100 billion annually. A large majority of the population lives a sedentary lifestyle which can have lasting health consequences. If you are not currently active, it’s a great time to start. You want to be healthy for you child, and live a long life watching them grow while also teaching them the importance of remaining physically active.

When exercising during pregnancy, start slow, don’t over do it and rest when necessary, focus on proper nutrition and stay hydrated. Most importantly, listen to your body. The benefits of exercise during pregnancy may include improved muscle tone, improved cardiovascular health, decreased risk for gestational diabetes, shorter labor, increased energy and overall improved self-esteem – a win-win.

So what are you waiting for? Stop reading and get to it!

Did you exercise during pregnancy? What advice would you add to the list?

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