Exercise During & After Pregnancy
The secret to staying active during pregnancy and post birth is not complicated.
Carry on with life the same way you would normally. Continue to go to work, continue to do the housework and if you exercise regularly, continue to exercise!
Exercise During Pregnancy
Every body is different, and not every pregnancy is the same. It is important to listen to your body and alter some activities if necessary.
Related: Body Changes During Pregnancy
Remaining active throughout your pregnancy is beneficial to your overall health. There are many reasons why exercise is important.
- Exercise releases endorphins which help to make you feel good giving you with a natural high.
- Maintain a healthy weight. This means less weight loss postpartum.
- A strong healthy body will help in labor.
- Less aches and pains during pregnancy.
- Get social with like-minded women.
For those women who are not participating in regular exercise pre pregnancy, it is advised that you consult your health care provider first. He or she will give you valuable advice and guidelines to follow.
For those women who already participate and have an active lifestyle, it is also advised that you consult your health care provider. As some of your exercise choices might need to be modified throughout the pregnancy.
It is generally recommended to participate in low impact exercise. Low impact exercise is gentler on the body but will still provide you with a good workout.
If traditional forms of exercise do not appeal to you, there are many other wonderful ways to keep active, which do not involve a gym class or a pair of running shoes.
Going for a brisk walk daily is a wonderful gentle form of exercise.
In the early morning or late evening are both wonderful times of the day to walk, because the air is cooler and the roads are less busy.
Set goals. Increase the distance you walk and add hill climbs into the routine to help give your muscles and lungs a good workout.
Housework will help to elevate your heart rate.
General cleaning can take on average a couple of hours a week depending on the size of your home.
Make sure you drink plenty of water and keep the house ventilated to allow a cool breeze to circulate. This will help to ensure you do not overheat.
Take breaks when necessary to rest should you find some tasks difficult.
Keeping a clean house has its advantages!
Take the stairs
With so many elevators and escalators available now stairs are often put into the too hard basket!
Take the stairs every once in awhile to help engage in exercise and to work your muscles.
Important: Hold onto the hand rail and take your time to ensure you make each step effectively.
Yoga and Pilates’ classes are ideal for women who do not enjoy higher intensity workouts.
The benefits of yoga and Pilates are the stretching and muscle strengthening. Strong muscles will help to aid in the labor process and will help to support your body throughout pregnancy.
Important: It is always advised to check with your health care provider first before participating in a class.
Probably one of the gentlest forms of exercise for a pregnant body.
Swimming involves absolutely no jarring or impact on the body. The water will support and provide resistance resulting in an all over body workout.
Related: Swimming During Pregnancy is Great
Exercise After Baby
Keeping active is surprisingly easier post birth. There are a number of various day-to-day activities you can engage in as part of your day-to-day routine, to help promote a happy, healthy lifestyle.
Go for longer walks with baby. Once the baby is fed and changed, place them into a stroller and go for a walk. Walking with a stroller helps to engage muscles and strengthen your weakened core. The fresh air will do you and baby good too!
If you are up for the challenge, you can purchase wonderful strollers that are designed specifically to travel over rough terrain or run with. Make sure you do your research and invest in a stroller you can use for years to come. As your baby gets older they will get heavier, resulting in an amazing work out.
Carrying your baby is both beneficial to you and baby. A good carrier will provide you with the necessary back and lumbar support that will allow you to carry the baby for longer periods.
Activities such as basic housework i.e. vacuuming will help to raise your heart rate and the added weight from carrying baby will give you a work out too.
Whilst baby is still small and unable to move around, engaging in exercises such as push-ups over baby, sit ups or arm raises while holding the baby is a fun game for both Mom and bub. These types of exercises will increase your heart rate and help to strengthen your body.
Join a gym class
Many gyms are now holding active classes designed for Mom and Baby. Contact your local gym to find out what classes are available. This is a fantastic way to meet new moms and get fit at the same time.
1. It is important to do a variety of different types of exercise. The reason for this is that our bodies use our muscles differently and you will get a better overall body workout.
The other advance is that you will not get bored which is vital to help maintain a healthy ongoing relationship with exercise.
2. Research your local area to find out what classes or exercise groups are available.
3. Create a routine. Decide on the days and times you will exercise and stick to it.
4. Exercise with a friend. This helps to make the experience more fun and will help to keep you motivated.
5. Listen to your body. Should you feel any unusual aches or pains stop immediately. Should the pain continue consult your health care provider.
6. Drink plenty of water and keep hydrated.
7. Eat well. Fuel your body with healthy Low GI foods that will help to keep your energy levels high.
8. Avoid overheating. Work out early morning or later in the evening when the sun is at its coolest. Should you be working out indoor make sure the space is well ventilated.
Exercising whilst pregnant does come with some limitations. Your body is not physically capable of stretching, bending, lifting or exerting itself as much as it can pre pregnancy.
Exercises that inflicts pain, the feeling of dizziness or the need to vomit should be stopped immediately.
Find a quiet cool place to sit down and take small sips of water. Should the symptoms persist consult your health care provider.
What should you wear?
It is very important that you feel comfortable. Choose non-restrictive clothing that will provide ease of movement.
Avoid clothing that is not too tight as this could affect your breathing or blood circulation. Clothing that is too loose is also not ideal as it could get caught in machinery or cause you to trip.
Choose work out gear made from cotton or fabrics that have wicking properties. These fabrics will help to keep you cool and dry.
Invest in good quality maternity sports bras. Your breasts are likely to be larger and heavier than their pre pregnancy size.
A good supportive bra will help to keep your breasts in place and eliminate movement.
Lastly invest in a good pair of trainers. Good supportive footwear will cushion and support your body. This is particularly important as you are caring more weight during pregnancy. Good shoes will absorb jarring and reduce the strain on your bones and muscles.
Don’t miss: Postpartum Diet
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