Boost your mood, improve sleep, and reduce aches and pains and prepare yourself for childbirth by strengthening muscles and building endurance all of which makes it much easier to get back in shape after your baby is born.
In accordance with the recommendations by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a new study highlights the physical activity patterns which have proven to be most beneficial during pregnancy, as well as the exercises which these women should avoid as they might pose a risk to the fetus.
With regards to the type of exercise, duration and weekly frequency, the experts stress the importance of combining aerobic and strength training in each session, which should last 45 to 65 minutes, over three or four days a week.
Walking: One of the best cardiovascular exercises for pregnant women, walking keeps you fit without jarring your knees and ankles. It’s also easy to do almost anywhere, doesn’t require any equipment beyond a good pair of supportive shoes, and is safe to do throughout all nine months of pregnancy.
Swimming: Healthcare providers and fitness experts encourage swimming as the best and safest exercise for pregnant women. Swimming is ideal because it exercises your large muscle groups (both arms and legs), provides cardiovascular benefits, reduces swelling, and allows you to feel weightless despite all the extra pounds you’re carrying. It can be especially helpful for women with low back pain.
Aerobics: Aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and tones your body. And if you take a class for pregnant women, you’ll enjoy the camaraderie of other moms-to-be and feel reassured that each movement is safe for you and your baby.
Dancing: Get your heart pumping by dancing to your favorite tunes in the comfort of your own living room or at a group dance class. Avoid routines that call for leaps, jumps, or twirls.
Running: Going for a jog is an excellent way to exercise your heart and build endurance during pregnancy. The intensity of your run depends mostly on whether you’re a veteran runner or a newbie. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to start at a slow pace on shorter routes before gradually building up to 30-minute runs.
Yoga: Yoga can maintain muscle tone and keep you flexible with little, if any, impact on your joints. But to give your heart a workout, you may have to add a walk or swim several times a week.
Stretching: Stretching is a great way to keep your body limber and relaxed as well as prevent muscle strain. Add stretching to your cardiovascular exercises to get a complete workout.
Weight training: As long as you take the necessary precautions and use good technique (meaning slow, controlled movements), weight training is a great way to tone and strengthen your muscles. Building strength during pregnancy will help prepare you for all the baby lifting you’ll be doing soon!