Get On The Ball! Best Exercises for Moms-to-Be
January 26, 2015
The holidays are over and everyone is trying to get back in the swing of things for the New Year, including moms-to-be. Fitness, often on the New Year to-do list, is a major component of maintaining physical health and well-being during pregnancy.
Pregnant women should get at least 2.5 hours per week of moderate aerobic activity, and spread out exercise to 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity at least 5 days a week.1 When choosing an exercise plan during pregnancy women should look for low to moderate impact activities and avoid any activities where it’s possible to get hit in the abdomen or take a fall, like kickboxing, soccer, horseback riding or gymnastics. It’s best to talk to your doctor about a specific exercise plan to confirm it is right for your individual situation.
Below are some low to moderate aerobic activities that are great options for moms-to-be:
Walking is probably the easiest activity to start with for those that are new to physical fitness. Treadmills are a great way to maintain a consistent pace and incline. But for those that don’t have a gym membership or treadmill available to them, any flat surface with little to no incline will suffice. Always wear proper footwear and stay hydrated. Start off slow and progress gradually to a faster pace. But be sure to cool down. You should be able to talk while exercising. If you find that you’re having trouble carrying on a conversation, slow down your pace.
Swimming is excellent for moderate aerobic activity but is lower impact for bones and joints. Swimming is a great option for pregnant women who may already have some injury to joints or bones. Plus, swimming uses both large muscle groups (arms and legs) and can counteract back pain from an expanding belly. Like walking, it’s best to start slow, gradually increase your pace and always cool down. If you didn’t swim before pregnancy, you should be ok to start. But check with your doctor to confirm it is suited for your specific situation.
Prenatal and Hatha yoga are the best choices for pregnant women.2 Yoga is similar to other child-preparation classes because it focuses on stretching, metal centering and focused breathing…all things that will help leading up to and during delivery. A typically prenatal yoga class will include breathing, gentle stretching, postures, cool down and relaxation. Stay away from Bikram yoga, also called hot yoga. In addition, there are certain postures that pregnant women should avoid. Your doctor can discuss these with you in more detail.
No matter what exercise plan you choose, always pay attention to your body. While physical exercise is important, moms-to-be must always be aware of their body’s limits and never over do it. If you experience dizziness, headache, chest pain, abdominal pain, blurred vision or vaginal bleeding stop exercising and call your doctor immediately.