Exercise Tips For Pregnant Women
6 ways to get some exercise during pregrancy
A guest post by Krisca Te
We all know that physical activity is one of the most important things we can do for our bodies in order to live a long and healthy life. Physical activity is also one of the few things that are under our control as far as our body goes. Exercise is good for us at any age and this should not stop during pregnancy.
The purpose of the exercise should change, though.
It’s no longer about tightening up, but loosening up. It’s no longer about pushing to the limit or feeling the burn; it’s about getting your body ready for that marathon that is childbirth. Exercise during pregnancy is about getting your heart pumping, your muscles stretched and help you in managing weight gain. Exercise should be a natural way to reduce stress, not cause it. Studies show that exercise helps in preventing and treating gestational diabetes and labour becomes easier when the mother is physically fit.
Here are some fun exercise tips for the pregnant woman:
If you have been working out, and feel you are able to continue in your present ‘state’, go ahead and do it, but don’t exert yourself. If you can’t talk during the exercise, you might be pushing too hard. Try counting out loud to see if you are working yourself too hard. You heart rate should not exceed 140 beats per minute.
If you haven’t exercised in the past, now is the time to start. Start slow and gentle by stretching and walking, doing yoga or swimming. Listen to your body; if it hurts or doesn’t feel right slow down. Be consistent. Starting and stopping will not do you much good. It should be part of your daily regimen as a pregnant woman.
Make sure you warm up and cool down every time you exercise. It is more important now than ever before. Your body is busy doing its own balancing act so do not overheat it. This can cause problems for the baby which cannot regulate body heat yet. Pay attention to the weather indoors and out and wear lose fitting clothes.
You’ll have to adjust the level of exercise as the pregnancy progresses. Take into account that as your belly grows you will have some physical limitations and your center of gravity will be different. This is not the time to engage in team sports. It is important not to fall down or get hit by a ball.
Pre-natal yoga or a personal trainer who specializes in pregnancy can be a great asset during those pregnancy months. Remember, the more fit you are, the easier the delivery (well, most of the time).
You can work on all muscle groups except the stomach. Since you should not do sit-ups during pregnancy, concentrate instead on toning your lower back and pelvis area by doing pelvic tilts in either seated, standing or on all-four position.
One of the most important and neglected muscle you should be exercising are your PC muscles (Pubococcygeus muscles at the bottom of the pelvis) which will be active during delivery. Exercise those muscles at any time by contracting them and releasing, just as you would do to stop urinating. Those exercises can be done anywhere, anytime while sitting, standing or driving a car. Try to hold the muscles contracted as long as few seconds before releasing.
Being in shape will help you after the delivery as well, when you’ll be deprived of sleep and become very hormonal. If you use exercise as a stress reliever, try to find the time to do it after the birth as well. You’ll be busy – very busy, but it will be a matter of priority. First would be the baby, then the exercise. Cleaning the house, for example, can be delegated as the 3rd priority.
Krisca Te works with Open Colleges, Australia’s leading courses of TAFE courses equivalent and fitness courses. When not working, you can find her actively participating in local dog show events – in support of her husband.