5 Ways to Exercise During Pregnancy

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5 Ways to Exercise During Pregnancy

June 3, 2014

Written by: Jenny Daniels

Exercise is an important part of a healthy pregnancy. Not only does it keep your cardiovascular system healthy, it can strengthen the muscles that support the uterus, and your lower back, to prevent strain on your skeleton from the weight of your baby. Also, regular exercise may prevent excess weight gain during pregnancy. An active pregnancy is a healthy pregnancy.

However, you still need to take precautions to protect your baby as well as yourself while staying active. For example, pregnant women are advised to avoid high-impact exercises like running. Also, pregnancy makes your joints hyper-flexible, which can make them less stable and prone injury. Below are some exercises that are well-suited for pregnancy. They will condition your body, and help you relax your mind, with little to no impact. As always, you should check with your physician or OB-GYN before starting an exercise program.

Cycling

Cycling is another low-impact exercise that can work for most fitness levels, and strengthens your legs and cardiovascular system. If you have trouble balancing on a regular bike there are a few other options.

A StreetStrider is a cross between an elliptical trainer and a bicycle. You stand on the bike and pump your arms and legs, like you would on an elliptical machine, but it has wheels and rolls down the street like a bicycle. Because you’re standing, and because the strider has three wheels, you may have better luck balancing than on a standard bike. You will also get more cardiovascular conditioning from moving your arms and legs during the exercise.

Walking

Walking is an extremely low impact activity that can be done almost anywhere, at any time, by any fitness level.  You can take a stroll around your neighborhood; walk through the mall, around a nearby track, or on a treadmill. You can even walk in place, in the privacy and safety of home.

Walking conditions your cardiovascular system and tones the muscles in your legs. It can also strengthen your abdominals and lower back if you focus on posture in addition to your time, distance and speed.

The intensity of your workout depends on your speed and the incline of the surface you are walking on. Additionally, as your pregnancy progresses, you can adjust the intensity to your comfort level.

Dancing

Low-impact dancing can strengthen your cardiovascular system and tone all of your muscles. Your best bet is to take a dance class designed specifically for pregnant participants, so that you avoid movements that might strain your back, or cause other problems.

Yoga

Yoga offers flexibility, strength, and relaxation. Like the dancing class, you are better off finding one designed for pregnant women, or with an instructor who is familiar with prenatal exercise.

Water Exercise

Whether you are swimming or doing another type of exercise, water is the perfect medium for exercising while pregnant. The water supports your body weight, so there is less chance of straining or discomfort, and you can still get a good cardiovascular and full-body workout. Because water reduces the effects of gravity, it can also help relax your muscles and joints, especially in the spine.

 

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