Pregnancy is a herculean undertaking. Over the next nine months, your body is charged with not only keeping itself fit and healthy but nurturing the growth and development of an entirely new human being!
As you can imagine this is no small feat, and many women wonder whether or not they should continue to exercise during pregnancy.
And the answer to that question is an absolute yes in most cases. If you have been regularly exercising prior to becoming pregnant, you should keep up an exercise routine, but keep in mind that you will need to make some modifications to your pre-pregnancy training routine for you and your baby’s health and wellness.
Exercising during pregnancy may help reduce excessive weight gain and the development of back issues. It also helps keep the muscles used during childbirth strong, and it helps give the baby a healthier start in life.
Here, we present five great exercise regimes you can do during pregnancy to help maintain your level of fitness so that once your newborn has entered the world, your transition back to your regular training schedule is as smooth as possible.
Top 5 Exercises for Pregnant Women
Walking is a low-impact form of exercise that’s great for the cardiovascular system while being not too stressful on the ankles or knees. It requires no gym membership and can be done anywhere and anytime during pregnancy.
Plus, going for a walk outside also helps you get your daily dose of vitamin D, an essential vitamin needed for countless processes in the body, including the production of serotonin -- a “happy” hormone.
Make sure to wear a comfortable, supportive pair of shoes when walking and be on the lookout for uneven surfaces (potholes, rocks, etc.).
Swimming allows you the benefit of combining cardiovascular training with light resistance-training without putting pressure on the joints. You can choose to swim laps, walk in the water, do aerobics, or lift water weights during pregnancy.
As an added bonus, the buoyancy offered by the water may help provide some relief from the extra weight gained during pregnancy.
It seems like there’s nothing squats can’t help. If you want to build firmer glutes and toner legs, squats are great. If you want to lose fat, squats require tremendous energy output and help burn calories.
And, they may also benefit you during pregnancy!
The reason for this is that squatting helps strengthen your leg and core muscles and it also helps open up the hips which has carryover to when the baby descends during birth.
1-Arm Dumbbell Rows
Single arm dumbbell rows are a phenomenal upper back exercise before, during, and after pregnancy. Having a strong back improves posture and helps you to counteract the additional load placed on the front half of your body due to the growing baby.
When performing the 1-arm dumbbell row, make sure to support your body on a bench. This helps reduce the occurrence of low back strain, avoid over rotation of the torso when pulling the dumbbell, and helps maintain proper form.
Lunges are another great exercise for toning and firming the thighs and glutes during pregnancy.
The added benefit of reverse lunges over forward lunges is that they also place less stress on the knee of the working leg due to it remaining in place while the non-working leg is the one moving behind you.
In addition to strengthening all the muscle of the lower body, lunges also improve your ability to deftly handle the transference of weight from one direction to another.
As you’re all too aware, in the coming months, there will be some extra weight that you need to be able to handle while remaining upright and avoiding low back strain. Reverse lunges help build strong legs and abs to help you along during pregnancy.