Prenatal fitness is critical to maintaining a healthy body when carrying a baby. But when it comes to specific exercises, which workouts are the best for your pregnancy? Well, each pregnancy comes with its own set of challenges and surprises. Not to mention, pregnancy is different for every woman. Likewise, the prenatal exercises that work best for your sister or best friend may not work for you because different workouts can benefit your body in different ways. Try a variety of exercises and stick to a fitness routine that works for you and your baby. Here are six of the best exercises to try during pregnancy.
As far as cardio goes during pregnancy, a brisk daily walk is the safest option for most women. Walking on a treadmill or around the neighborhood can not only tone your muscles, but it can also improve your mood––both of which are beneficial during pregnancy. A brisk daily walk can get your heart rate up, improve the cardiovascular development of your baby and strengthen your body for childbirth and postpartum.
Swimming is one of the best and safest full-body workouts for pregnant women. The Journal of Nurse-Midwifery finds that swimming is a safer form of cardio than running during pregnancy. Instead of going for a run or jog, get some laps in a few times a week to work both your arm and leg muscles while also strengthening your heart. Additionally, swimming improves blood circulation and boosts the amount of oxygen that reaches your baby.
Low impact aerobic exercises strengthen your heart and your body during pregnancy. Your body experiences some of the most drastic changes over the course of nine months, and these changes continue to affect your body once your baby is born. The stronger your muscles are, the better your body can support these changes. Low impact aerobics can build and tone muscles while supporting the development of your baby without overworking your body.
Prenatal yoga poses are specifically designed to prepare a mommy-to-be’s mind and body for pregnancy. Beyond the physical benefits of prenatal yoga, The International Journal of Childbirth Education explains the intense psychological benefits of prenatal yoga and how this practice can improve the quality of life in expecting moms. The poses in prenatal yoga classes can improve sleep, relieve tension in the lower back and hips, refresh the mind, increase blood circulation, calm the nervous system and prepare the body for labor. Try out a prenatal yoga class for a change of pace in your fitness routine and focus on connecting with yourself and your baby.
With the rapid increase in weight over these nine months, pregnancy can be particularly rough on the joints. Indoor cycling is one of the best ways to give your body an effective cardio workout without stressing your joints too much. Whether you cycle on a stationary bike in a gym or try a cycling workout class, this exercise can boost your heart rate and oxygen levels in the blood without causing harm to your joints.
Yes, stretching is a workout too, and sometimes it’s just what you and your baby need. In fact, the Journal of the Nursing Scholarship suggests that routine stretching during pregnancy can help reduce health risks and monitor weight gain over these nine months. Try stretching for a few minutes to target certain areas of your body that experience more pressure than usual when pregnant.
Prenatal fitness is important for both you and your baby to stay healthy during pregnancy, but not every workout will benefit every mom and baby. Whether it’s a walk around the block after dinner or a morning yoga class, make sure you establish a regular fitness routine that works for you to keep your body fit and your baby healthy during pregnancy.
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