Even if you didn’t have an established exercise routine, moms-to-be should begin incorporating activity into your lifestyle. Staying active and healthy is not only great for the moms, but also for the baby. Below are the best exercises to preform while pregnant.
Walking, yes, walking!
The benefits of walking are underrated. While it’s a monotonous part of everyday life, walking represents an easy way to begin a healthy routine. A main benefit is that it’s easy and free! No gym membership, expensive equipment, or gear required.
How much? Start off by shooting for a minimum of 15-20 continuous minutes per day, while working up to 30-45 minutes per day. With the endless variety of step counter apps and products, it’s easy to monitor your pace and distance.
New to walking? If so, aim to walk one mile per day for the first couple weeks, then increase to 1.5 miles per day to reach approximately 30 minutes total. It’s best to perform all 30 minutes at once, but many studies point to a minimum of 10 minutes at a time to see improved health. So, splitting it up into three 10-minute sessions throughout your day will also work! Take advantage of 15-minute breaks at work and go out for a stroll around your office.
Is it safe? Yes, walking is low-impact and safe for nearly everyone! Be sure to have proper footwear and plenty of water.
Water sports are great because the water eases impact and soothes the body. Some prior knowledge of swimming is helpful to get started. Prenatal water exercises build core strength and contribute to an overall active lifestyle.
How much? It’s best to hit the water at least three times per week for 30 minutes to see and feel increased health benefits. Once you get going, five 30-minute sessions per week is ideal.
New to swimming? Join a gym with swim classes or find a personal coach. It might be fun to practice in prenatal groups with professionals to guide you.
Is it safe? Yes, swimming is a low-impact exercise that is safe during the prenatal and first-trimester periods. Be safe and swim with others!
If you are looking to find a mind/body balance, yoga is the answer. By focusing on combining aspects of stretching, aerobic-type exercises, and deep breathing, yoga can help reset and quiet your mind, while toning your body.
How much? Most studio yoga classes are 60-75 minutes, so three times a week should be plenty. If you are an experienced yogi, practicing at home at home is an option as well. Look online for free videos in the 30-minute range. Aiming for 30 minutes per day would be most beneficial.
New to yoga? Until you’ve mastered the basic moves, it’s recommended to start at a studio where instructors can help fix and guide your alignment in poses. Once you are experienced, it’s inexpensive and easy to practice at home. All you need is access to a TV or computer and a yoga mat. If you have limited flexibility, consider investing in two yoga blocks and a strap to help make poses accessible.
Is it safe? Yes, but keep in mind not all poses will be accessible to you during pregnancy. Avoid backbends, twits, and headstands. Hot yoga is also not recommended. Many gyms offer, or even specialize in, prenatal and pregnancy-focused classes. And many teachers can give you modified poses if they are aware that you are pregnant.
If you are looking for a cardio fix to keep the blood pumping, consider a stationary bike or spin-class gym membership. While bicycles are a low-impact exercise, it’s recommended to limit riding to stationary bikes during pregnancy due the dangers of the open road.
How much? If you own a stationary bike, try for 30 minutes per day to remain active and healthy. However, if you plan to hit spin classes or open gym time, three sessions are ideal.
New to cycling? It’s never too late to learn how to ride a bike, especially a stationary bike. Just hop on and start peddling. Consider investing in a stationary bike, as it’s typically a less expensive long-term investment than a gym membership. If you are on a budget, check garage sales and online for-sale websites to find a used model. Owning your own bike will save the time and effort it takes to get yourself to the gym.
Is it safe? Yes, but don’t push yourself too far. Avoid super competitive spin classes; look for prenatal or pregnancy friendly classes when possible. You can always back off if need be and stay seated instead of standing during class. Something to keep in mind—your center of gravity can shift during pregnancy, so take it slow and be safe.
Overall Tips for Exercising When Pregnant
Keep in mind, you may be tired or nauseous, so take it easy. Start slow and build up to your desired workout goals.
- Stay hydrated. You and your baby need fluids, so fill up the large water bottle before you head out.
- Wear the correct footwear or attire to stay safe. While swimming and yoga are practiced barefoot, cycling and walking require proper athletic shoes.
- Don’t be scared to ask an expert. Lack of experience is no reason to be sedentary during pregnancy. Look for a pregnant-friendly gym or yoga studio and find qualified instructors to help you get fit. Odds are you’ll also meet like-minded woman and make some friends.
- Talk to your doctor. Above all else, when in doubt, consult your doctor.