Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Stay Fit While Pregnant With These Top 5 Exercise Routines

Staying in shape while you’re pregnant is great for you and for your baby. It’s important to enhance your endurance and muscle tone to make labor and delivery much easier. This will also help you recover faster after the baby is born. Staying fit will also help you get back to your original weight after pregnancy. Remember to always ask your physician before starting any type of exercise program.

Here are the top five favorites of pregnant women:

1.Walking tops the list of exercise favorites of pregnant women. Not only is it beneficial for your body (and your baby), it's the kind of exercise that can be done anytime, anywhere. And, it's much easier on your knees – not to mention your breasts – than running. Before you begin, be sure to invest in a good pair of walking shoes that are supportive and comfortable. If you are just starting out, take it slow and set realistic goals. It's a good idea to warm up for at least 10 minutes prior to walking. A few simple leg stretches, arm swings, and neck rolls should suffice. While walking, keep your posture straight and swing your arms in unison with your legs. During the last 10 minutes, start cooling down by slowing your pace and relaxing your arms. Once stopped, perform a few stretches to prevent muscle cramps.

2.Swimming is a great option for pregnant women. This low-impact form of exercise works the large muscle groups while improving your circulation, helping you build endurance, and increasing muscle tone. As with all exercise, you'll burn calories, feel more energized, and sleep better after a workout. As for the best type of stroke? The breaststroke is probably best suited to pregnant women as it doesn't require any rotation of the torso, and you'll exert less energy than, let's say, the crawl or the butterfly. Swimming poses a very low risk of injury, so you'll be able to swim throughout your entire pregnancy. Best of all, as your belly gets bigger, you'll appreciate the feeling of weightlessness in the water.

3.Yoga soothes the mind and body – and who better to reap the benefits of a calming workout than a pregnant woman? It's important to find a program (DVD or class) that's specifically designed for pregnancy as these routines focus on strengthening and stretching the muscles that will be used during pregnancy and labor. Yoga calms both body and mind, providing a much-needed physical and emotional outlet. Breathing exercises will teach you how to cope with the pain of contractions, as rhythmic breathing during labor maximizes the amount of oxygen available to you and your baby. If you opt to take a class, you'll have the opportunity to meet other pregnant women who can offer support and advice.

4.Stationary Cycling is the perfect choice for those who enjoyed biking before pregnancy because you can continue doing what you loved without having to worry about falling and harming your baby. Your breasts and belly will thank you, too, as stationary cycling will prevent your body from bouncing around as you won't be traversing any tough terrain. Even better, you can read or watch television while exercising, something you may not have time to do once the baby arrives! To avoid back strain, opt for a stationary cycle that allows you to sit upright or reclined.

5.Light Weight Training is very beneficial during pregnancy. Not only will it strengthen your muscles (which will help tremendously during labor and delivery) it will also speed weight loss after pregnancy. You'll feel more energized and sleep better, too. Keep in mind that if you've never used weights before pregnancy, it's probably not a good idea to start now. And, machine weights are definitely safer than using free weights. It's a good idea to check with a trainer about the types of exercises best suited for pregnant women. You should increase your caloric intake by 300-500 calories (yeah! ) to keep up with the additional demands of weight training and your pregnancy. Be sure to give your muscles a rest by training no more than 3 times a week, and perform all exercises in a sitting position to prevent your blood from pooling.

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