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Exercising Your Options, Your Workout Options That Is: The Best Ways For Expectant Moms Can Stay Healthy and In Shape

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

You’ve made lots of “major” adjustments in your life so far, starting with “flying the coup” (possibly right after high school graduation) to tying the knot (just about as soon as he asked) and now you’re preparing for yet another monumental moment in your life, the achievement of becoming a parent. Giving your baby the “ideal” environment to grow up in begins in the womb and how well you take care of yourself. Eating right and exercising are important regimens for everyone, male or female, whether you’re pregnant or not, but pregnant women need to take extra precautions for staying fit, especially when it comes to exercise.

According to research maintaining a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy is not only suggested but also strongly recommended. Exercise and staying fit is noted to help pregnant women with a variety of pregnancy related “ailments”, including lower back pain, and overall well-being. Furthermore, engaging in a fitness routine during pregnancy may also improve your chances of experiences a shorter labor, avert a C-section, and enjoy a faster and easier recovery.

But, it’s also important to remember, regardless of how soon, or how much you “show”, that you ARE pregnant, and your normal routine may have to be altered accordingly to your new condition. Your best bet is check with your physician before beginning or continuing any exercise program. Several conditions including high blood pressure can make exertion and strenuous activity harmful. Some pointers from industry professionals to help you (easily) customize your routine to your pregnancy.

Walk, Don’t Run: This is probably the fastest, simplest, and perhaps most effective way to stay in shape during your pregnancy. Walking is especially ideal for gals who were not gym bunnies before their pregnancy. From cardio to toning, walking address a multitude of arenas without putting you at risk for undue stress and the possibility of injury. Experts suggest walking at a brisk pace, though not too slow, and not too fast, wearing well-fitting and comfortable clothes and shoes, and to be conscious about keeping track of how they fit (remember your body, including your feet, will continually change during pregnancy). You’ll also want to monitor your balance; it too may change around mid-pregnancy. You don’t have to give up exercising, just, once again make adjustments, like walking on smooth, even surfaces (to prevent ankle sprains), pay attention (maybe more than usual) to your pace and where you are treading, and slowing your pace slightly and accordingly.

Whet Your Fitness Appetite With A Swim: With little or no impact on your joints, yet still an excellent way to achieve full body conditioning, swimming is highly recommended for those who can’t handle intense or rigorous activity. A dip in the pool is recommended as an ideal exercise, especially for ladies in the early part of their pregnancy, when getting “hot” may become an issue. However, experts remind moms-to-be to be careful when entering the water. Take it slow and refrain from diving, it may cause too much abdominal pressure, and jumping in could force water into the vagina, which may place you at risk for premature contractions. When swimming, choose a stroke that feels comfortable but keep in mind that the frog stroke can cause discomfort on the pelvic muscles and the breaststroke may cause lower-back pain.

Run With It: Now is not the time to take up stressful activities such as running or jogging. Running can rapidly raise your heart rate, especially if you’re your not use to it. However, experts note that if you were a runner prior to pregnancy, it’s okay to continue. While the bouncing is not harmful to your baby, as you get bigger, YOU might find the motion to be “disturbing”. Hard-core runners determined to keep up their regimen can relieve some of the “uncomfortable sensation via a maternity support belt. You can also decrease you intensity as pregnancy progresses to ensure you keep your heart rate in the safe zone.

Class Moves: If you think you have to give up your favorite aerobics class, you may want to reconsider. Many moms in the making continue to take their regular aerobic class right until their due date. According to experts however, you should make some relevant adjustments. In your second trimester, you should switch to a less-intensive program or low-impact class, especially if you are experiencing knee or joint pain. Step (class) moms-to-be should lower their step to no higher than four inches. By your third trimester, you should avoid jumps or intense moves altogether and keep your movements to a minimum.

Easy Rider Moms: Cycling, contrary to what you may believe is quite easy on your joints, so much in fact, that experts say its okay to cycle right up until your due….but remember to wear protective gear including a helmet. However, they note, that pregnant women should avoid mountain biking, primarily because accidents are common, especially on uneven terrain. Pregnant moms in their second trimester may choose to be a bit more cautious and take their riding urge indoors, especially since that’s when most begin to “show” and many lose their balance and increase their risk of falling. By the third trimester, you should exhibit extra caution because the weight of your belly may make riding quite uncomfortable and awkward. If your determined to keep up your routine you may want to consider switching to a recumbent bike that allows for greater back support. Experts further assert that spinning classes are okay as long as you are use to that type of workout. However, the suggest taking it slowly to prevent overheating, and to stay in your seat during more intense moves.

Put On Some Weights: Professionals state that continued weight and strength training throughout pregnancy is important for helping you increase your metabolism but also prepares your body and muscles for carrying you newborn once he/she arrives. They point out that using controlled movements and a comfortable amount of weight is best for safety. Also recommended is lightening the load on machinery that works out the bottom half of your body. Proceed with caution not to place too much stress on your pelvic ligaments, causing your back to arch, and, if you find yourself holding your breath as you lift, you can presume you are overexerting yourself. Decrease the weight and up the reps instead. During your second and third trimmest, avoid moves that require you to lie on your back. According to professionals, your heavy uterus could interfere with blood flow to your heart and make your feel dizzy. Also, they suggest, sitting while lifting in your later stages of pregnancy.

Flex Time: Time to relax is extremely important for pregnant women. Yoga allows you to stretch and “meditate” focusing on two important areas helping keep moms-to-be stress free. Professionals recommend incorporating a yoga routine into your schedule daily, but suggest, if possible, joining a prenatal yoga class that will teach you how to feel confident, and comfortable as your body changes and grows. They also recommend keeping focused and monitoring movements so that you don’t overstretch. In you second trimester (and beyond), you should avoid back bends, or any moves that require you to lie on your back or belly, jumping, and inverted postures.

Proceed With Caution:

· Refrain from pushing yourself too hard and getting overheated, especially during the first trimester. Drink lots of fluids, before, during, and after your workout. Wear loose, lightweight, proper fitting clothing and make sure you work out during the cooler hours in the summer.

· Make sure you regularly monitor your heart rate and keep it in a moderate zone. The easiest way to test is by trying to speak a full sentence while exercising. If you can’t speak normally, slow down.

· Avoid pushing yourself. You’ll definitely want to feel fatigued, jut not exhausted.

· Stop exercising immediately and call your doctor is you experience any of the following: vaginal bleeding or fluid leakage; sudden, severe headache, nausea, dizziness, or light-headedness; swelling of face, hands, or feet; abdominal or pubic pain; uterine contractions; vomiting; blurred vision or spots before your eyes; heart palpitations or unusual shortness of breath.







Long Island Health, Fitness & Beauty Articles > Exercising Your Options, Your Workout Options That Is: The Best Ways For Expectant Moms Can Stay Healthy and In Shape

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