Staying in Shape

You’ll agree that there’s no better way to stay in shape than exercising. However, when it comes to exercising during pregnancy, there is a lot of misconception doing the rounds. Much has changed over the decades and recent research shows that exercise during pregnancy is a must and has a positive effect on both, the mother and the baby. In fact, a fitness program is the best way for both the mother and her baby to stay in shape and enjoy an overall state of wellness before, during and after birth.

Read: Pregnancy and weight gain

However, it is important, to discuss your exercise routine with your doctor who may modify it and suggest a few changes, if necessary. The level of exercise recommended for you will depend a great deal on your pre-pregnancy fitness. And depending on your condition, you may be advised to limit or stop exercising. If you’re healthy and the doctor has given you the green signal, you can exercise right till the end.

Read: It is safe to exercise during pregnancy?

The Best Exercises During Pregnancy

Most common exercises are considered safe for most pregnant women, though you may have to vary the pace and intensity according to your physical condition. Here are a few that you could try:

Walking
I’s the most recommended exercise for pregnant women as it keeps you fit without straining the knees and ankles. Probably the best cardiovascular exercise, walking is safe throughout the nine months of pregnancy and can be built into your daily schedule.

Swimming
Considered the safest exercise for pregnant women, swimming is ideal as it exercises both large muscle groups (arms and legs), provides good cardiovascular benefits, and lends a feeling of weightlessness despite the extra weight of pregnancy.

Read: Is it safe to swim during pregnancy?

Aqua Aerobics
Very popular among pregnant women worldwide, water aerobics is gentle on the joints and can help lessen swelling in the legs, which is common during the later stages of pregnancy.

Yoga
Yoga is ideal for maintaining muscle tone and flexibility with minimum impact on the joints – and has been found to be highly beneficial during pregnancy. But you may have to supplement a yoga regime with walking, a few times a week, to give your heart a workout.

Read: The benefits of yoga during pregnancy

Low-impact Aerobics
Joining a prenatal aerobics class can do wonders for your health and overall well being as besides a consistent exercise routine, you will also get to meet other pregnant women.

Running or Jogging
If you were a runner before you were pregnant, you can continue running during your pregnancy, although you may have to modify your routine. Increase the pace gradually – go slowly for the first 5 minutes to warm up and use the last 5 minutes to cool down.

Read: Weight Training During Pregnancy – Do’s and Dont’s

Pilates
A combination of flexibility and strength training with body awareness, breathing and relaxation, ‘pilates’ are a form of workout that exercises your stomach and pelvic floor muscles. As ‘pilates’ are performed on a “hands and knees” position, it exercises the right muscles for pregnancy. It helps take the stress off your back and pelvis and towards the end of your pregnancy, it helps position your baby for delivery.

Dancing
A fun way to get your heart pumping by dancing to your favourite tunes in the comfort and privacy of your home. But take care not to leap, jump, or twirl and avoid sudden twists. You could sign up for a prenatal dance class and enjoy the camaraderie of other pregnant women too.

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