November 8, 2018

Pregnancy exercise for beginners!

Tips for getting started

  • Go slowly at first. Exercise for just 10 to 15 minutes a day for the first week or two. When you feel ready to do more, add five to 10 minutes until you work up to 20 or 30 minutes a day. This can take three or four weeks, depending on how your body responds to the additional activity. During this initial period, focus on lengthening – not intensifying – your workouts.
  • Do more when you're ready. If you've reached your goal workout length and you're feeling pretty good, you can increase the intensity of your workout. For example, you could boost your walking pace from moderate to brisk.
    However, don't go for the burn, and don't exercise to exhaustion. Listen to your body and don't push yourself beyond your limits. ACOG advises that you exercise with an intensity that you'd describe as "somewhat hard." A good rule of thumb: Slow down if you can't carry on a conversation comfortably.

    How to stay fit and healthy during pregnancy
    • Eat well. Being pregnant means you need approximately 340 extra calories a day starting in the second trimester, depending on your pre-pregnancy weight. The quality of your diet is tremendously important, so include lots of fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and lean protein sources.
    • Stay cool. Avoid working out in hot, humid weather because you can overheat more easily during pregnancy. Aim to exercise in the morning or after 4 p.m. to avoid peak temperatures. If it's warm out, wear a sun hat and layers of loose, comfortable clothing.
    • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink water before, during, and after your workout. Dehydration can contribute to overheating or even trigger contractions. If you're well hydrated, the color of your urine will be almost clear. If it's dark yellow, drink more water.
    • Protect your skin. If you're planning to exercise outside, be sure to wear sunblock because pregnancy can make your skin more sensitive to the sun and worsen Melasma – a condition in which blotchy areas of darkened skin appear.
    • Best pregnancy exercises for beginners
    • If you're pregnant and new to exercise, consider:
    • Walking. This activity gets top honors for expectant mothers because it's safe, easy to do, and improves your cardiovascular fitness. It's the perfect way to get started if you didn't exercise before pregnancy.
      • Aerobics classes or fitness DVDs. Programs designed for pregnant women strengthen your heart and build muscle tone and flexibility – all of which work together to support your body as it undergoes the physical changes of pregnancy.
      • Swimming. This is a great form of exercise because it uses your whole body and puts little strain on your joints. An added bonus: The water supports your weight, giving you a temporary reprieve from feeling ungainly as your belly gets bigger.
      • Prenatal yoga and stretching. Both ease tension, promote relaxation, and help you stay flexible and strong.
      • Dancing. Moving to music you enjoy keeps you limber and gives you a great cardiovascular workout. Styles such as Zumba, belly dancing, and ballroom dancing are fun ways to exercise that can be modified as your belly expands.

      More safe pregnancy exercises:

      If you're wondering whether it's safe to begin running during pregnancy, the answer is usually yes if you have an uncomplicated pregnancy and the approval of your provider – even if you've never tried running before. Just remember to start slowly: Warm up for five to 10 minutes by stretching and walking, then run at a slow and comfortable pace for about five minutes. Cool down by walking for another five to 10 minutes.
      If your joints don't hurt and you feel able to do more, you can gradually pick up the pace and start running for longer stretches. Later in pregnancy, you may need to modify your routine or slow down to accommodate your growing belly.

      Weight training and other exercises that involve standing in place for long periods can reduce the blood flow to your baby. To do them safely, keep moving by changing positions or simply by stepping back and forth.

      Also, approach bike riding with caution. Experienced cyclists should be able to ride throughout the first trimester, but some experts consider it dangerous to bike during your second and third trimesters because your shifting center of gravity affects your balance, making falls more likely. A stationary exercise bike is a safer option later in pregnancy.

      Types of exercise to avoid during pregnancy

      • Activities with potential for hard falls. Horseback riding, downhill skiing, snowboarding, surfing, off-road biking, gymnastics, and waterskiing are off-limits to pregnant women.
      • Activities with a lot of sudden changes in direction. Your center of gravity shifts during pregnancy, so avoid activities that require a lot of sudden changes in direction, such as most racquet sports. They can throw you off balance and make you fall.
      • High-contact sports, such as soccer, basketball, boxing, and ice hockey.
      • Activities involving extremes in air pressure, such as scuba diving and exercise at altitudes above 6,000 feet. (Mild to moderate exercise should be fine for women who live above 6,000 feet and are already acclimated.)
      • Activities done while lying on your back.After the first trimester, avoid sit-ups and other exercises done while lying flat on your back because this position can lower blood flow to your uterus and throughout your body.

      Signs to slow down

      If you're new to exercising, it can be hard to recognize when you're pushing yourself too hard. Tone down your exercise routine if:

      • You feel pain in your joints and ligaments during or after a workout.
      • You feel exhausted instead of energized after a workout.
      • You're too out of breath to carry on a conversation.
      • Your muscles feel extremely sore, weak, or shaky for a long period after exercising. This may even affect your balance.
      • Your resting heart rate in the morning is more than 10 beats higher than normal.

      Danger signs: Stop and call your provider

      Some warning signs could signal a problem with your health or the pregnancy. Stop exercising immediately and contact your doctor or midwife if you have any of the following symptoms:

The benefits of exercise during pregnancy

Exercise During Pregnancy Does Wonders: 

- It boosts mood

-It mproves sleep

- It reduces aches and pains.

- It also prepares you for childbirth by strengthening muscles and building endurance

- It makes it much easier to get back in shape after your baby is born.

Research suggests that prenatal exercise may also lower the risk of developing gestational  diabetes and Preeclampsia. If you've been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, exercise can help you manage the condition and prevent complications. 

Exercise is so beneficial that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies aim to exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes a day with moderate intensity on most or all days of the week. The ideal workout gets your heart pumping, keeps you limber, manages weight gain, and prepares your muscles to handle the physical demands of pregnancy and the postpartum period without causing undue physical stress for you or the baby.

Consult your healthcare provider before starting any exercise program. If you get the go-ahead to work out, be sure to listen to your body. Don't overdo it – stop if it hurts or feels uncomfortable.

And before you put on your sneakers, learn the rules of safe pregnancy exercise! Many gyms and community centers offer fitness classes designed specifically for pregnant women and have instructors who can offer expert guidance on exercising safely.

The following activities are usually safe for expectant moms, although some of them may not work for you as you near your due date.

Cardio for moms-to-be

Walking: One of the best cardiovascular exercises for pregnant women, walking keeps you fit without jarring your knees and ankles. It's also easy to do almost anywhere, doesn't require any equipment beyond a good pair of supportive shoes, and is safe to do throughout all nine months of pregnancy.

Swimming: Healthcare providers and fitness experts encourage swimming as the best and safest exercise for pregnant women. Swimming is ideal because it exercises your large muscle groups (both arms and legs), provides cardiovascular benefits, reduces swelling, and allows you to feel weightless despite all the extra pounds you're carrying. It can be especially helpful for women with low back pain! 

Aerobics: Aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and tones your body. And if you take a class for pregnant women, you'll enjoy the camaraderie of other moms-to-be and feel reassured that each movement is safe for you and your baby.

Dancing: Get your heart pumping by dancing to your favorite tunes in the comfort of your own living room or at a group dance class. Avoid routines that call for leaps, jumps, or twirls.

Running: Going for a jog is an excellent way to exercise your heart and build endurance during pregnancy. The intensity of your run depends mostly on whether you're a veteran runner or a newbie. If you're a beginner, it's best to start at a slow pace on shorter routes before gradually building up to 30-minute runs.

Flexibility and strength training for moms-to-be:

Yoga: Yoga can maintain muscle tone and keep you flexible with little, if any, impact on your joints. But to give your heart a workout, you may have to add a walk or swim several times a week.

Stretching: Stretching is a great way to keep your body limber and relaxed as well as prevent muscle strain. Add stretching to your cardiovascular exercises to get a complete workout.

Weight Training: As long as you take the necessary precautions and use good technique (meaning slow, controlled movements), weight training is a great way to tone and strengthen your muscles. Building strength during pregnancy will help prepare you for all the baby lifting you'll be doing soon!