Should I Exercise During Pregnancy?
Mild exercise, of types appropriate to the various stages, will help keep the circulatory system healthy, increase pelvic muscle tone and strength, and help to smooth out mood swings. Done right, you can lessen the severity of backaches, keep joints flexible and firm, and improve sleep.
Mild exercise helps release endorphins, which can help elevate mood. Proper strengthening and toning of the back, buttocks, and thighs helps improve posture and relieve backaches. Daily stretching keeps joints well-lubricated with synovial fluid. Moderate working out burns up some of that anxious energy, leading to more restful sleep.
Three exercises in particular are appropriate for most soon-to-be mothers: swimming, spinning and pelvic strengtheners.
Swimming is a great cardiovascular exercise and has the added benefit of easing the back and leg burden during later stages. Most women enjoy the (all too temporary) relief during those final months. Keeping the cardiovascular system active helps regulate the endocrine system and keeps muscle tissues full and joints flexible.
Swimming has the added benefit of working nearly all the muscles and joints in a low-impact way. Knees get a break from the higher stress of carrying additional weight and breathing exercises can be done while wading, in between laps.
Spinning, provided it isn't done too strenuously, can be a terrific exercise up until the last two months or so. The cardiovascular benefits are similar to swimming and the legs as well as stomach and pelvic muscles can get a really good workout. That benefits fitness overall, while helping to keep legs in shape to prevent falls. It also helps two particular muscle groups that will be needed during delivery.
A 10-minute routine on a stationary bike is plenty, keeping in mind that you should stop at the first sign of bleeding, fluid loss, dizziness or intense pain.
'Kegels' are a commonly recommended exercise - and for good reason. They help develop those very specific muscles that aid in giving birth.
To find the right muscles to focus on, pretend you're trying to halt urination in the middle of elimination. Squeeze those specific muscles for a few seconds, then relax. During the exercise, avoid tightening the legs or stomach. That will help isolate the right muscles you need to zero in on. Remember to continue to breathe normally, in and out slowly and regularly.
Before beginning or continuing any exercise routine once you know you are pregnant, be sure to have a long talk with your physician. Many of them are rushed, but be firm and get the answers you need in order to stay fit in a safe way.
Stop immediately any activity that produces heart palpitations, back pain or light-headedness. Don't concern yourself with weight loss during pregnancy, just keep fit in order to maximize your overall health and mental well-being.