Safe Exercise During Pregnancy

How to Remain Fit While Pregnant

Exercise is healthy and even more so for pregnant women. They should start at the early stages of their pregnancy to prepare the body physically for the added work of the pregnancy, labour and delivery. Follow the tips below for a full body pregnancy workout that is also safe exercise during pregnancy.

Do prenatal exercises which will help strengthen the body structure providing physical comfort, support and good posture.

A brisk walk every day in the fresh air helps to keep muscles in tone. Wear sensible shoes and keep abreast of the distance walked and the weather conditions.

For a more strenuous pregnancy workout than a brisk walk, try activities like running, bike riding and playing tennis. These may be continued after being guided by good judgement.

Use your heart rate as your exercise guide. To check your heart rate, count your pulse for 10 seconds after you stop exercising and multiply this number by 6 to obtain the number of beats per minute. This should be used to monitor your body’s response to exercise. Ensure you remain within 60-65% of your maximum heart rate.

The same exercise routines time after time can become monotonous and boring . A good way to make the safe exercise during pregnancy more exciting and something to look forward to is by adding music. Take your set of headphones to the gym or switch on your stereo at home while doing your workout. Music helps in calming you down and also aids in relaxation. You can also arouse your body with the energy of sounds.

Frequent breaks should be taken during the pregnancy workout to avoid overheating which may harm the unborn baby and you should also be careful to limit strenuous exercises while pregnant.

Here are some exercise guidelines which should be followed:

  • Ensure you remain within 60-65% of your maximum heart rate.
  • Drink as much water as you can during and after exercise.
  • Avoid oxygen deficiency by not exercising to the point of being totally out of breath. You should be able to talk normally and even sing!
  • Avoid extreme tiredness by not exercising to the point of exhaustion. Limit stretching and bending exercises from the 26th week of pregnancy until delivery.
  • Take extra care when exercising in hot weather as when doing strenuous exercises your core body temperature can rise. Excessive heat is unhealthy for you and the baby.
  • Choose an exercise that is non-weight bearing such as swimming late in pregnancy because of increased pressure and discomfort.
  • Try to exercise regularly at least three times per week. Avoid vigorous exercise when ill or during hot, humid weather. Always exercise on a wooden floor or a tightly carpeted surface. Avoid extreme stretching exercises due to the relaxation of connective tissue. Undertake a five minute warm up such as slow walking before a vigorous pregnancy workout.

Pregnant women should follow a non weight bearing exercise such as swimming or cycling on a stationary bike which tend to have fewer injuries. A study by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has proven that moms-to-be who follow a non weight bearing pregnancy workout are more likely to continue into the third trimester than those attempting weight bearing exercises such as lifting weights or running.

When looking to begin safe exercise during pregnancy, it is always a good idea to discuss any planned exercise with your doctor before you begin.

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