Three Beneficial (and Safe) Cardio Exercises to Enjoy During Pregnancy
While you’d be forgiven for thinking that growing a baby should count as your exercise while you’re pregnant—the exertion and endurance are equivalent to running a marathon, after all—if you can drag yourself off the couch, exercise during pregnancy offers tremendous benefits.
Exercise has been shown to enhance mood, reduce muscular pain, ease constipation and facilitate healthy weight gain during your pregnancy. Staying active offers great benefits beyond your pregnancy, too. From reducing muscular pain on delivery day to aiding with your recovery, exercise can be a pregnant woman’s best friend.
Note: exercise can ease normal aches and pains during this time, make sure you listen to your body and see your doctor if you’re experiencing more pain than is normal. It’s also key to bear in mind that obtaining optimal health through nutrition and exercise can be a balancing act when you’re expecting, so consulting your local Perinatal Society for information is advisable before settling into your diet or exercise regime for the next nine months.
But what kind of exercise should you do? Cardio exercises are a great bet as they boost blood circulation, tone your muscles and increase your endurance. (Your body will thank you for it on delivery day, that’s for sure!)
Here are some safe and enjoyable ways to get your heart rate going while you’re expecting.
A nice relaxing swim or even a more taxing water aerobics class are both excellent pregnancy exercises. Why? The water makes you more buoyant, so you will experience your weight differently. While you may be feeling like a beached whale on land, in the pool you’ll find movement light and easy. If you suffer from nausea or puffy ankles, hopping into the swimming pool is a great form of relief. Did you know the hormones released during pregnancy loosen your ligaments and joints? Weird! Bearing this in mind, swimming is the perfect workout as it does not put pressure on your joints at all.
A word of caution, if you’re thinking a swimming pool might be the answer to your prayers. Take care to enter the water gradually, instead of leaping in. Now is not the time for a belly flop! Exposing your body to sudden changes of pressure by entering the water quickly can cause tiny bubbles to form inside your body, which can impact your child’s health.
Walking, Jogging… Yes, Even Running
When you’re pregnant, roller-coaster energy levels can make it challenging to stick to a regular exercise routine. Walking and jogging are both great exercises for busy pregnant women who need to take advantage of the energy peaks when they come. No gym membership required! If you were a runner before you got pregnant, chances are you’ll be keen to keep running as long as you can. There is no reason not to if you have checked with your health professional. It is advisable that you stick to smooth, even terrain, and look after your knees by keeping your training schedule moderate, with regular rest days.
Elliptical & Stair Master
Both the elliptical and the stair master are great cardio options during pregnancy. You have control over your speed, tension and incline, enabling you to select an intensity level that you find both manageable and enjoyable. It’s worth bearing in mind that higher resistance might be more challenging for you as the countdown to delivery day looms, so make sure you’re paying attention to the signals your body is sending you, and don’t overdo it.
Whether you’re already an exercise fanatic or are just dipping your toe in to exercise, staying active during pregnancy is a great way to help your body do what it does best.