Regular exercise during pregnancy is of great benefit to the mother's physical and mental health as it reduces risk of pregnancy complications, checks excess weight gain and make for possible easy delivery of a healthy child. However reports suggest that only 45% of pregnant women do exercise.
Medical and Health guidelines suggest that healthy pregnant women need at least 2½ hours of moderate intensity aerobic activity, such as walking or swimming, each week. It is safe to exercise during pregnancy as it doesn't lead to miscarriage however you are advised to consult your health provider before starting exercises for assurance of safety. Those who normally engage in vigorous exercise are normally advised to carry on but with safer precautions however those who did not exercise before pregnancy are usually advised to start up slowly and build up your fitness little by little. For example, starting with 5 mins of activity each day, and gradually working your way up to 30 minutes each day as it helps build fitness.
Here are simple exercises that help through all trimesters up till labor ;
Walking: Brisk walking in particular is a great workout that doesn’t strain your joints and muscles, it is very advisable new to exercise, it provides a great cardiovascular workout with little impact on the knees and ankles as it can also be done at home environs
Swimming and Water activities: If you experience back pains while doing other exercises , swimming is advisable for you. The water supports the baby weight and helps keep the mother's heart rate up, Buoyancy relieves the mother of the body weight. Breaststroke is the best choice because it is comfortable for the shoulders, back and necks compared to others, you can also use a kickboard which helps the lower body muscles.
Low-impact aerobics: Low-impact aerobics don’t put as much strain on your body as high-impact aerobics does, This exercises are aimed at strengthening the lungs and improving muscle tone, However during high-impact aerobics, both feet leave the ground at the same time and heart rate is hiked such as when using a skipping rope and doing jumping jacks. Low-impact aerobics include walking, riding a stationary bike and using an elliptical machine, It is therefore important the instructor modifies your training to soothe the pregnancy condition.
Yoga and Pilates: Studies suggest that Yoga may also help with manage stress and pain, yoga and pilate classes can help women keep their joints intact and maintain body flexibility, It is important the instructor is aware of pregnancy so some poses can be modified or avoided , with examples such as lying on your belly or flat on your back after the first trimester.
Squats and lunges: This are important when preparing for labor, as squatting may help open the pelvis during labor so should be practiced , lunges works the pelvic and allows for hips movement which is good.
Squats: Standing with the feet apart on the same plane and flat on the floor, keeping the back straight then lower the buttocks slowly as you keep feet's flat and the knees at the same distance with feet , Suspend for 30 seconds as low as possible then slowly push up.
Lunges: with feets firmly on the ground slightly move one in front as far forward as possible than go lower till the knees behind touches the floor , hold for 20 seconds
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