Easy Prenatal Exercise Ideasby Elizabeth MacDonald
You have 40 weeks (give or take) to grow this perfect little being, and one way to do so is to keep working out. Prenatal exercise is critical to have a healthy, enjoyable pregnancy. Not to mention, all of the benefits for both you and your baby!
The options for exercising while pregnant are limitless. People will tell you not to do certain things, but unless you are high risk, you can do anything your body feels comfortable doing. If you have already started a routine, keep going with it. If you were doing little more than walking around an office and arm curling doughnuts, it’s time to change things up.
- Make sure you stay hydrated, drinking water every few minutes of your workout.
- Listen to your body. If you feel nauseated, dizzy, light-headed, or uncomfortable, stop and reevaluate what you are doing.
- Keep your core engaged: the pregnant belly is added weight to the front of the body. Imagine sucking the abdomen in and keeping baby pulled toward the spine. This will help you perform your workout correctly and pain-free.
- Do something every day.
- Braxton Hicks Contractions (tightening of the uterus) are common in pregnancy and exercise can trigger them. Think of them as a workout for the uterus, and preparation for labor. If they are happening more than 6 an hour, take a break and rest.
Easy Prenatal Exercise Ideas
Cardio: My personal favorite form of cardio is running, but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I ran my first marathon on my littlest baby’s first birthday. It was a huge accomplishment. With so many little ones at home, the treadmill or trail is my escape. It helps that my husband loves running too. So we occasionally hire a babysitter to go trail running or hiking, even when I’m pregnant.
- Running, jogging, fast walking: Sign up for a couch to 5k program, register for a race distance you feel comfortable with just to keep you motivated. You can alternate jogging with walking too. Give yourself small goals of distance to accomplish.
- Cycling: Stationary bikes will be the safest, but if you have always been on road bikes, keep riding. Make sure not to slouch your back though, you’ll cause unwanted back pain.
- Elliptical: This is an easy machine to be lazy on, so stay focused and make sure that you feel your heart rate increase, along with your breathing.
- Stairs: This will give you an awesome butt and legs, but it is (in my opinion) the hardest form of cardio. Make sure you are still able to talk, are no holding your breath, and feel comfortable at the pace you choose to climb.
- Body Weight: All types of push-ups, dips, squats, and lunges.
Core Strength: You can lay on your back as long as you are comfortable in that position, but there are alternatives.
- Planks and Side Planks
- Pelvic rocks: Standing or on hands and knees
- Leg Raises
- Knee lifts
Flexibility/Stretching: We have more of the hormone relaxin flowing while pregnant, so stretching will feel amazing – as well as being beneficial!
- Yoga: Holding poses allows the body to benefit from the true stretch and gives you time to clear your mind and be present with what you are doing.
Relaxation/Meditation: This is the ultimate labor preparation tool. By centering yourself and clearing your mind, you will bond with baby and be able to handle the contractions of labor.
Group Fitness Ideas: Make sure that the instructor knows you are pregnant; she may alter exercises for you or suggest others if something is not comfortable to you. Do not feel like you must be the star of the class, or even keep up with everyone for that matter. Breaking a sweat and raising your heart rate is a great accomplishment the first few times you attend. You’ll get the hang of the group atmosphere. Listen to your body and lower intensity if needed.
- Sign up for prenatal yoga classes
- Take a spin class
- Water Fitness
- Utilize the ball to engage your core while performing exercises.
- Hiking: At 23 weeks pregnant, I hiked up 3,500 ft of mountain. It was hard and amazing. A complete body workout that reminded me just how amazing the body is! You don’t need to climb a mountain, just get out on a trail and walk fast enough to raise your heart rate.
- Hire a trainer to keep you working hard and pushing yourself.
- Invest in a monthly subscription (such as Peloton) and join an online community while feeling inspired.