Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby. Not only does it keep you healthy, but it also makes you feel better.
But how do you workout safely during pregnancy? It’s a question that many women have. Thankfully, the answer isn’t too hard to find.
Daily Pregnancy Workout
A daily pregnancy workout can help ease aches and pains, strengthen muscles to help carry a baby through labor and increase stamina to handle childbirth. It can also make you feel good and boost your mood so you’re more likely to stick with a fitness routine throughout the entire journey.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends pregnant women get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week. That may mean walking, swimming or riding a stationary bike.
Be sure to drink lots of water during and after your workout. It’s also helpful to eat a light snack before you start.
Avoid exercises that require you to lie flat on your back or on your stomach for prolonged periods of time in the second and third trimesters because ligaments may become looser and sprain easily. Plus, some activities can increase the risk of miscarriage and other complications for you and your baby, so be sure to listen to your body and take it slow with your workouts during this time.
Cardio Pregnancy Workout
When you’re expecting, it can be easy to let your workout routine fall by the wayside. Watching the scale inch its way up to numbers you haven’t seen before can be discouraging, but a growing body of research suggests that working out during pregnancy is safe and helpful for mom and baby.
Getting in a cardio workout is a great way to stay fit during pregnancy, and it can help you keep your weight within the recommended range. Plus, exercising will boost your mood and decrease a variety of pregnancy symptoms like nausea and fatigue.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per day or 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week. Those recommendations do not change during pregnancy, but the level of intensity and types of exercise may vary.
The most important thing to remember during cardio is to avoid overheating and exhaustion. During pregnancy, your heart rate should be below 140 beats per minute. That’s a rule of thumb called the “talk test,” which is that you can still speak when your heart is beating hard, but it’s time to take a break if you start to feel short of breath.
Best Pregnancy Workouts
Exercise can help relieve many of the common pregnancy symptoms, such as back pain, swollen ankles and nausea. It also increases energy levels, reduces stress and improves sleep.
While pregnant, most women can continue their current fitness routines, says Nikki Jeffcoat, MS, a physical therapist in Dallas. She says that aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking and swimming, is safe during pregnancy and can be part of a balanced workout that includes strength training.
She advises that pregnant women stay active by taking advantage of their flexibility, which may make exercise easier for them. She says that exercise can also help prevent diastasis recti (abdominal separation), which is very common in the first trimester, and pelvic organ prolapse, which is a condition where the pelvic floor muscles stretch.
The best way to get fit during pregnancy is to start small and gradually increase your routine. You can do this with yoga, Pilates, swimming or any other exercise that will help you relax and keep your body healthy.
Best Prenatal Exercises
Pregnancy can be tough on your body, so it’s important to find the best pregnant workouts that will help you stay strong and feel good. Exercise can reduce common aches and pains, strengthen your heart and lungs, increase blood flow to your placenta, boost energy levels and help you sleep better.
Ideally, women should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week (about 30 minutes five days a week). The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends walking, jogging or stationary cycling.
Cardio is the term for any exercise that raises your heart rate and gets your breathing more heavily, such as running, jogging or stationary cycling. Swimming is a great low-impact option and can also be incorporated into your exercise routine during pregnancy.
However, it’s important to remember that some activities can be dangerous for you and your baby, including contact sports. For example, skiing, scuba diving and skydiving can all cause decompression sickness if you’re not prepared for it.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference in yoga and meditation?
Both yoga as well as meditation focus on your body and breathe. However, they differ in their goals and methods. Meditation focuses on being mindful and present, while yoga emphasizes movement and stretching.
A good place to start is by finding a class near you. There are free classes available at high schools, community centers, parks and gyms.
Online information may provide you with some useful information. Ask your friends, family members, or local library for advice.
How much yoga do I need?
It depends. You don’t have to do yoga every day just because someone else does it. Begin slowly, and then gradually increase your difficulty.
Do not expect to be flexible overnight. Keep in mind that you will develop flexibility over time. Don’t be too pushy.
What are the eight types of yoga?
Yoga, an ancient Indian practice, was created thousands of years ago to help people find inner peace and harmony. It involves meditation, breathing exercises (asanas), relaxation methods, and dietary guidance.
There are eight main types of yoga. Each style has many practices and styles. These include Ashtanga Vinyasa, Hatha, Iyengar, Kripalu, Kundalini, Power, Restorative, and Yin.
Each style offers its own benefits, but they all help you find inner peace and balance.
You can learn yoga in many ways, so choose the one that best suits you.
- The American Psychological Association recently shared that 84% of American adults feel the impact of prolonged stress (5). (healthline.com)
- Gentle yoga has been shown to ease some of the discomforts of tender, swollen joints for people with arthritis, according to a Johns Hopkins review of 11 recent studies. (hopkinsmedicine.org)
- According to a research project published in the (opens in new tab) in 2009, flexibility increased in just six weeks when subjects practiced Iyengar yoga once a week. (livescience.com)
- This type of yoga consists of a set 26-posture series and two breathing exercises in a room heated to 104℉ (40℃) in 40% humidity to help recreate the Indian climate Choudhury knew. (livescience.com)
- Meanwhile, according to a review published in the journal (opens in new tab) in 2015, there is evidence to suggest that Bikram yoga has favorable effects on metabolic markers, including blood lipids, insulin resistance, and glucose tolerance. (livescience.com)
- The effects of selected asanas in Iyengar yoga on flexibility: pilot study – PubMed
- Treatment of Major depressive Disorders with Iyengar Yoga or Coherent breathing: A randomized controlled dose study – PubMed
- PubMed’s systematic review of Yoga for Balance in a Healthy Population – PubMed
- Effect of 10 weeks of yoga on flexibility and balance among college athletes – PMC
9 Easy Yoga Poses to Learn
Stretching your body and improving flexibility are the key to great yoga poses. This article will show you how to perform basic yoga poses without causing injury. Our post on 20 Amazing Yoga Poses you Can Try at Home is a great alternative to this list of yoga postures.
- Warrior Pose (Virabhadrasana).
One of the most loved poses in yoga is the warrior pose. It helps build core strength and balance while improving posture. It strengthens the arms and legs, as well as the chest, back, shoulders, and abdomen.
How to do: Stand straight with your knees bent and your feet shoulder width apart. Next, grab onto a sturdy object such a doorframe or wall. Your left leg should be raised to form a 90° angle with your body. Next, bend forward until you touch the floor behind. Keep your hips straight and lift them off of the ground. You should hold this position for 10 second before you return to standing. You can do the same thing on the right side.
- Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
Triangle pose is another excellent beginner’s yoga position that strengthens core muscles and improves balance. It also increases the flexibility of your hips, shoulders, lower back, hamstrings, calves as well as your thighs, calves, thighs, buttocks and lower back.
How to do the triangle pose: Place your feet flat on each other on the floor and sit down on the ground with your knees bent. Place your palms above your head and rest your elbows on your hands. Breathe deeply and lift your chest up towards the ceiling. Slowly exhale and lower your chin to the chest. Your body should be triangular. Relax your jaw and neck completely and continue breathing normally. Stay in this position for 5 minutes.
- Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
It is a great pose that benefits the entire body. It helps improve balance, strengthen the arms, legs, core muscles, and relieves stress.
Do downward dog by placing your hands on your shoulders and lying down face-down. Your knees should be bent slightly. Keep your ankles near your body. Slowly extend your arms outwards so that your hands reach the ground. Keep your toes pointed toward the sky. Next, push your spine forward using your legs. Now, extend your arms outwards and gaze ahead. Hold this position for 30 seconds before lowering yourself back to the starting position.
- Lie forward and be seated (Pasch imottanasana).
This is one of the easiest poses for yoga. This is especially beneficial for tight hip flexors, hamstrings, or other issues. It helps improve mobility and flexibility in the spine by stretching the front, sides, and back of the body. It reduces stress and tension.
The forward seated position is achieved by placing your head on a mat in front of a door or wall. Bring your forehead against the wall and slide your torso forwards until your chest touches the wall. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds. Slide your torso forward and continue the process. For approximately two weeks, continue doing this daily.
- Child’s Pose (Balasana)
A child’s position is good for relaxing the mind and calmening the nervous system. It can be used anytime during yoga practice when you feel stressed, tired, anxious, or overwhelmed. It can also be performed after strenuous exercises such as running, lifting weights, etc.
How to do a child’s pose: Lie down on your stomach and place your hands underneath your shoulders. Toes should be tucked under your heels. Let your knees drop so that your hips reach 90 degrees. Keep your eyes closed and breathe naturally. You can stay in this position for up to 10 minutes.
- Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Mountain pose: This is the most basic position in yoga. It is ideal for beginners because it opens the chest and helps release stress.
Mountain pose: Stand straight, with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your pelvis should be tilted upwards. Move your navel toward the spine. Reach your arms high above your head, and gaze upward. Hold this position for three deep breathes. Now lower your arms, then bend your knees. Do this again.
- Warrior I,Virabhadrasana 1.
Warrior I is another great beginner’s pose that will help strengthen your lower back and improve flexibility in the wrists, ankles, and hips. It also strengthens the inner thighs and groin.
How to do warrior I: Begin standing upright with your feet parallel and shoulder-width apart. Cross your left arm over your right forearm by raising your left arm. To turn your palm inward, point your fingers toward your body. Place your fingertips on your right thigh. Place your weight onto your left leg and bend your right knee slightly. Your left leg should remain flat on its ground. Do not move your left foot. You can take five deep inhalations.
Repeat this process with your other hand and then switch positions.
- Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)
The half-moon pose improves digestion and strengthens the muscles around your waistline. It also relieves anxiety and stress.
How to get a half-moon pose: Begin by sitting on the floor. Bend your knees and bring them towards your chest. Place your knees on top of one another. Slowly raise your torso to bring your back parallel to the ground. Make sure that your head remains aligned with your neck. Relax your jaw and open your mouth. Take slow, deep breaths. Try placing your hand on the ground beside your body if you have trouble maintaining balance.
- Cat/Cow Pose (Marjariasana)
Cat cow pose strengthens the core muscles and improves flexibility in the hip joints. It stimulates your abdominal organs as well as massages your internal organs.
How to do cat/cow poses: Sit comfortably while crossing your legs. Both palms should be in front of you. Breathe deeply through your nose. Slowly exhale through the nose. This will stimulate the abdominal muscles. Keep your chin forward while you inhale. Exhale and let your head fall backward. You may use a wall behind you for support if needed. Your movement should be steady and smooth. Keep this position for about 2-5 minutes.