Exercising For Two
You're pregnant? Congratulations. If you planned ahead, you will have been working on getting yourself in good physical shape in advance of conception. The level of fitness you achieved prior to the pregnancy represents the level of physical activity that is safe for you to maintain while pregnant, too.
Beneficial types of exercise for pregnancy include aerobic exercises, strength training, and exercises that increase your flexibility. These forms of physical activity help to prepare your body for the stresses of pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
Examples of aerobic exercise include cycling, jogging, swimming, and plain old walking. All of these are good for your heart and you may engage in these activities 3-4 times each week. Aerobic exercise increases the flow of nutrients and oxygen to your reproductive organs and to your baby. They also improve your sleep and increase your sense of emotional well-being. Making sure to continue these exercises all through your pregnancy will prevent excess weight gain and decrease your tendency toward pregnancy symptoms such as backache and constipation.
Strength training involves the use of weights or resistance, such as a long elastic band. This type of exercise should be indulged each day. Strength training not only helps you to increase your lean body mass, it also builds up the strength of the upper and lower back, the pelvic floor, the lower body, and the abdominal muscles. These are the very muscles that see the most stress during pregnancy.
Throw in some Kegel exercises for good measure, since these nifty little movements help maintain your pelvic floor muscles. This means that you recover from your delivery that much faster. In addition to this benefit, Kegel exercises can prevent the future development of urinary incontinence that can be caused by the rigors of pregnancy.
Always complement strength training with flexibility exercises. Flexibility exercises include the various stretches and yoga, for instance. These movements can lower your risk for exercise-induced tendon and muscle injuries. Stretching exercises are also very calming and can help you to release the stress from your mind and body.
*Before you embark on your pregnancy exercise plan speak to your physician and make sure he's satisfied with the type and amount of exercise you've chosen.
*The activities you choose should be those you enjoy so that you won't come to your exercise time with feelings of dread.
*Make a set time for exercising and don't deviate no matter what.
*Find a friend to exercise with you.
*Stop when you feel tired.
*If something hurts, stop the activity right away.