Wellness reading for Moms and Moms-to-be, including prenatal exercise and Baby & Me fitness.

5 Great Ways to Exercise During Pregnancy – Yes Yoga is One of Them!

Keeping fit and getting regular exercise during pregnancy not only helps you to regain your pre-pregnancy figure after childbirth, but it also reduces stress levels and helps to prepare you physically for labour. Many women worry about harming their unborn baby through exercise, but there are several ways to safely exercise while pregnant, and here are five of them.

1. Yoga

Yoga is an excellent form of exercise for pregnant women. It tones, strengthens and stretches your body, and it provides relaxation and inner peace. Practicing yoga strengthens your core, calms your mind and loosens up your body – all great practice for labour. There are specific prenatal yoga classes and DVDs readily available, but if you prefer to stick with your regular class, be sure to let your instructor know that you’re pregnant. There are certain yoga postures that you shouldn’t do while pregnant, or that will need to be modified while your pregnant. Better yet, sign up for yoga classes designed specifically for pregnancy. Try Evolve’s Prenatal Yoga workshops and classes.

2. Swimming

Swimming is a great form of low-impact exercise that is suitable for everyone, including pregnant women. The buoyancy of the water supports your body and joints in a way that you don’t find in most other forms of exercise. It provides a combination of gentle aerobic exercise and muscle strengthening movements in a safe environment where you’re unlikely to injure yourself. It supports a larger range of motion and helps you avoid overheating. As long as you take the usual precautions, such as avoiding food for an hour before swimming and keeping well hydrated, swimming is a safe and beneficial form of exercise during pregnancy.

3. Walking

One of the easiest and cheapest forms of exercise is walking. It’s perfect for those that are pregnant and for anyone new to exercise. Walking for 30 minutes everyday at a moderate to brisk pace, provides cardiovascular benefits, strengthens the body and increases flexibility. As long as you wear comfortable and supportive shoes and keep well hydrated, walking is ideal for pregnant women. Even if you have a busy schedule, walking is something that can be incorporated into your day-to-day routine. Try leaving your car at home when you go on short journeys, i.e. to the doctor’s office or picking the kids up from school. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, or go for a 30 minute walk during your lunch break.

4. Weight Training

Weight training with free weights, weight-lifting machines or resistance bands can condition your body and strengthen your core. If done carefully with proper lifting technique, it can be a superb form of exercise for pregnant women, as it strengthens tummy muscles and your pelvic floor – both areas that are usually affected by pregnancy. As with yoga, some weight training exercises should be avoided or modified for pregnant women, so make sure that you discuss your pregnancy with your fitness trainer or sign up for a specific prenatal class.

5. Water Aerobics

Water aerobics, also known as aqua aerobics, is one of the safest forms of exercise during pregnancy because the buoyancy of the water supports the body. Your joints, which are already strained due to pregnancy weight are protected and there’s no risk of falling or injuring yourself while in the water. Like in swimming, the water supports a larger range of motion and helps you avoid overheating. The water also gives great resistance so you’ll still feel like you’re working hard to keep fit and healthy.

Whatever exercise you choose to do while pregnant, always do so only under the guidance of your doctor or midwife, and always listen to your body. If something hurts or feels wrong, then stop. Keep workout sessions to a moderate duration and frequency. Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after your workout. Move smoothly and with full body awareness. Avoid saunas and hot tubs. As long as you follow these tips, you’re on track for a happy, healthy pregnancy.

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Prenatal Yoga: A Restorative Exercise Routine for a Mom-to-be

When a woman expects a baby, it is a very special time in her life. Pregnancy comes with a long list of body and mental changes, including stress and anxiety. It’s a natural process, but sometimes it takes a while for a woman to become used to the symptoms associated with bearing a child. Many women must carry on with their pre-pregnancy lifestyle and work around it; for example, going to work while pregnant, or continuing their commitment to their passions and activities. At home, outdoors or even at the office, prenatal yoga can become a part of a mother-to-be’s adaptation process, by helping her to relax while staying active.

Safe Exercise During Pregnancy

If you are pregnant, staying active is recommended strongly, unless your doctor advises you to do otherwise. Physical activity will help you rest and sleep well, while increasing the strength, flexibility and endurance of those muscles needed for labour and the recovery after birth.

You will want to shift your routine dramatically toward a healthier lifestyle, but it’s important not to overdo it when engaging in physical activity. If you know how your body changes when it’s carrying a child, you will become aware of the limits you need to impose. The first rule is to be aware of your body’s limitations and not start an exercise routine that is more difficult than you are used to.

You will find your joints becoming looser over the course of your pregnancy, in preparation for giving birth. High-intensity sports such as running or basketball can expose you to injuries to the joints. You will also notice tenderness and sensitivity in your breasts — another reason it’s wiser to choose low-impact sports. During the first trimester, you may be able to maintain your familiar levels of mobility and effort but, as your pregnancy advances, you’ll have to limit your routine.

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The Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

Whether you have never tried yoga or already are a veteran of the practice, you will find that prenatal yoga is an ideal form of exercise during pregnancy. Not only will yoga keep your body in good condition, but it also will balance your mind and teach you relaxation techniques that can be of tremendous help during labour.

Breath-work practice is a wonderful tool; it can help during labour and also can keep your blood pressure and heart rate in check. Stress hormones can impact your baby’s development, so the relaxing effect of yoga practice is beneficial for both you and the baby. By slowing down, you are able to bring your focus to what’s happening on the inside. You are building awareness of how your body works and what it needs for you and the baby.

Prenatal yoga can decrease the incidence of lower-back pain, nausea, carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, headaches and shortness of breath.

Prenatal yoga classes also can give you a sense of community, as you find comfort in spending time with people who know what you are going through.

Joining a Prenatal Yoga Workshop

Prenatal yoga can be very beneficial for all moms-to-be. Join a workshop or class, where you can monitor your breath and listen to your body while the instructor gives you safe suggestions as needed. As your pregnancy advances, adapt your routine to what is needed to accommodate that growing adorable bump. Certain poses won’t be available to you any more, so you will want to modify your routine or change to a more comfortable pose. Prenatal classes can include take-home stretch lessons to help with the aches and pains of pregnancy. Yoga can restore you, help you stay grounded and let you flow through the worries of labour and being a mom. Try Evolve’s prenatal yoga workshops and classes.