The 7 Best Types Of Exercise While Pregnant – AND What To Avoid
Being pregnant really is a rollercoaster of emotions – excitement, fear, anticipation…but if you have any fear surrounding exercising during this exciting phase of your life – don’t worry! You can certainly get your body moving, in fact, it can be really beneficial for you and your baby. Exercise is widely known to help combat the aches and pains that come along with pregnancy, so don’t neglect it.
Here are some great, safe forms of exercise to do when pregnant:
- Swimming – this is great as the water supports your increasing weight, it is low intensity and really easy on the joints. It is also a mindful practice as you can’t use technology while you do it!
- Walking – you can continue with this throughout your entire pregnancy. Go at a pace that feels good for you – this is great for mental health to get yourself out in the fresh air too.
- Cycling – a fantastic low-impact aerobic exercise. The only thing to bear in mind here is that as your bump grows, your balance is likely to feel off so you are more vulnerable to falls. Indoor cycling could be a fantastic solution to this.
- Pilates – the goal of pilates is to improve posture, balance and flexibility – all ideal for pregnancy! As long as you are following pregnancy-safe workouts and performing the necessary modifications, you should be all good to keep going with pilates throughout your pregnancy.
- Running – if you are a regular runner and used to do it before becoming pregnant, you can definitely continue throughout your pregnancy. Be careful not to overdo it though, as you are more prone to injury.
- Strength training – as long as you are not pushing up the weights and are able to continue a conversation throughout your workout, strength training has so many benefits. An alternative to upping the weights could be increasing reps instead, and moving through the reps slowly, with control.
- Yoga – this is really beneficial for your mental health, as well as physical. It can relax you at times when you are feeling more anxious.
Some forms of exercise to avoid are:
- High intensity training – this will spike your heart rate far too high. You could incorporate HIIT into your workout regime if you are super experienced with it and can modify any jumping exercises to keep your heart rate at a more stable level; you might have to practice it less often too to give your body time to recover.
- Horse riding – the risk of falls is high!
- Skiing – you are more likely to get altitude sickness when pregnant.
- Gymnastics – you could stretch your body in an awkward way during gymnastics, and are more likely to injure yourself through falls.
- Lying flat on your back for a long period of time – this places far too much pressure on the blood vessel carrying blood to your heart.
- Contact sports like judo or kickboxing – there is a high risk of being hit and you don’t want that!
There are definitely certain exercise considerations to bear in mind when exercising throughout your pregnancy.
- Do not push yourself too hard – this is not the time to reach for new PB’s in the gym, or to opt for super high intensity workouts. You will likely have to take it down a notch. A great general rule of thumb is to make sure you can hold a conversation at any time during your workout. Think about maintaining your fitness levels during this time.
- Try to stick to the kinds of workouts you were doing before you became pregnant, whether this be resistance training, running, yoga or pilates. While you can definitely pick up some lower intensity training during this time, it isn’t wise to suddenly start running when your body wasn’t used to it beforehand.
- Make sure you are always warming up before exercise and cooling down afterwards, ensuring your heart rate can slowly re-adjust to normal.
- Try to get your body moving every single day, even just for 30 minutes.
- Keep yourself hydrated – in general, but especially when exercising.
- Stay fuelled – exercising burns calories, and it is key to make sure you are fuelling yourself correctly, not just for your own health but for your baby’s too.
- If you use a personal trainer or like going to classes, make sure you inform your trainer that you are pregnant and how far along you are. This way, they can keep an eye on you and give you any necessary modifications.
I hope this has shown you not only which types of exercise are safe during pregnancy, but in fact how important exercise is to help you through your pregnancy journey!