I am happy to introduce MamaOT’s newest guest blogger, Katie Moore. Katie is a mom who loves to blog about all things “mommy” and today she is here to share some tips for engaging in aerobic exercise during pregnancy.
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Photo credit: Frank de Kleine
When a woman becomes pregnant she often becomes more conscientious about her health and the health of her developing baby. Exercise is a great way to enhance both mental and physical health during pregnancy because it increases cardiovascular circulation and produces “feel good” hormones (Dopamine and Serotonin).
Bringing a life into this world is a serious enterprise, and what a woman does during pregnancy can have a significant impact on her baby’s health. Exercising regularly can benefit not only the health of a pregnant woman but also the health of her unborn baby and, when combined with eating nutritious meals and getting plenty of rest, will help give her and her baby the best chances of a healthy delivery.
It’s important for a pregnant woman to speak with her doctor about what exercise is best for her. Doctors are the best resource for information and it is normal to ask them questions about pregnancy- and delivery-related topics like exercise, diet, pain management medicine, cord blood banking, and even circumcision.
Aerobic exercises were a great way for me to stay in good physical health while pregnant. However, these exercises are also beneficial to the health of a woman both before becoming pregnant and after the delivery of her baby. While every pregnant woman should talk to her doctor before beginning any exercise program (especially if you have a special health circumstance), there are many types of exercises that are generally considered to be safe during pregnancy. Be sure to keep tabs on how much you are exerting yourself and check with your doctor to find out what advice he or she gives for keeping a safe max heart rate.
That being said, here are five safe aerobic exercises for pregnant women:
1 • Step stool aerobics. Step stool aerobics can provide an easy workout. Use a wide, sturdy, four-inch high step stool, and step up and down for about fifteen minutes, at least once a day. Do this at a moderate pace and be sure to maintain good balance. A few months after my baby was born, I raised the stool to a higher level, increased my pace, and prolonged the amount of minutes.
2 • Elliptical. This equipment can be purchased to use at home or can be found at the nearest fitness center. This provided an excellent aerobic and cardio workout without impacting my joints. My advice, start slowly and increase the minutes gradually.
3 • Swimming. Swimming pools offer a fun and easy way to get an aerobic workout. Since the water offers resistance to body movements, many types of exercises can be performed, aside from simply swimming. Try standing in a corner of the pool, with both arms providing support on the ledge, and exercise your legs by pretending to ride a bicycle or hold both legs together and do a mermaid paddle. Doing the breaststroke will exercise both the arms and the legs. Thirty minutes to an hour a day will do wonders for improving mental health, as well as physical health.
Swimming was one of my favorite exercises to engage in when I was pregnant because it brought back childhood memories of all those summers I spent swimming in my grandparents’ pool with all my cousins when I was very little. And not only that, it also made me look forward to creating memories like those with my daughter after she was born (not to mention I was getting exercise!).
4 • Stationary bike. A stationary bike is a great way to get a good workout, regardless of the weather. I liked to set up my stationary bike in front of a television to watch movies or my favorite TV program, and it made the time go faster. As with all exercises, start slowly and gradually increase the resistance on the pedals.
5 • Walking. Walking is viewed by many as being one of the easiest exercises to engage in while pregnant. However, the jostling encountered can be hard on some people’s knees. Putting on a good pair of walking shoes can minimize this problem. Walking on a pretty day used to always lift my spirits. You can invite other people to walk with you to make it a little more fun, and you can even get the dog in on the act!
Walking was also one of my favorite exercises, both before and after I gave birth. Before delivery my husband would go walking with me. This was something we really hadn’t done and it gave us an activity to do together. After I gave birth, walking was the easiest exercise for me to do. I started gradually but now I enjoy going for long walks with by daughter in her stroller. We enjoy going just the two of us, but grandma likes to join, too!
With all of the options out there and with the advice your doctor gives you for aerobic exercise while pregnant, do what makes you feel the best. Start your pregnancy off right and have fun with it!
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Katie Moore is an active blogger who discusses the topics of motherhood, children, fitness, health and all other things Mommy. She enjoys writing, blogging, and meeting new people! To connect with Katie you can contact her via her blog, Moore From Katie, or follow her on Twitter, @moorekm26.
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