Exercising during Pregnancy and the Benefits

Once blessed with the happy and life-changing news of Pregnancy, it is not time to leave the sneakers in the closet or to cancel your gym membership.

It is perfectly safe to do certain exercises once cleared by your Doctor.

Two types of exercises immediately ruled out are jumping and prone (on the stomach) exercises.

My clients train on the elliptical machine, cycle or walk for Cardio and sometimes throw in a bit of step work. However, weight training and resistance exercises for toning are usually the focus.

With time and lack of exercise, the skin will lose its elasticity and it is quite hard to regain. So as long as expecting moms feel comfortable exercising during pregnancy, it should be safe to exercise up to 7 or 8 months and to walk during the last month.

Once there is any discomfort during exercise, you should stop that exercise immediately and move on to the next one.

If cramping or extreme discomfort is experienced, give yourself a break from exercising that day.

Benefits of Exercising During Pregnancy:

● Helps to have a quicker Postpartum Recovery
● Facilitates a faster return to Pre-Pregnancy Weight and Appearance
● Reduces Back Pain and Strain
● Reduces the Risk of Gestational Diabetes
● Shorter Labour and Less Complications requiring Surgery

I suggest the following Exercises to keep active and as toned as possible:

1. Elliptical training

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Training on the Elliptical machine (Photo: Heavy.com)

2. Cycling (On a stationary bike)

3. Walking

4. Squats

5. Lunges

6. Light arm work with Dumbbells for the Biceps and Triceps

7. Kegel Exercises 

Kegel Exercises also known as Pelvic floor exercises are quite popular during pregnancy. They involve contracting and relaxing the pelvic muscles (kegel muscles) repeatedly.

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Kegel Exercise (Photo: http://www.ladycarehealth.com)

The exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles to help push the baby out easily during delivery. The exercises also support the uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum. This in turn helps to deal with urinary incontinence that is a common problem during pregnancy.

***Kegel exercises are not strenuous or painful, but some persons may have discomfort so it is a good idea to discuss with your gynaecologist first.***

8. Supported groin and pelvis floor stretch with slight back bend.

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Photo: drsusieg.com

9. Yoga Exercises. E.g. Fierce Cat and Cobbler’s Pose

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Fierce Cat Exercise

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10. Exercises for the Glutes and Hamstrings

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Back Leg raises and pulses for the Glutes and Hamstrings (Photo: webconsultas.com)

By: Gabrielle Burgess (Certified Personal Trainer & Sports Nutritionist)

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