In addition to health benefits, exercise can boost your mood and energy levels. So bump it up! To help you get moving, here are 8 fun workouts that are safe to do during pregnancy.
But first, let’s talk safety: Talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise regimen. Always ease into your workouts, especially if you’re trying something new. And inform the instructor that you’re pregnant and ask for pregnancy modifications.
Surprisingly, lifting weights can really help alleviate aches and pains during pregnancy. But because of the hormone relaxin, which is coursing through your pregnant veins, your tendons and ligaments will be looser than usual. Keep this in mind when lifting weights to avoid injury. One way to do that is to use weight machines, since they control your range of motion. But stay away from machines that press against your belly. Tip: This is one workout you should not try for the first time when pregnant unless you're working with a personal trainer.
Zumba is a great cardio workout, and what’s not to love about moving your body to the beat? Follow your comfort level, and don’t be afraid to skip a few steps as your pregnancy progresses. Tip: Try a Zumba class when you need a mood boost—this is one class that focuses on fun.
Barre classes are mostly low-impact exercises focusing on muscle elongation and core strength. Keeping up your core strength is important during pregnancy. Tip: After the first trimester, take any turns or jumps with caution, as it’s easy for your equilibrium to get off-kilter when pregnant.
Cool water feels amazing when you're feeling achey and way too hot. Suddenly, your bump feels weightless and you can get a great workout without sweating. Tip: You're not limited to swimming laps. Walk or jog in chest-deep water, or take a water aerobics class.
A stationary bike and blasting music are a great place to get your heart pumping. You may choose to stay in your seat and skip the inclines, which can be taxing on your body, or you may find your pregnant rear is more comfortable when you stay out of the saddle. Either way, you'll get a great workout Tip: If you're feeling tension in your back while in the saddle, move the handlebars closer to you.
At a prenatal yoga class, you'll meet other expectant mamas and can stretch away those pains and get your body into better alignment. Tip: Stay away from hot yoga, since it is more taxing on the body. And in the second and third trimesters, avoid poses that involve twists or lying on your back for an extended period. If you're taking a class not designed for pregnant women, ask your instructor for safe modifications.
Suspension training takes pressure off your joints while you build muscle. It’s also easy to make it fit your skill and comfort levels during pregnancy. Tip: If TRX is new for you, work with your instructor to ensure you're doing all of the moves safely.
Pilates is another low-impact but highly effective exercise. And keeping your ab strength up now will help you bounce back after the baby. Tip: Focus on Pilates in the first trimester, when lying down will be extra appealing as you deal with exhaustion and morning sickness. Plus, in the second and third trimesters, back and belly exercises will need to be modified or skipped.
Which pregnancy-safe workouts are your favorites? Share in the comments.
— Sarah Blight