8 pregnancy exercises that are safe for women
Can women exercise during pregnancy? The answer is yes.
In fact, it’s crucial to keep your body active when you are pregnant. Most pregnancy exercises are safe to perform if done correctly. Just remember, before you start your exercise regime, make sure you consult your doctor first.
Try to avoid high impact exercises such as heavy lifting and HIIT workouts. Keep the workout simple with low impact exercises that involves good range of motion and correct breathing methods.
Some of the cardio activities that are safe and effective are brisk walking, swimming, low-impact aerobics, elliptical and easy spinning on a stationary bike. They are great for pregnant women. A daily 20-30 min of aerobic/cardio exercise is encouraged to maintain your fitness level during pregnancy.
Resistance training using light weights and bodyweight exercises are excellent choices to include in your pregnancy training program.
Below are 8 exercises that are easy to do. Click on the links for the exercise videos.
Slowly exhale when you slide your hands up your thigh. Inhale when when you slide your hands down. This exercise works your abs. Do it slowly without rushing. DO NOT do a full sit up!
2 sets of 10 reps.
Slowly exhale when you lift your hips up. Inhale when you lower your hips. Bridging works your muscles on your hamstrings, glutes and lower back. It helps to manipulate your spine too. Spinal mobility is very important.
Try to engage your core muscle while doing this exercise.
2 sets of 15 reps.
Lying down position. Exhale when u raise up your leg. Keep your leg slightly bend. DO NOT straighten fully (lock). Exhale as you return to position.
Engage your abs while doing this. This works the muscles around the trunk, hips and quadriceps.
Do 2 sets of 10 reps.
Lying down position. Raise up both legs in a table top position (knees 90 degree bend). Curl up your hips and drive your knees towards your chest. “Flatten out” your lower back (lumbar) completely while u curl your butt away from the ground. DO NOT lift up the entire hip/butt.
Exhale when u curl up, inhale when returning to starting position.
Do 2 sets of 8 reps.
Lying side ways. Raise your legs side ways to work the hips. Targets the outer thighs and gluteus muscles. Exhale when u lift, inhale when you return to starting position.
Do 2 sets of 12 reps.
Doing bodyweight squats on a bench. Make sure the bench is stable before you start.
Inhale when u lower yourself to a seated position on the bench. Exhale when while standing up completely. This makes a great functional exercise as it makes getting up and down a chair easy. Focus on lowering your body slowly, keeping your knees straight and aligned. Use a higher bench or chair to make the exercise easier.
Squats works your lower body, strengthening your hip muscles.
Do 2 sets of 10 reps.
Hold on to something stable to assist yourself. Make sure you are fully stable before you start. Keep your posture upright. Make sure your front foot is fully planted on the ground. Rear foot with heels up.
Lower slowly and inhale. Exhale while standing up. Lunges targets the thigh muscles (quads, hamstrings and gluteus) and works your balance too. Stop if you experience any knee pain or discomfort.
Do 2 sets of 8 reps each side.
Single hand cable row to work the upper back muscles. Make sure your standing posture is stable (stable stance). Choose a weight that is able to work up to 12 reps. Make sure you squeeze your shoulder blades as u row/pull the cable. Excellent exercise for posture correction, back and arms toning.
Exhale while you pull, inhale while you straighten your arm.
Do 2 sets of 12 reps each arm.
Pregnancy exercises should be done for every trimester
Studies have shown that regular exercising are beneficial during the pregnancy period. Pregnant women who are more active and workout regularly feels more energetic. Here are the benefits.
- lesser back pain
- increase energy level
- more alert
- better body image
- increased self confidence
- improved core muscles for smooth delivery
- increased mental and muscle endurance which helps during delivery
- helps to reduce post pregnancy syndromes
- helps to return to pre-pregnancy shape easier
- post pregnancy weight loss is easier
Do consult a certified personal trainer if you are looking to start a pregnancy training program or post-pregnancy training program.
Always remember to train safely and eat well !