While reading through some questions from my subscribers, I noticed that a lot of you have BASIC questions about exercising during pregnancy, for example, “Can I continue my exercise routine now that I’m pregnant?”.
To help you out during this critical time of year (i.e. the time when SO MANY of us have gained extra, unwanted pounds over the holidays and are ready to get back into shape!), I’ve put together a little “cheat sheet” on some of the BASIC EXERCISE GUIDELINES FOR PREGNANCY:
1. Get the OK.
Always be sure to get your doctor’s okay before you begin any type of exercise routine so any high-risk situations can be ruled out.
2. Stick to what you know.
I know you hear this all the time, but there’s a good reason for it. Because there are so many changes going on in your body NOW is NOT the time to start something new.
3. Use common sense when you’re trying to decide whether to continue your pre-pregnancy exercise workout or not.
Because I can’t answer each one of you individually (and there are SO MANY different exercise routines and intensities out there!), here are my suggestions:
– Avoid running long distances and training for marathons, they are too intense for this time in your life. Moderate your activity by slowing down the intensity and duration and you should be fine.
– Avoid training in intense heat, on steep inclines or at high altitudes. Choose even terrain and stick to public places (you’ve got way too much to risk!).
– Avoid sports like basketball, squash, racquetball and tennis – they involve too many jerky movements and rapid changes in direction, which is too much for your loose joints and poor balance to deal with.
4. When it comes to weight training – aim for endurance over strength (preferably 15 reps.).
Concentrate on maintaining your existing strength, not building. As your pregnancy progresses, really listen to your body and do ONLY those exercises that you feel comfortable with – do NOT push yourself.
Do not do anything where you need to hold your breath, this will cut off precious oxygen to your little one. Instead concentrate on doing steady flexion and extension at a moderate level, making sure to inhale on the rest (easy part) and exhale on the exertion (hard part).
Your easiest and safest choice would be to follow a pregnancy-specific workout (refer to my Pregnancy Without Pounds Hot Mama routine for all the details).
5. Do not do any pregnancy exercises that require you to lift overhead, lie on your back or press a lot of weight forward (i.e. leg press machine).
Aim to do the majority of your exercises in a supported position, preferably sitting down or holding on to something stable – avoid lying on your back AFTER your third month.
6. Regardless of which workout you’re doing, ALWAYS ensure that you are well hydrated and fueled.
Never exercise on an empty stomach or without water. Keep a water bottle with you at all times. And if you need a little extra boost, try adding a little fruit juice.
Remember, pregnancy is NOT the time to push yourself that EXTRA MILE – you don’t want to look back with regret!