Prenatal Water Exercises
The Safest Way to get in a Good Work Out When You're Expecting
Exercise during pregnancy is extremely important. Exercising regularly while pregnant will keep (or get you) toned and in shape. You will have less bloating, muscle strain, and over all aches and pains. The better shape you are in, the more flexible and fit you are while going through labor and delivery, the smoother that time will be. Also, making recovery from birth and getting your pre-body back into shape will be much easier if you are already in shape.
Water exercises – either swimming or water aerobics - are a great way to get the exercise you need, with very little strain on your muscles and body. Water exercises in general are terrific because you get all the benefits of exercising, yet with very little strain on your body. The weightlessness of being in the water, reduces the chances of injuries, pulled muscles, back strain, etc. The water will also helps support you and your growing tummy, so you are able to move better, maintain your balance, and reduce the chances of falling or loosing balance. An added bonus is that water resistance means you are using both your large and small muscle groups and achieving maximum benefits.
Types of Prenatal Water Exercises
There are many different exercises you can do in the water while pregnant. They are simple to do and will make your whole body feel better. If you already have swollen feet and ankles, exercising in the water will help them feel much better and help you elevate some of the strain on your back muscles and the rest of your body.
- Water aerobics which are similar to regular aerobics, but done in the water. With water aerobics you are using the resistance of the water to gain muscle. You can do light lunges in the water to stretch your back and arms. Water twists to work your stomach and hips. Most health clubs with pools have aerobic classes. Check with your local birth education center or care provider for suggestions for water aerobic classes in your area. The big benefit over a water aerobics class over a regular aerobics class is that you can do almost all the same moves as everyone else, without the risk of over exertion, loss of balance, or straining your back.
- Swimming laps, using the freestyle stroke, back stroke, and even the breast stroke. You will be using all your muscles at once while doing laps. Switching between the different strokes will work the muscles differently and keep your body fit while pregnant. Laps might be a little more difficult to do as your pregnancy advances, but swimming laps is a great all-over body work out when it’s comfortable. If you don’t know how to swim, see about taking private lessons!
- Leg kicks with either a kick board or by holding onto the side of the pool. You can also do these on your back, by leaning against the side of the pool. Leg kicks work well because they are simple and can ease muscle tension and aches in your feet and legs.
- Running laps. You don’t need to be on dry land to run laps. If you have access to a lap pool, where the water is fairly shallow, that’s great. Even without a lap pool, you can stay in the shallower end of a pool and get the same benefit. With the water just over belly level (or where ever you feel comfortable), simply walk back and forth, back and forth, across the pool. Don’t try to ‘run’ (you CAN still slip and fall, even though you’re in the water) but walk a normal pace.
Remember, as with any pregnancy exercise, always check with your doctor first before starting a routine. Also, when swimming make sure you have a proper fitting maternity swimsuit so you feel comfortable and can move freely. While pregnant enjoy your time swimming and getting the exercise your body needs.
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