Monday, June 18, 2012

Staying Fit During Pregnancy

Now that two of us Sixers are pregnant (we happen to be sisters...and share the same due date!), we've been trying to stay active despite feeling tired. Since we are more likely to eat extra meals these days, we are trying to tone our arms and legs....with walking and using small hand-weights. Below is a bunch of tips for staying fit during pregnancy. I figured if I wrote a post on them, I would be more motivated to try them..ha, let's hope!

Aerobic exercises
Aerobic exercises like walking, swimming and cycling call on the large muscles in your legs to carry your body through the movements. The American Pregnancy Association recommends these as safe and effective exercises for maintaining good health and fitness during pregnancy. To increase the amount of work you ask of your legs during these types of activities, try walking uphill, doing extra kicks in the pool or increasing your cycle resistance. Be careful not to let your heart rate get over 140 beats per minute or you could overheat and deprive your baby of fully-oxygenated blood.

Yoga offers a relaxing, yet challenging workout. Warrior pose strengthens and tones your legs while also strengthening your leg joints. To do warrior pose, stand with your feet wide apart. Pivot your feet to your right side by 45 degrees. Rotate your upper body to the right. Lift your arms to shoulder-height, and bend your right knee. Hold the pose for a few seconds as you take deep breaths and repeat on the other side. Try other leg-strengthening poses like squats, chair pose, triangle pose and staff pose. Consider taking a prenatal yoga class to get guidance from an experienced instructor and to reap the additional benefits of yoga.

Weight Training
You can safely weight train during pregnancy with a few modifications to your routine. First, you must lift lighter weights than you did before pregnancy. Hormone changes loosen your joints and make you more prone to injury. Second, you must do more reps to make up for using less weight. For example, if you previous did eight to 10 reps on the leg press at 100 lbs., during pregnancy, you'd do 12 to 15 reps at 50 lbs. and maybe an extra set if you feel you need it. Try leg curls, leg presses, calf raises and leg extensions. Have a friend or fitness coach act as a spot in case you feel unsteady to take on too much weight. 

At-home Stretches
There are a few effective at-home exercises you can perform to strengthen and tone your legs. Perform a leg lift by positioning your body on the floor on your hands and knees. Slowly lift one knee and extend your leg behind you. Hold your leg in position for a few seconds, then come back to all fours. Do 10 lifts, five on each side. Also try leg slides and wall squats. See the instruction slide show from, in the Resources section, for instructions for these additional exercises.


What are some ways you stayed fit during pregnancy?


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