Exercising pregnant - the fine line between doing too much and too little.

Being a fitness instructor and athlete, I knew exercising would be safe while pregnant. While I’ve been able to stay very active, and still exercise every day, there are definite modifications that I wish I would have known about when I first started out.

Exercising pregnant: what's safe and what's not.First and foremost – STOP doing crunches. I didn’t “pop” until about 20 weeks, so I figured I could continue with my core workouts as usual. After taking prenatal Pilates, I learned how detrimental that kind of flexion can be for the abdominal wall. There are definite core exercises that can and should be done, safely.

  • Correct posture is key to helping your core stay strong and your back aligned.
  • Sitting on a fitness ball and lifting one leg at a time helps core strength and balance.
  • Doing any kind of strength training with single leg movements also incorporates balance, which helps the core.
  • Modify your pushups and your planks by placing your hands on a fitness ball.

Secondly, keep up with cardio workouts throughout the pregnancy. I’m a marathon runner and really enjoy training outside and on the treadmill. Some mothers can continue running all through their pregnancies, whereas it was too painful on my hips to continue. I found that 30 minutes on the elliptical doing intervals, or taking a 45-minute spinning class kept me feeling healthy. Finding what works for your body during pregnancy is important, so try out different workouts that you wouldn’t usually have done.

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Squats are the new kegel! We hear over and over that we need to strengthen our pelvic floor, which is correct. Kegels can be done as often as the mother wants, but squats have also been found to drastically improve the strength and resilience of the pelvic floor. Make sure to keep proper form as your progress through the pregnancy since the ever-growing belly will make you a little top heavy. Also try plie squats (a wide stance with toes turned out) since inner thighs are directly connected with your pelvic floor.

Finally, keep stretching throughout the day. Your hips and back need the release. Try a prenatal yoga class if you can. Stay away from twisting or any kind of stretch that “squishes the baby” or puts too much pressure on your belly. Really work on hip rotations, side stretches, rolling out your feet and outer thigh release.

Make sure you do what feels right for your body and that you continue to hydrate. Healthy moms make healthy babies!

Post written by an FFC contributor.

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