Fun Exercise Ideas For Pregnant Women
Learn exercises that will help you stay in shape during your pregnancy (and not completely bore you). Photo: Veer
While you're not expected to emulate Paula Radcliffe (trained through pregnancy, then won the New York Marathon nine months after giving birth), there are definitely some major benefits to exercising throughout your pregnancy. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day (with your doc's approval, of course), and you'll lower your risk of complications like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Exercise is also associated with shorter labor and speedier recovery -- a pretty good deal, if you ask us.
With role models around like New York Marathon winner Paula Radcliffe, who trained throughout her pregnancy, it's clear that exercise needn't stop when pregnancy begins. And when you consider the benefits of exercise -- including lower risk of complications like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, shorter labors, and speedier recoveries – exercise is one of the best things a mom-to-be can do for herself.
"If you're pregnant, get active!" says Jill Dailey McIntosh, a mother of three who spread her own workout plan, The Dailey Method -- a mix of ballet, core exercises, and stretching -- across Northern California and Chicago. "One of the biggest bonuses of working out while you're pregnant is the recovery time," she says. "If you're working out consistently, the baby weight can come off in as little as a month or two." Exercise will also help build and maintain endurance, something you'll be glad to have come pushing time. And, as long as your pregnancy is complication-free and your doc gives his permission, you can keep up your routine as long as you like. "I actually either taught a class or took a class the day I went into labor with all three of my kids," Jill recalls. But you don't need to go to extremes to have a fit pregnancy. Start simple with these fun ideas.
This traditional Middle Eastern dance has helped women prepare for childbirth since ancient times. The circling, tilting moves help soothe baby, prepare your body for delivery, and keep you nice and toned. Don't let shyness about your body keep you away -- belly dancing will help you embrace your new shape, and the artful moves are purported to get your sexual energy flowing. Search your community listings for classes, or try out a DVD like Prenatal Bellydance by World Dance New York ($7.69 on Amazon.com).
Hit the pool
The more your belly expands, the better swimming or water aerobics will feel. As your body becomes weightless in water, aquatics takes a load off joints and compressed organs for a while. You can work a variety of muscle groups in the pool, and floating will allow you to feel graceful again for a minute or two. Image that.
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