1 Feb 2019
Some people swear by hitting the gym and getting onto every machine and into every class available, but that’s not the only way to keep in shape during or after your pregnancy.
Exercise is an important part of pregnancy because it helps to relieve stress, strengthen your body ahead of the birth of your beautiful baby and keeps you feeling healthy and energetic. Just a few hours of light to moderate exercise weekly are necessary to achieve this and even reduce pains and cramps.
Being healthy and strong will even work in your favour during labour, reducing pains and allowing your muscles to support your body during and after childbirth. You don’t have to fork out hundreds or thousands of Rands to keep healthy and in-shape – you can simply take on some easy outdoor activities.
Walking is an exercise that can get your heart rate up safely. It is advised to start with manageable distances such as one or two laps around the block. When you begin to get fitter you can take longer walks of up to 40 minutes.
For all the runners, you can still take on your daily laps but be sure that you listen to your body and your baby. Pressure on your abdomen or undercarriage are a clear sign to slow down or stop.
Cycling is a great activity for the first few months of pregnancy, before your belly (and your baby) get to their full size. Start by cycling carefully on the roads, but as your baby grows you may want to opt for a stationary bike to monitor your heart rate and avoid the dangers of the road.
Dancing is a great exercise to get your body moving, increase your heart rate and even socialise with other mommies-to-be. Take up dancing for mommies classes, samba or jazz for low impact muscle toning and avoid Zumba for its high impact, sudden movements.
Swimming is the perfect exercise for the entire duration of your pregnancy. It is low impact and high resistance to give you the ultimate workout in the safest possible way. Aqua-aerobics is just one of the many pregnancy-friendly classes you can take part in. Avoid warm pools to prevent overheating and try to keep your heart rate below 140 beats per minute so as not to endanger the baby.
While exercise is great for pregnancy, it is always advised to speak to a healthcare professional, a doctor or your OB/GYN before taking on any strenuous exercise during this time.