Prenatal Exercise: what is the best exercise to perform?
Although antenatal exercise is receiving an increasing amount of attention within the media, the health and fitness industry and the NHS clear advice on what is the best thing for women to do still seems to be missing. In this article we are going to go through the different types of exercise available to pregnant women, it's strengths and weaknesses, and what we think you should really be doing to help maintain your prenatal fitness.
Most women find swimming really enjoyable because of it being so low weight bearing so it actually feels nice to be in the water, there is less strain on your joints and major muscles. This allows you to move a lot easier and perform exercise to a good level, meaning it can be quite good for cardio. However, it doesn't really address all the postural and muscular imbalances that are occurring and will continue to occur therefore once you get out of the water the aches and pain soon come back. Good for cardio and weight management but poor for strength and posture.
Weights are one of the most beneficial things to perform, they are a great way to help with weight management, address the postural and muscular imbalances that occur and even more so important they help prepare you for all the postnatal lifting, feeding and carrying you are required to do at a time when you might have otherwise been at your weakest! Although most people don't know what exercises are safe and effective to perform they really do have their benefits, the only thing they probably don't do as well as swimming and running is their lack of maintaining cardiovascular fitness.
As with swimming running can be great for cardio and weight management, but unlike swimming it can only be performed up until a point as the increasing size and weight of your bump means it can get quite uncomfortable and painful. This, coupled with the lack of stability at the hips due to the relaxin, can make running quite hard to stick to, like swimming it also doesn't help with any of the strength aspects that are required.
Pregnancy Yoga & Pilates
Although they are slightly different we have grouped them together because of the way in which both train the core, something that is vitally important during and after pregnancy. Although you can't perform sit ups or certain types of abdominal exercise during pregnancy it is still important to help maintain the strength of your core and both yoga and pilates are great ways to do this. However, they do fall short when comparing the maintenance of cardiovascular fitness, weight management, and the management of some muscular imbalances (more so of the lower body).
Walking is very similar to running and swimming in the sense that it helps to maintain your cardiovascular fitness and similarly its lack for the strengthening of the body to help alleviate and avoid upper and lower back pain, hip pain, rounding of the shoulders and so on.
Due to all the lifting, feeding and carrying a new mum has to do we feel that it becomes vitally important that exercise for pregnant women is focused around using weights to strengthen their whole body. You can still do so much too but there seems to be a lot of confusion about what you can and cannot do, it's so much easier than you think. If you want advice as what exercises are safe and effective for you to perform feel free to contact us firstname.lastname@example.org.
Login or register at the top of the page to watch or download this video free!
Find out more about our Training Programmes.
Postnatal Exercise - Managing Back Pain, Part 2 Read More >
Postnatal exercise – helping to alleviate back pain, part 1 Read More >
Is it really safe to exercise during pregnancy? Read More >