{The Nest Health} Pregnancy and exercise do they mix?

We love to hear from you and one of the most common questions that has been asked by our Nesters is whether it is safe to exercise while pregnant. Our resident health contributor, Riss from Larissa Beer Personal Training helps answer your concerns.

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Over the last few year there has been a lot of talk in the media about exercising while pregnant and while it can be quite a controversial topic I believe with the right healthcare guidance and common sense its benefits definitely outweigh any concerns. I personally have trained clients right up until their last week of pregnancy and as soon as eight weeks after giving birth.

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Exercise can do wonders for you during pregnancy. It not only helps prepare you for childbirth by strengthening your muscles and building endurance but also assists your body in its journey to returning to normal post pregnancy.

I definitely would not recommend exercising at the same intensity as you would have before falling pregnant, but at a slower, safer pace. In particular you need to take care with the choice of exercise and pay attention to technique so you don’t injure yourself or your baby.

Exercising can assist with weight management, keeping you supple and preparing your muscles for the hard work of labour and delivery — without causing undue physical stress for you or your baby. You could try running and weight training in the beginning, but you may need to modify your regime as you grow bigger. Try and avoid anything where you have a higher risk of falling like bike riding or skiing in the winter.

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The following exercises are fairly safe for expectant mothers, but remember each individual is different so it is best to talk to your doctor first.

Walking- one of the best exercises during pregnancy, it gets your heart rate up yet safe enough to continue throughout the whole term of your pregnancy. It is also unlikely to cause jarring on the knees and ankles.

Swimming- Healthcare providers and fitness experts have said swimming is the best and safest exercise for pregnant women. Swimming is ideal because it exercises both large muscle groups (arms and legs), provides good cardiovascular benefits, and allows pregnant women to feel weightless despite the extra weight of pregnancy.

Yoga- Yoga and stretching can help maintain muscle tone and keep you flexible with little if any impact on your joints. However, you may have to substitute a yoga session by walking a couple times a week to give your heart a workout.

Pilates- Pilates is a form of exercise which combines flexibility and strength training with body awareness, breathing and relaxation. The exercises are based on certain movement patterns performed with your tummy and pelvic floor muscles — known in Pilates as the “stable core” or base. These muscles are also known as deep stabilizing muscles. Your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles weaken during pregnancy so Pilates can be useful in strengthening those areas.

Weight training– If weight training is already part of your exercise routine, there’s no reason to stop, although you will need to avoid using heavy weights and assuming certain positions. Be careful not to overheat and as your pregnancy progresses into the later months you may want to taper off to avoid fatigue.

Of course each pregnancy is different and you should speak to your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise regime.

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As always, I am here to answer any fitness related questions you have so please email me at centralwestnest@outlook.com and I will respond as soon as possible!

Happy exercising Nesters!

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