Pregnancy, undeniably, is one of the most unique and transformative phases in a woman’s life. It has been described by many women that it feels as though something (or someone) has taken over your entire body.
During pregnancy, the body undergoes drastic changes both internally and externally to support the growth and development of the new life inside. These physical, mental and emotional changes can take a toll on a mother’s mental health and general well-being. Exercise during pregnancy, in so many ways, can help women cope with all the physiological changes taking place.
Taking on a pregnancy safe exercise routine can help women take control of their own and their baby’s health during this exciting, challenging and sometimes overwhelming chapter in a woman’s life.
Below is a list of just some of the benefits of exercising regularly during pregnancy.
Why Prenatal Exercise?
- Muscle Strength & Endurance: Regular workouts can boost muscle strength and endurance, aiding in the overall birthing process. Think of it as training for the marathon of childbirth.
- Better Posture & Reduced Discomfort: Pregnancy often brings about backaches and discomfort due to the extra weight and shifting centre of gravity. Prenatal exercises can combat these issues, promoting better posture and reducing pain.
- Mood Enhancer: Exercise releases endorphins – the body’s natural mood lifters. These can be particularly beneficial when hormonal changes lead to mood swings.
- Decreased Risk of Gestational Diabetes: Regular physical activity can help regulate blood sugar levels, reducing the chances of developing gestational diabetes.
What exercises are beneficial during pregnancy?
- Walking: A simple yet effective way to stay active. It’s low impact, making it perfect for expectant mothers.
- Swimming: Being buoyant in water can relieve some of the pressure on the joints while providing a great cardiovascular workout.
- Prenatal Yoga: This not only strengthens the muscles but also improves flexibility, balance, and relaxation.
Alex Gleeson, exercise physiologist and founder of the Strong by Alex pregnancy exercise program says “a training program that incorporates strength and general fitness is great during pregnancy, you just need to make sure the exercises and intensity are modified for pregnancy”.
Always consult with your healthcare provider before embarking on any new exercise regimen during pregnancy. Your safety and the safety of your baby are paramount.