Pregnancy is an exciting period: you relish the new life growing in your womb. However, due to hormonal changes and the demands of a growing baby, it has its not-so-desirable effects such as loose ligaments, back pains, leg swelling, excess weight gain, poor sleep, low energy, stress, and mood changes.

Regular exercise is one great way of minimizing many of those effects. It reduces your physical discomfort; boosts your energy; improves your sleep; prevents excess weight gain; relieves stress and boosts your mood. But owing to the loose ligaments and weight of the growing baby, not all types of exercises are safe for you. Here are 10 great exercises you can safely do during pregnancy.

1. Walking
Walking is one of the best exercises you can do during pregnancy. Walking is the simplest exercise; does not require any equipment or special kits; can be done anywhere and can help keep you stronger throughout the pregnancy duration. It is beautiful because it is something you already do to some extent but now needs to consciously do more of it. Try to do at least 30 to 60 minutes walking each day. You may schedule it as a separate daily activity or you may get creative about it by merging it to other activities of the day where possible — for example walking to the mall or workplace instead of driving or taking a cab.

2. Swimming
Swimming is a perfect exercise for pregnancy. Inside water you feel lighter, easing off the extra weight from your joints. It is great for people with joint pains. You can exercise both arms and legs with ease and still get all the health benefits of exercise.

3. Stationary cycling
This is another safe and great exercise you can do during pregnancy. It is easy to do and doesn’t put much stress on the joints as the bike bears your weight. Additionally, being stationary and indoor, the risk of falling is very minimal.

4. Dancing
Dancing to the tune of your preferred music alone or with others is another great and safe way to exercise your body and keep fit during pregnancy. Just don’t overdo it and also avoid moves that involve jumping and leaping. Additionally, if you ever get breathless, stop. As a rule, if you notice that you can’t comfortably talk/sing without catching your breath, slow down until you can.

5. Stair climbers
Stair climbers and ellipticals are good ways to keep the heart pumping great during pregnancy. Be mindful of the speed and where you step though, to avoid tripping. Just keep it slow and cool.

6. Low-impact aerobics
If you can find a class specifically made for expecting moms, low-impact aerobics such as step aerobics can be a great way to exercise during pregnancy. It stimulates the heart, promotes blood circulation and strengthens the muscles.

7. Jogging/Running
This is a great way to exercise if you’re already a runner before the pregnancy. I wouldn’t recommend this to a newbie. But if you must put on those jogging boots, be sure it is an even terrain or you can stick to a treadmill. Keep it slow: As a rule, if you notice that you can’t comfortably talk without catching your breath, slow down until you can. You should never feel breathless as that can make the baby not get enough oxygen.

8. Squatting
You can practice squatting to the extent that you are comfortable with. Just make sure that the floor is flat and non-slippery. Keep it cool, 30 seconds for each squat and do as many as you are good with. Apart from improving blood circulation, squatting helps prepare you for childbirth.

9. Yoga
Yoga is a cool way to practice relaxation and deep breathing techniques which can help you during childbirth. It maintains muscle tone and flexibility without much impact on your joints. Remember to inform your yoga instructor that you are pregnant and avoid uncomfortable poses.

10. Weightlifting
Weightlifting is a cool way to tone and strengthen your muscles in preparation for carrying the baby. It also promotes blood circulation. I wouldn’t recommend this to a newbie though. For veteran weightlifters, make sure you take necessary precautions:

  • Lighter weight — half or less of the weight you usually lift; you can do more repetitions.
  • Keep it slow and steady.
  • Avoid having to hold your breath.

The above-listed exercises are great during pregnancy. Always begin by warming up for about five minutes and finish with another five minutes of winding down to a gradual stop. Keep it comfortable; don’t go too fast to avoid getting breathless. A rule of the thumb is to check if you can comfortably talk while exercising without getting breathless; if you can’t, slow down until you can.
Make sure you clear with your doctor that you can exercise during your pregnancy and that your preferred exercise is good for you.

Author's Bio: 

Emmanuel Ifeanyi Ekwomadu is a medical doctor and a writer who’s got a great passion for helping people enjoy healthy lives. He writes to enrich people with his compelling and educating articles on various health topics.

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