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While being pregnant often means increased fatigue, sore backs and swollen ankles, this doesn’t mean you should spend your pregnancy being lazy! In fact, pregnancy is a perfect time to be active, and doctors even strongly encourage exercise throughout your pregnancy, unless you’re dealing with complications. Exercising during pregnancy can help reduce risk of high-blood pressure, gestational diabetes and postpartum depression. Other benefits include reduced low back pain, increased energy and stamina, increase muscle strength (which can help when it is time to deliver) and of course prevent excess weight gain, which means there is less work to do after you have the baby. Read on to learn how to do five of the best exercises during pregnancy and how each one will benefit you.

  1. According to the American Pregnancy Association, the best exercises you can do when pregnant are Kegel exercises. Working these muscles strengthens them so that you are better able to control them during labor and delivery. By building up this strength and control, you are also able to minimize bladder leaks and hemorrhoids that are common in pregnancy. But, the benefits of Kegel exercises don’t end there, they can also help after pregnancy as they help you regain bladder control and promote perineal healing. Perhaps the best thing about this type of exercise is that you can do it anytime, any place and no one even knows you are doing them!
  2. The second best exercise for pregnant women is swimming. This is the absolute safest way to exercise when you’re pregnant as it helps you tone up without putting excessive weight and stress on your joints. Swimming is also a great way to get your heart rate up and enjoy a cardio workout without getting overheated.
  3. Yoga is another excellent form of exercise for pregnant women because of the fluidity of movement and its ability to reduce stress. There are also many specific poses that are perfect for women who are pregnant that help prepare the body for labor and deliver and recovery afterward. Look around in your community for Yoga classes designed especially for women.
  4. Using a stair climber machine is another great form of exercise for pregnant women because they help tone up your leg muscles, strengthen your hips and provide a great cardio workout. Another benefit of these machines is that they are fairly sturdy and supportive and have hand rails for added support. While this is an excellent option during the first half of your pregnancy, as you progress you will want to check in with your doctor to see if you can continue.
  5. Walking is another excellent way to exercise when pregnant. As long as you have a really good pair of walking shoes, you’ll be able to walk several miles a day without causing any stress or strain on your feet or ankles. Walking briskly is a great way to get that heart rate up without getting too over heated. Try to walk a certain amount of miles everyday and work it into your every-day routine. You can even incorporate this into your schedule after labor by taking your baby out for a stroll.