During the months of pregnancy, you want to feel your very best - for both you and baby. Staying active is paramount for maintaining this mental and physical wellbeing while you’re pregnant. Exercising combines benefits like a brighter mood and higher energy levels with toned muscles and greater flexibility.
Additionally, a regular prenatal exercise regimen may even reduce the likelihood of needing a C-section. Dr. Nita Landry, a Board-certified OB-GYN and co-host of “The Doctors” reports: “Having strong abs and a fit cardiovascular system might make labor and delivery easier.”
So, which exercises are best for pregnant women seeking toned abdominal muscles and a healthy heart? Let’s dive into the top 3 exercises for expectant moms.
1. Low-impact workouts that don’t put additional pressure on your joints are ideal to perform during pregnancy. Swimming, specifically, has a therapeutic effect on the entire system, especially the heart. Rest periods may be spent floating on the water, a practice known to decrease anxiety, depression, and muscle discomfort.
2. Possibly the best work-out for building a solid core, Pilates engages the muscles of your thighs, glutes, abs, and lower back. While you’re sculpting these key areas, you are also improving your posture, helping to boost your confidence as a new life grows inside you.
3. Strength training is one of the most effective forms of exercise and often yields the quickest results. During pregnancy, though, you may want to opt for some lighter weights (no more than 30 pounds total) and shorten your work-out sessions to a half hour or less. You’ll still reap the benefits of increased stamina and calorie burn.
In addition to these work-outs, you may also engage in distance walking, prenatal yoga, or dancing to stay fit and feel good. Just make sure your work-outs are not too vigorous or leaving you drenched in sweat and out of breath. This rules out intense exercise like running or boxing for most women but leaves you with many other enjoyable and safe options. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends 30 minutes of daily physical activity while pregnant – so lace up your sneakers and pick the work-out that feels right for you.