Exercising during pregnancy or after delivery is an important way to stay healthy and keep your body feeling strong. “When you’re pregnant, the biggest thing is working out to improve posture and keep the back strong,” says Sommer Vriezelaar, certified trainer with ProMedica Wildwood Athletic Club. “When your belly starts to grow, you have more weight in front, the shoulders come forward and it affects your posture.” Exercise is also good for your mental and emotional health and can reduce your stress level.
First and foremost, make sure that your workout is safe. “Before you do any exercise, consult with your physician,” advises Vriezelaar. “Listen to your body and work at your comfort level, starting slow. Stay hydrated and make sure you eat 1-2 hours before a workout so you don’t get nauseous. Stop if you feel any pain, discomfort or dizziness.”
Your level of exercise during pregnancy will depend on many things, and one of those things is how you exercised before pregnancy. “If you’re already working out, you can mostly do what you’ve been doing, but if you’ve never worked out before, start with basic exercise, such as walking, aqua aerobics or basic yoga.” (Wildwood Athletic Club even offers prenatal water aerobics adapted for moms and open to nonmembers.) A stability ball is helpful to incorporate into exercises because it activates your midsection during each movement.
It’s important to warm up before any exercise, so Vriezelaar suggests starting with light cardio. And don’t underestimate stretching, too. “Flexibility is huge,” says Vriezelaar. “If you can’t do anything but that, it will reduce muscular pains, back pain and fatigue.”
Total Body Mommy Workout
Vriezelaar developed this Total Body Mommy Workout to keep moms moving during pregnancy and after.
Follow these guidelines depending on your fitness level:
- Beginner: 1 set of 10 reps using 5-8 lb weights
- Intermediate: 2 sets of 12 reps using 8-12 lb weights
- Advanced: 2 sets of 15 reps, 12-20 lb weights
Don’t forget to warm up first and cool down after!