Pacing it for pregnancy
For most pregnant women, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most, if not all, days of the week. But even shorter or less frequent workouts can help you stay in shape and prepare for labor.
Walking is a great exercise for beginners. It provides moderate aerobic conditioning with minimal stress on your joints. Other good choices include swimming and cycling on a stationary bike. Avoid contact sports, scuba diving, exercises that require you to lie flat on your back, and activities that may lead to falls or abdominal injuries.
If you exercised before pregnancy, you can probably continue to work out at the same level while you're pregnant — as long as you're feeling comfortable and your health care provider says it's OK. If you haven't exercised for a while, begin with as little as five minutes of physical activity a day. Build up to 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and so on, until you reach at least 30 minutes a day.
Remember to stretch before and after each workout. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, and be careful to avoid overheating. No matter how dedicated you are to being in shape, don't exercise to the point of exhaustion.
You're more likely to stick with an exercise plan if it involves activities you enjoy and fits into your daily schedule. Consider these tips.
* Start small. You don't need to join a gym or don expensive workout clothes to get in shape. Just get moving. Try a daily walk through your neighborhood. Vary your route to keep it interesting.
* Find a partner. Exercise can be more interesting if you use the time to chat with a friend. Better yet, involve the whole family.
* Use a headset. Listen to music or a book on tape, compact disc or MP3 while you exercise. Use lively songs to energize your workout.
* Try a class. Many fitness centers and hospitals offer classes designed for pregnant women. Choose one that fits your interests and schedule.
* Get creative. Don't limit yourself. Consider hiking, rowing or dancing.
* Give yourself permission to rest. Your tolerance for strenuous exercise will decrease as your pregnancy progresses.
Listen to your body
Sometimes the stresses of pregnancy are too much. You may experience various signs or symptoms while you're exercising, including:
* Blurred vision
* Shortness of breath
* Chest pain
* Abdominal pain
Don't take any chances. If you experience any of these signs or symptoms, stop what you're doing. If you don't feel better quickly, contact your health care provider.
A healthy choice
Regular exercise can help you cope with the physical changes of pregnancy and build stamina for the challenges ahead. If you haven't been exercising regularly, use pregnancy as your motivation to begin.
· 1 decade ago