Great pregnancy exercise: Low-impact aerobics

Great pregnancy exercise: Low-impact aerobics

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The benefits of low-impact aerobics during pregnancy

Aerobics workouts strengthen your cardiovascular system (the heart, lungs, and blood vessels) and maintain muscle tone.

With a strong cardiovascular system, you won't tire as easily and will have more energy. Good muscle tone supports the physical changes your body is going through and reduces your risk of balance problems and falls. Workouts that promote flexibility can prevent soreness in areas that support more weight during pregnancy such as the upper and lower spine (breast and baby weight) – this also helps you maintain good posture.

Tips for doing aerobics during pregnancy

  • As with any type of pregnancy exercise, start by asking your healthcare provider if it's okay to begin an aerobics routine (or continue your regular aerobics workout). If you get the green light, aim for at least 20 to 30 minutes of exercise at moderate intensity on most or all days of the week.
  • Choose exercises that are low-impact – meaning no jumping, high kicks, or leaps – and keep one foot on the ground at all times to minimize stress on your joints. This can help you avoid injury and also makes it easier for you to continue your routine throughout most of your pregnancy.
  • A good way to determine your hydration level is to check the color of your urine. It should be pale yellow or nearly clear, so if it's dark yellow you're probably dehydrated. Have plain water or an electrolyte replacement sports drink (diluted to cut the sugar content – two parts water to one part sports drink). In hot or humid weather, you may need more fluids, and of course, drink whenever you feel thirsty.
  • Aerobics workout DVDs designed for pregnant women are convenient when you're pressed for time (or just too tired to make it to the gym).
  • Consider joining an aerobics class designed especially for expectant moms. You'll enjoy the company of other pregnant women and the expertise of an instructor who can show you how to work out safely. (Many community recreation centers offer prenatal exercise classes.)
  • If you're already attending aerobics classes, let your instructor know that you're pregnant. You can probably continue your routine as your pregnancy progresses, but you'll want to ask your instructor for ways to modify movements that are unsafe or becoming too strenuous.

Read the rules of safe pregnancy exercise for more tips.

Tips for doing aerobics in the first trimester

  • Dress in layers of breathable clothing you can peel off as exercise intensity increases.
  • If you're huffing and puffing too much to carry on a conversation, that's a sign you're exercising too hard.
  • Stop exercising as soon as you start to tire out, not after you've reached the point of exhaustion. As your pregnancy progresses, avoid exhaustion by building short breaks into your routine.

Tips for doing aerobics in the second trimester

  • Keep a bottle of water close by because dehydration can cause muscle cramps – and even premature contractions in extreme cases.
  • Remember that it may be harder to keep your balance as your belly expands. Be careful as you move across the floor.
  • During class, make sure you have at least a leg's length of space between you and other people so no one can accidentally kick or push you.
  • Avoid exercises that require you to lie flat on your back. When you're on your back, the weight of your uterus presses on the major vein that returns blood back to the heart, leading to low blood pressure and potentially interfering with the flow of blood and nutrients to your baby. Starting in the second trimester, use pillows to prop yourself up so that you're lying at more of an angle, or limit yourself to exercises that don't require you to lie flat.
  • You may want to try a prenatal water aerobics class if you can find one. It offers many of the same benefits as aerobics on land – a workout for your heart and body and the camaraderie of other expectant mothers – without stress on your joints or risk of injury or a fall. Studies suggest that water exercises during pregnancy can reduce lower back pain and overall discomfort, and may even lessen the need for pain medication during labor.

Tips for doing aerobics in the third trimester

By now your pregnant belly is probably hampering some of your movements. If it feels too awkward to bend or reach, ask your healthcare provider or fitness professional about modifying your aerobics routine to make it more comfortable.

  • If you find your round ligaments or low back pain make movements uncomfortable, try wearing a belly support band. The band provides support to your lower back and reduces the tug on your round ligaments.
  • It's best to avoid bending over, spinning, or turning in a way that could make you dizzy and cause you to lose your balance.
  • Remember to listen to your body – your aerobics routine should be somewhat challenging, but avoid working to the point of discomfort or total fatigue. Pregnancy isn't the time to push yourself to the limit with an aggressive aerobics routine.

Learn more:

Watch the video: EASY DANCE CARDIO HOME WORKOUT - For all levels PregnancyBaby bump friendly (June 2022).