Exercising Through Your Pregnancy: What to Do on the Lighter Days

This entry also appeared on FitBump360.com this week.  I am so honored to be connected with the FitBump community as one of their fitness experts.

~Mahri

It’s a fantastic idea to exercise during pregnancy. As long as you listen closely to your body, you might find that challenging yourself in your exercise helps you feel happier, more energetic, and more refreshed in your pregnancy.

It’s important to keep in mind, however, that you will need to honor your lighter days. Perhaps you’re feeling a little more tired, or you engaged in a heavy workout the day before and need to let yourself recover.

There are still things you can do on your slower days! As long as you have been cleared by your doctor and you know your body well, there are several great things that still help you strengthen your muscles and exercise your heart on a slightly slower and smaller scale.

Stretch

Short Walks:

Walking is a great low-impact way to get some exercise, raise your heart rate a bit, and get some fresh air. Many of us don’t have the time to walk for 20-30 minutes at a time, but breaking up the time into two 10-15-minute walks can be equally effective. Just be sure to drink water, especially if the weather is warm.

Easy Planks:

If your body still feels okay doing planks, this is a great full-body exercise you can do at home – or anywhere! One of my favorite versions of a low plank (on your forearms) is starting with both knees down and lifting both knees together to the beat of music. You can also alternate touching each knee to the ground. Take breaks whenever you need!

Stretch:

Your hips can get pretty tight as your pregnancy progresses. I am personally a big fan of stretching while watching my favorite TV show. Next time you’re in your living room, try sitting on the ground with your feet together and your knees falling to each side. Lift up in your spine, then lean forward while coaxing your knees down to the ground. If you put your hands on your feet, try pushing each knee down with your elbows (gently!).

Arm Exercises:

Even if you are tired, there are some great arm exercises you can do while sitting down. Start by grabbing two full water bottles or even two larger soup cans. Hold one in each hand and reach your arms out to each side. Keeping your chest lifted, abs pulled in, and your shoulders anchored down the back, try these easy arm exercises:

  • Circle your arms back 20x, then circle them forward 20x
  • Keeping your arms outstretched to the sides with your palms facing forward, pulse the arms up and down 20x
  • Lean forward and reach both arms behind your body with your palms facing the ceiling. (Keep your chest reaching forward so that you’re not hunching your shoulders.) Keeping your arms straight and lifted behind you, pulse them up and down 40x.

Rest and Breathe:

Sometimes rest is the best thing you can do when you’re pregnant. Your body will tell you when to slow down, and it’s a good idea to listen. As you get farther along in your pregnancy, you might find that your breathing becomes a little restricted, and you might even feel a little dizzy sometimes. Use your down-time as a chance to sit quietly and focus on taking some deep and wide breaths. Imagine filling a balloon all the way down to the base of your back. Imagine that this balloon fills out wide to each side of your low back like wings.

Enjoy these exercises, and remember: always listen to what your body needs!

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