When a woman is pregnant, the activities she can engage in change because of safety. However, pregnant woman shouldn't skip exercise just because they're worried about the health of their growing little one. Cardio, weight training and yoga are all safe gym exercises that a woman can perform while pregnant.
Cardiovascular training can improve a pregnant woman’s lung capacity, heart health and give a pregnant woman a sense of overall well-being, as well as control her weight. According to the Centers for Disease Control, healthy pregnant women should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. Pregnant woman can safely use elliptical trainers, bicycles and treadmills; however, she should maintain a safe heart rate that's below 140 beats per minute to prevent overheating.
Pump It Up
Pregnant women can safely maintain their muscle tone by pumping it up in the gym with weight training. A pregnant woman should strive to perform two to three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions per strength training exercise at least three times a week to maintain muscle strength. To weight train safely, pregnant women should keep in mind that during pregnancy a hormone called relaxin loosens up the body's joints, ligaments and muscles in preparation for childbirth. Lifting weights heavier than 15 pounds is not recommended, according to Dr. Raul Artal in an article from "CNN Health."
Yoga is another safe gym exercise that pregnant women can do because it encompasses flexibility, strength training and cardiovascular training all in one. One yoga position that is recommended specifically for pregnant women is called cow pose. Cow pose can help build upper body strength and alleviate any tension and pain that may be present in the back. To perform this pose, start out on your hands and knees, putting your hands below your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips. Ensure that your back is flat and your shoulders are not sagging. Next, press down into your hands and gently lift your shoulders up and down. This pose can be performed in sets of four for 10 to 12 repetitions. Check out a prenatal yoga class, taught by someone who knows how to modify poses for the safety of a pregnant woman.
Exercise Dos and Don'ts
When exercising while pregnant, there are a few dos and don'ts. Do listen to your body and maintain a comfortable workout pace to ensure that you are sustaining a safe body temperature. Also, drink 16 ounces of water every 30 minutes to ensure that you are staying hydrated. Avoid doing any activity that involves lying on your back after 20 weeks of pregnancy, or one that puts you at risk of falling or abdominal injury, such as horseback riding, soccer or basketball.