How to Tone Up During Pregnancy

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You may think a fit, toned body is a lost cause during pregnancy, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Exercise can help you have a healthier pregnancy, make delivery easier on you and prevent too much weight gain, according to the Nemours Foundation. Although your belly may be growing, you can still keep your arms, legs and other parts of your body sleek and toned.

Step 1

Walk around to tone up. Walking is great exercise for anyone, but especially pregnant women. Regular walking can keep your legs muscled and toned throughout your pregnancy. To build muscle, gradually increase how long you walk and how much you challenge yourself. Look for a walking path that includes hills of varying inclines, or if walking on a treadmill, increase the incline.

Step 2

Lift light weights. Invest in a pair of light dumbbells -- 3 to 5 lbs. for those new to exercise -- and start a regular routine. Get ready for lugging baby around with some bicep curls. Hold a weight in each hand, and stand up with a foot beneath each shoulder. Keeping your elbows tucked into your torso and standing with good posture, move your lower arms up until the weights reach your shoulders.

Step 3

Practice prenatal yoga. Yoga is a great way to maintain flexibility during your pregnancy, but it also provides tone and definition in your muscles. After getting your doctor's permission, sign up for a prenatal yoga class at your local gym or yoga studio, or tone up at home with a prenatal yoga DVD. You'll not only get a benefit from the postures, but also the breathing techniques that yoga teaches. According to the Baby Center, some of the best yoga postures for pregnant women include the cat-cow, the tailor's pose, warrior poses 1 and 2, tree pose and a simple squat to help the pelvic bones and muscles to open up.

Step 4

Swim your way to a toned pregnant body. No matter how heavy or bulky you feel walking around during your pregnancy, you'll always feel better and lighter in the water. Swimming works your whole body, toning muscles all over, and it's easy on your joints that are packing around so much extra weight these days. Swim laps in your local pool or take a water aerobics class.

Things You'll Need

  • Treadmill

  • Dumbbells

  • Yoga DVD

  • Swimming pool

Tip

Always listen to your body. Remember, you're pregnant, and you may not be able to do as much as you could before your belly began to expand.

Warning

Never begin any exercise program during pregnancy without first discussing with your doctor.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
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