Fitness, General Health, Postpartum

How Often Should I Exercise While I Am Pregnant?

By Darisse Kennedy on Nov 10, 2020 3:30:00 PM
3 Minutes Reading Time

 

There are some things you have to give up while you are pregnant – sushi, alcohol – but exercise is not one of those things. In fact, many women are able to safely exercise throughout pregnancy. Getting regular exercise comes with a long list of benefits whether you are pregnant or not. The types of exercises you choose as well as the frequency will impact your results during and after pregnancy. As long as your doctor approves, you should make exercising a top priority during your pregnancy.

Benefits of exercising while pregnant

The benefits of exercising while pregnant cannot be overstated. All of the benefits that come from exercising before pregnancy can occur during pregnancy as well. You can build strength, improve your mobility, and protect against injury if you follow a well-designed resistance training program during pregnancy. Exercising while you are pregnant can also help you keep your weight gain at the right pace and avoid putting on more weight than necessary. Keeping your weight gain within the recommended range will help you enjoy a healthier pregnancy and a quicker return to fitness after having a baby. Your body is flooded with various hormones throughout your pregnancy which impact it in various ways. Exercising regularly can help mitigate some of the negative potential side effects related to those hormones. For example, relaxin is a hormone that loosens your ligaments in preparation for giving birth. You can lose some of your stability when you have relaxin in your body. Working out regularly and focusing on stability can help you maintain your mobility and potentially protect against injury. Exercising while pregnant can have a positive impact on the way you feel, look, and move.

Types of exercises that are important during pregnancy

If you were active before pregnancy you may be surprised to learn how many types of exercise are still an option now that you are pregnant. A healthy woman with a healthy pregnancy can engage in a wide range of exercises. One of the best options for exercising while pregnant is resistance training. Resistance training can help you build strength and prevent some of the discomfort that can come from the extra strain pregnancy puts on your body. Another type of movement to incorporate during your pregnancy is Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). NEAT includes any movement you do throughout the day that is not a part of your formal workout routine. Taking a walk around the neighborhood, going to the grocery store, and taking the stairs at work are examples of ways to get in movement throughout the day. NEAT is something you can do every day throughout your pregnancy to keep your body moving and help maintain your fitness level.

How often to exercise while pregnant

The question of how often to exercise is one that is often asked of fitness professionals. And, the answer may be different depending on who you ask. The reality is that the frequency of your workouts depends on your goals. During pregnancy your goals are likely to remain healthy, avoid injury, keep your weight gain under control, and provide a healthy environment for your unborn baby. In order to reach all of your goals you need to include NEAT as a part of your daily routine. Resistance training is the other important type of exercise you need to include during pregnancy. Aim to do a resistance training workout a minimum of three to four times per week. This frequency will make it easy to develop the habit of resistance training and provide you with optimal results.

There is no question or debate about the importance of exercising while pregnant. It is extremely important! Being consistent daily with NEAT movement and getting in a focused resistance training session several times per week will help you enjoy a healthy pregnancy and help you return to your pre-pregnancy fitness level much more quickly after you have the baby. As always, be sure and clear any new workout plan with your doctor before jumping in.

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Darisse Kennedy

Darisse is a writer and educator who received her formal education in psychology and mental health counseling. Growing up, she was more of a bookworm than a gym rat, but she discovered strength training in adulthood. She learned the true value of strength training as she fought to lose the extra forty pounds that remained after having three kids. In the process, she discovered the significant impact that working out regularly had on her mood, mindset, and energy levels. Experiencing the benefits of exercise firsthand sparked her interest in the connection between movement and mental well-being – particularly in relation to women.

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