Most people start an exercise program to lose weight. Of course, this isn’t the objective during pregnancy exercise but there are lots of other reasons to get started on or continue on a regular exercise routine when you’re pregnant.
When you think of exercise, cardiovascular exercise is what usually comes to mind. Walking, jogging, swimming and many other activities that get your heart rate up are all part of this category. And, it’s an important piece to the puzzle.
But – The other half of the formula for a well rounded pre-natal exercise routine is strength training. This is the one people often forget about. The running (i.e. cardio) craze of the 1970’s is still in the forefront of people’s mind when they think about good exercise, burning calories and a healthy, lean body.
The truth is, while cardio is great for your heart, it is strength training that will prepare you for the physical demands of being a mom. In addition, it is strength training that will play a bigger role in getting your pre-pregnancy body back, or making it even better than before!
All of the lifting, bending and carrying you have to look forward to in the upcoming months will be much easier with a functionally strong body. In the mean time, gaining or maintaining strength during pregnancy is the key to reducing aches and pains as your body continues to change.
Pregnancy strength training will help:
- Reduce back pain
- Increase your energy levels
- Make labor and delivery easier
- Keep you strong and injury free
- Combat postural changes during pregnancy
- Make post-partum weight loss MUCH easier and faster
- Flatten your tummy after delivery
Studies now show that strength training during pregnancy is not only safe and beneficial, but a must for an overall healthy strong body. If you were a regular exerciser before your pregnancy, it is usually safe to continue your routine, although some modifications may be necessary.
If you didn’t have a consistent program in place, the general rule of thumb is to wait until your 2nd trimester (when you’ll be feeling much better) to ease yourself into a routine. Either way, checks in with your doctor first to be sure you don’t have any complications that could be affected by a pregnancy exercise routine.