Many health-conscious women have a lot of questions regarding exercise when they become pregnant. Can I still exercise? How much is too much? What about jogging, is it safe to jog? In general, not only is exercise safe during pregnancy, but it is also highly recommended.
Some of the benefits of exercising during pregnancy include alleviating back pain, improving circulation, improving digestion, relieving stress (which can improve sleep), and preparing your body for birth. As any woman who has given birth knows, it can be quite the workout. By emphasizing physical fitness during your pregnancy, your muscles and heart will be ready for the workload that is childbirth. Some studies have even shown that exercise during pregnancy can reduce a woman’s risk for some complications like pregnancy diabetes.
So how vigorous can your pregnancy workouts be? How often can you workout? The answer to these questions largely depend on how fit you were before becoming pregnant. If you healthy at the time of becoming pregnant, there is very low risk to most moderate-intensity exercises during pregnancy.
Jogging during pregnancy is generally only recommended for women who jogged prior to becoming pregnant. Since many women experience dizziness during the early stages of pregnancy, jogging is probably best avoided by women with no experience. A great alternative to jogging is walking. You’ll be hard pressed to find a situation in which an expert wouldn’t recommend walking for a healthy pregnant woman. Start by trying to walk one mile every other day. If you like it, you can increase the pace, distance, and frequency with which you walk. Just listen to your body and stop if you are feeling fatigued, dizzy, or short of breath. Walking is great for promoting circulation and cardiovascular health, both of which are crucially important during pregnancy.
Exercise during pregnancy should be halted in the event of vaginal bleeding, high blood pressure, contractions, or water breakage. In these scenarios, contact a health professional immediately. The general rule of thumb with exercise during pregnancy is to take it easy and try to regular, low- to moderate-intensity exercises like walking, swimming, biking, or yoga. Avoid horseback riding, contact sports, sudden changes of direction, and other activities that can involve “wiping out” hard such as downhill skiing. Additionally, avoid exercises that require lying flat on one’s back such as sit-ups.