If you're pregnant or considering having a child you're very likely concerned with staying in good physical condition before, during and after your pregnancy. Being in good physical condition is very important at this time. A lot of stress will be placed on your body. You may think this is a good time to slack off on your exercise routine and cheat on your diet. If so, you're wrong.
Eating for two is just an excuse.
Your baby needs good nutrition to develop properly. You need to be able to go through your pregnancy, labor, delivery and recovery period with ease. You have a better chance of doing this if you are in good shape physically. Just think of pregnancy, labor and delivery as your Mommy Triathlon.
This is no time to go all out.
If you are currently out of shape and already pregnant you will want to take it very easy with starting your exercise routine. Ask your doctor for recommendations and be sure to tell him what type of equipment you are thinking of using. Even if you are already in good physical condition you will want to take this step but of course it is vital if you are not.
Start exercising before getting pregnant.
It is best to start training for your pregnancy at least 6 months prior to getting pregnant. This way you are ready for the physical stress of pregnancy and your body is accustomed to the routine. With any exercise program always start slow and work your way up. When you are pregnant it is also necessary to taper down at the end when you are in your last three months so as not to cause any stress on the baby.
Keep it low impact.
The equipment you choose to use during pregnancy should be low impact. That is to say, there should be little or no jarring movement. Here are a few good examples of exercise equipment that works well during pregnancy.
*A Treadmill is an excellent choice in gym equipment for pregnancy workouts. Walking provides low impact aerobic and cardiovascular exercise that strengthens your whole body. Keep the setting low enough to insure you are not straining yourself. You can walk outside for free in nice weather but this is handy on those cloudy days.
*Stair Steppers will keep your legs in shape and your blood circulating. Chase away those varicose veins and keep your legs strong to carry around that extra baby weight. Once again start slowly and avoid strain.
*Exercise Bands are better than weights for strength training during pregnancy. They use resistance rather than weight so there is none of the lifting that causes injury to Mom and baby.
*There are Exercise Balls made specifically for pregnant women. They are called birth balls and will deflate slowly when damaged so as not to plop Mom suddenly onto the hard floor. These come with specific directions for pregnancy exercises.
*Exercise Bikes are also a great indoor product. They are lower impact than regular bicycles due to the lack of jarring from uneven surfaces. If you plan to use a regular bicycle, take care to use smooth routes and ride around the bumps.
*You might also consider a Recumbent Bike. These are those funny looking bicycles with the chair type seats that you pedal upwards on. They are good for back support and very comfortable but still provide a great workout.
*You will want to purchase a mat for floor exercises. It will become difficult to get up and down toward the end of your pregnancy and that bit of cushion will be comforting. You may also experience muscle stiffness. You don't want a hard floor greeting your tired body.
*If it does not cause you undue physical pain or stress you can do some strength training with light weights of 5 pounds or less. If you feel any discomfort at all you should not be doing this.
*Exercising in the water is a good way to cut down on impact and still get a beneficial workout. The water provides resistance to your movements, thus increasing the strength required. Aqua Gloves have webs between the fingers to increase that resistance further. Once again, there is no impact so these are safe for pregnant women.
Tip: You should always stay hydrated before, during and after exercise, whether or not you are pregnant. Do not exercise in extreme temperatures. Start your routine slowly to warm up and slow down at the end to cool down.
Please note: The author is not a licensed medical professional. This article is not intended to replace medical advice.
This article was previously published by this author on a closed Yahoo! property.