Becoming a new mom can be overwhelming; it’s beautiful and joyous and — most of all — it’s life changing. From your first 40 days of motherhood to navigating the body-positive teenage years, your duty as a mom is a full-time job. Working exercise into your day is a challenge, and that can start during pregnancy. These are the months when staying healthy is so important, but keep in mind — there are some exercises you’re going to want to steer clear of while you have your bun in the oven. Luckily, we have Meghan Kennihan, a USA Track & Field coach and certified personal trainer, ready with some smart advice.
1. No to intense cardio; yes to power walking and jogging: If you’re not already a runner, Meghan suggests that instead of jumping on the track with your local run club or doing the treadmill interval class at your gym, consider light jogging or power walking. “It will tone your legs and boost your mood with feel-good endorphins. Plus, it’s an exercise that you can do all the way until delivery,” she says. “If you were a runner before your pregnancy you can continue running with little to consider, just monitor your heart rate and make sure to run on groomed surfaces since your balance and weight shifts may be more.”
2. No to stand-up paddle boarding; yes to swimming: Stand-up paddle boarding and other water sports activities, like knee boarding and tubing, can be dangerous, which is why Meghan suggests a low-impact exercise like swimming. She adds, “This is great aerobic exercise that is easy on the joints and helps with swollen ankles. Plus, no matter how much baby weight you put on, you’ll feel light as a feather and get an amazing cardio workout in.”
3. No to Olympic lifting; yes to machine-based lifting: “Instead of jumping into Cross-Fit Met Cons and Olympic lifting, where the intensity is high and the lifts can be complicated and dangerous if your technique is not perfect, try machine-based lifting or lifting with the assistance of a personal trainer. If you are new to lifting post-baby, stick with lighter weights,” advises Meghan.
4. No to outdoor cycling; yes to spin class: There’s no doubt that jumping on a bike is a great form of cardio. It’s the when and where that you might want to consider during pregnancy. “Outside there are texting drivers, potholes and unexpected situations that might be more difficult to navigate. Get the great aerobic exercise from the bike by heading to spin class,” Meghan says. “It’s a safe way to take a load off your legs and get your heart rate up. Plus, you get to control the pace and resistance, making it another workout that is easy on the joints.”
5. No to ab workouts; yes to ab workouts: Let us explain. Well, let Meghan explain. “Skip all ab exercises that involve laying on your back, like basic crunches, bicycle crunches and reverse crunches. Instead, strengthen your abdominals with exercises like kneeling pelvic tilt, standing pelvic tilts, standing crunches and heel slides. These will ease your aching back and help to avoid a sway back as you get heavier in the front.”
6. No to Bikram or hot yoga; yes to prenatal yoga: “[Avoid] classes where overheating and lying on your back can be harmful to the baby,” notes Meghan. “Hatha and prenatal yoga are wonderful for relaxation, breathing and general flexibility and strength. It strengthens core muscles and eases back pain.”
Soon-to-be mamas, tweet us your fave exercises @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)