6 Exercises to Avoid When You’re Pregnant + What to Do Instead
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)
It can be intimidating to step out on your own and build a business from the ground up. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're talking with Selfmade alum and solopreneur Colette Lawrence, the faith-based motivator and relationship builder behind The M.E.E. Movement, about ways in which women in business can find success.
B + C: How did you know M.E.E. Movement was your business to start?
The M.E.E Movement represents motivation, empowerment, and encouragement for women. It is what represents me. I did not know at first that it was my business to start, but then the thought of monetizing what I loved came to me. It scared me, however. I registered the business in July 2020 and have been slowly building my wings since.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
Thinking through and researching what the requirements are to start my business, and then asking questions of people who are in the business. Not all advice worked; however, it helped me to figure out what I needed to do and not to do.
B + C: Did you always know life coaching would be your entrepreneurial path?
(Smiles) No, I did not. I 'stumbled" on it. I knew that people were always coming to me for advice and I found that I loved having conversations with them, especially with women, young and old.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
My most valuable takeaway was the first day of training: Get out of your own way. There were a lot of great moments and important takeaways from every presenter. However, getting out of my own way, pushing past doubts, was for me my most valuable takeaway. Doing something that I had never done before took courage. If I do not focus on what is happening with me mentally then I cannot deliver to my clients successfully.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Get out of your head. You have something to offer. You have what you need to succeed so go ahead and do it.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by listening to music and listening to motivational speakers, and sometimes someone will just reach out and talk about the impact that I made in their life. That adds the extra juice or sauce I need to pummel through the day.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip?
Keep a diary and journal. It's the best way for me to keep organized and it also provides a source motivation as I record not only my "losses" but my wins as well.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Shirley Toliver – She motivates and empowers and makes me always want to show up.
B + C: What has receiving the Office Depot scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start or grow your business?
The scholarship was a blessing in that all the areas that were covered offered valuable information that I needed, from social media to HR. As a new business owner, I needed to know this to increase my own personal awareness in what it takes to run a successful business. The candidness of the presenters made it easy to see myself in their shoes and helped me to realize that I can also get there.
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Head to Office Depot's Selfmade page to check out even more amazing business resources (and discounts!) to help you accomplish more on your entrepreneurial journey. These offers are available for a limited time only, so be sure to take advantage of all this goodness while supplies last. Want to join the next Selfmade cohort this summer? Check out all of the scholarship details right here.