Exercising during pregnancy has been shown to reduce aches and pains, and increase mental well-being.
It’s incredibly beneficial for you and your baby.
Studies have shown that mild to moderate exercise helps you to sleep better, reduces excessive weight gain, and reduces depression. It can even prepare your body for labour – and make that labour shorter!
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists suggests 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, or 30 minute workouts 5 days a week.
Important note: Consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program, including this one.
Exercise is probably the last thing on your mind when you’re pregnant, it’s worth considering the benefits and checking out these best body weight exercises.
Exercises at Home
Don’t worry if you don’t have access to a gym. There are plenty of pregnancy-friendly exercises you can do at home.
“Perform each exercise for 1 minute, completing 3 sets for a full 15 minute workout. You can then pair this with a 15 minute walk, or continue onto more intense exercises,” suggests Ann Wilcox, a health blogger at Writinity and Researchpapersuk.
- Standing Leg Swing: standing with your feet a hip-width apart, shift your weight onto one leg and swing your other leg up so that it is parallel to the ground (or as close as possible!). You can use a wall or chair for support if need be. Repeat on the opposite leg. This exercise is great for opening your hips and increasing flexibility.
- Hip stretch: lying on your back (during the first 4 months of your pregnancy) or standing against a wall for balance (if you are far into your pregnancy), bend one knee and cross your left ankle over your right thigh, just above the bent right knee. Thread your left arm through the space in-between your legs and interlace your fingers. Pull gently on your right leg, bringing it closer to your chest, and keep your feet flexed. Repeat on other leg.
- Child’s pose: another great hip opener, kneel on all fours and open your hips to fit your belly. Sit back so that your butt is touching your heels, and extend your arms out to the ground in front of you. Rest your shoulders and forehead on the floor.
Intense Body Weight Exercises
- Squat: this is great for your whole body, including your glutes and core. Standing with your feet a hip-width apart, keep your back straight and bend your knees to lower into a squat. “Your arms should move with you, remaining at the front of your body as a balance, and your shoulders and upper body should be straight. You can make this more difficult by raising a leg as you lower into a squat, to perform squat to leg lift exercise” says Cyndi Dennis, a fitness blogger at Draft Beyond and Last minute writing.
- Push up: start in a high plank with your hands under your shoulders, and your feet a hip-width apart. Drop your chest until it’s in line with your elbows, and then press away from the floor to regain a plank. To make easier, you can drop your knees.
- Cross-back lunge: standing with – yep, you guessed it – your feet a hip-width apart, slide your left leg diagonally backwards into a lunge position. Press down into your left heel and lift back up into a starting position. Let your arms swing naturally. This is a great exercise for your core, and legs!