It is important to stay fit throughout your pregnancy, not only for your own benefit, but also for your unborn baby! Exercising in water is one of the many exercises you can engage in that is safe and effective for pregnant women. Read on to find out more!
Benefits of exercising in water
Exercising in water is very beneficial for pregnant women, because it often alleviates joint and muscle pains caused by the extra weight brought on by the pregnancy. This is all because our body weight is reduced (as high as 90%!) when we are in water. This is why it is easier for us to move around when in the water.
Overall, exercising in water is just a lot gentler on the body than exercising on land.
Easy exercises to try in water: Warm Ups
There are many exercises you can try. We recommend the following. However, if you have any doubts, please obtain advice from your healthcare professionals before beginning.
Before any exercise, remember to warm up. Find a spot the pool where water only goes up to around your chest area. It is important that the water level is not up to your shoulder level, because that can be dangerous.
Find the shallow end of the pool and start walking up and down that end slowly. You can shake your body out, whilst gently stretch your neck, your ankles and your wrists etc. Take deep breaths as you walk along the pool. As you inhale, expand your belly and open your chest. As you breathe out, let all the air out of your belly by contracting your abdominal muscles. This is beneficial as a preparation for your labour. You can also incorporate the kegel exercise during this water walking / breathing exercising in water!
Squatting in water is pretty much identical to squatting on land, but it puts a lot less stress on your joints, especially your knee joints. Have your feet hips-width distance apart, toes pointing forward. Bend at your knees. With a proud chest lower into a seating position, whilst making sure that your knees are not bending over your toes. We highly recommend squatting because it is preparing your pelvic for labour.
Jumping jacks (in water!)
Similar to jumping jacks on land, begin by standing your feet hips-width distance apart with arms out to the side. Jump up and bring your feet together and bring your hands to clap above your head. Then jump back to starting position. Repeat this a few times.
Opposite elbow to knee exercise
This is a simple warm up exercise that consists of your elbow touching opposite knee. Again, stand hip-widths distance apart, with toes pointing forward. Bend your left elbow, and bend your right knee. Lift your knee to touch your left elbow, then relax and repeat on the other side. Repeat this exercise a few times.
If you feel ready for it, you can also try some easy cardio exercises such as flutter kicks. Flutter kicks is an easy way to do cardio in water. Get yourself a pool float and place your torso (from chest downwards) on it. Flutter kick yourself back and forth in a pool until you are tired, then hug the pool float, and on your back, float your way back down the other side of the pool.
It is important to stop when you feel that something is wrong. Before embarking on any of this exercise, check with medical professionals to see if they are suitable for you. Have fun and stay fit!