I have exercised regularly for years. When we started a family, I didn’t want to lose my conditioning, but knew I’d have to take the pregnancy into account. Fortunately, I had a secret weapon – aqua aerobics. I had started water workouts several years before, and it was a wonderful exercise option, for a number of reasons.
Love the buoyancy. I knew my body was going to be changing in the next nine months, and with added weight, there would be a lot of stress on my muscles and joints. Just the thought of getting into a pool to work out made me smile. My body only has to support a fraction of its own weight in the water, and that lightness would come in handy. Since aqua aerobics is such a gentle workout option, I could use it all through the pregnancy. That meant I wouldn’t have to be trying a different workout routine, especially into the third trimester.
Here are some wonderful resources with more information:
- Water Aerobics During Pregnancy
- Water Aerobics And Water Fitness Exercises
- Is Water Aerobics Safe During Pregnancy?
What I do now helps for later. A study in the journal of Reproductive Health states that water aerobics can help reduce the amount of pain killing medication needed during labor. I liked the sound of that. By building my core muscles it would also help during the delivery. Staying fit during the pregnancy meant less weight I would have to trim down later. Even unexpected things, like doing bicep curls, could help. Building my arm muscles would come in handy when I was picking up the baby and carrying him around the house.
Be moderate. During the first trimester, I didn’t have to scale back, and could perform my usual routines. But by the time I got to the third trimester, I had to cut back on my workout expectations. As my body grew, the resistance of the water started to really impact me – I was having to work harder to push myself through the water, and so it was important to cut down the length of workouts, and make sure I wasn’t working myself to the point of exhaustion.
Keep a regular workout routine. By staying on a regular routine of workouts, I didn’t get caught needing to work out, but unable to because I had skipped exercise for so long. This was especially important as I dealt with morning sickness, and sometimes just didn’t feel like working out. The thought of getting in water and being rocked by even the tiniest wave didn’t appeal much. So I had to work around those feelings and make sure I found time to exercise. The rule of thumb is thirty minutes of moderate exercise three times a week, and I tried to stay in that range.
The heart benefit. I was working out for two, and my heart was adjusting to the extra effort. This is where the water has a really great advantage over land based workouts. A person’s heart rate will be significantly lower just being in the water – up to around thirteen percent fewer heart beats. So I could work just as hard as I would on land, and my heart had to work less. Of course I wanted to take advantage of that benefit, so water workouts became my primary exercise method during my pregnancy.
Workout classes. If I enjoy something, I will continue doing it. Taking a class while I was pregnant was great – I didn’t have to think about a routine, but could just follow the instructor. I found a class that was just for pregnant women, so it was tailored for my condition.
Having my water workouts made my pregnancy a lot easier, and now I have newly pregnant friends asking about it. I tell them – just try it, you’ll love it.
Kaitlin Gardner started An Apple Per Day to explore her passion for a green living lifestyle, and healthy family living. She and her husband have just moved to rural Pennsylvania, where they enjoy exploring the countryside to discover interesting and out of the way places. She is also learning how to paint watercolors.