At no point in a woman’s life is general fitness more important than during pregnancy. The advantages of having a regular exercise routine during pregnancy are almost endless. Exercising will give you more energy, help you remain flexible and carry your baby with ease.
It will help protect against back pain and improve muscle tone, which in turn will give you greater control over labor and delivery. Perhaps the greatest bonus is that it helps your return to a better shape.
This article will be covered in two parts : Upper and Lower Body workout to facilitate better understanding . In this edition of the article we focus on Upper Body Workout- namely the arms, chest , shoulder & Waist. You can begin the prenatal fitness routine as soon as you have your doctor’s or midwife’s approval, and continue them for as long as you can – unless, in the unlikely event, a medical problem arises.
A warm-up and stretching needs to be an essential part of your workout regime. Remember, your body is more flexible during pregnancy due to the joints and ligaments loosening, and this makes you even more susceptible to injury. Stretches should be done in a slow manner – never overstretch, and no bouncing. Your Stretching routine can include exercises like the – the Windmill, head rolls, shoulder rolls, Tricep stretch, Chest & Shoulder Stretch, Bicep Stretch etc . You can even add few of the yoga exercises as a part of your stretching routine.
TOGETHER AND APART
Your upper body needs a lot of attention during pregnancy. If you exercise the arms you will improve circulation, and therefore the function of the breasts. A new mother needs strong arms to carry the baby and all the bags therefore particular attention should be given to your pectoral muscles, as these provide support for your breasts. Your waist may also start to thicken as early as 16 weeks pregnant, and will keep on expanding until delivery. It is vital your waist does not lose its tone. Firm muscles help you regain your pre-pregnancy shape much faster.
Stand with your feet apart , back straight, and hold your arms out at shoulder height. Now swing them slowly forward and backward 8-10 times.
Hold your arms at shoulder height and spin them forward and back, with clenched fists. Repeat the movement 8 times.
UP AND DOWN (click here for demo)
Hold your arms out at shoulder height, and keeping them straight, push your clenched list up and down. At all times feel the muscles of the arm stretch and relax. Repeat it 10 times.
Standing feet apart, hold your arms out at shoulder height, and without moving your elbows. Swing your forearms into your chest. Make sure that the top of your hand is facing forward. Repeat 10 times.
Hold your arms out at shoulder height, and keeping them straight, swing your arms down and across in front of your body. Then swing them back to shoulder height again. Repeat this movement 10 times. For a complete workout. repeat the same movement, but this time cross your arms at the back 10 times.
TUCK AND PUSH
Stand straight with feet shoulder-width apart and hold your arms tucked into your waist. Push your arms up as high as you can, hold and then relax.. Do not bring your arms forward, keep them behind your back all the time. Repeat this exercise ten times.
CHEST FIRMER (click here for demo)
With your feet about hip-distance apart and parallel, bend your arms at right-angles lifted to the side. Slowly bring the arms together in front of your chest, squeeze the pectoral muscles and then slowly open them wide. Repeat the movement up to 20 times.
PECTORAL PUSH (click here for demo)
Stand straight, with your feet apart and your palms pressed together in front of your chest. While pressing your palms together, tighten your pectoral muscles and slowly raise your hands over your head .Hold and press for 5 seconds. Repeat ten times.
Stand straight with your feet apart Bend your elbow and lift them up level with your shoulders. Press elbows back 3 times, and on the fourth, straighten the arms as you press them back. Repeat 10 times.
Stand with your feet apart, back straight and knees bent. Punch your arms alternately to the ceiling. Repeat 10 times.
ELBOW TO LEG
Stand with your feet apart, back straight and knees bent, and with your hands behind your head, bend alternately to each side, bringing your elbow towards your leg. Do not bend forward. Repeat 8-10times each side.
Stand with your feet apart, back straight and knees bent, and with your hands on your waist, slowly twist from side to side. Make sure your hips do not move, as you are working only your waist. Repeat 10 times to each side.
Stand with your feet apart, back straight and knees slightly bent. Bend your arms at the elbows and lift them to shoulder height. Turn from the waist, from side to side. Keep your hips parallel to each other. Repeat 10 times to each side.
NOTE: Attempt this exercise only if your abdominal muscles have not separated.
ELBOWS TO THIGHS
Sit with your legs a comfortable distance apart (not too far) and your hands bent behind your head. With a straight back, gently reach alternately towards your legs. Do not drop your shoulders forward. Repeat up to 10 times to each side.
Practice these exercises regularly and modify them to accommodate your new size as the baby grows. Pelvic floor, stomach, back, thigh and hip exercises are important and will be discussed in the concluding part of this article.