10-Minute Exercises for Pregnant Mamas
Attention mommy-to-be and new moms! Despite what you might have heard, it is OKAY to exercise while you’re pregnant. In fact, it is highly recommended. Your body is changing significantly, your muscles are stretching, and your hormones are all over the place. Exercising helps release endorphins—the “happy” hormones. Staying active while pregnant helps increase energy, boost your mood, and even helps with labor! Stay away from jumping and high intensity workouts. Do not reach your max energy while working out. Because you’re pregnant, you don’t want to give it your all or push yourself to the limit. Yoga, Pilates, and brisk walks are great options. Jogging and running are okay, too, if you’ve already been doing them. Even weight training is great for pregnant women (use dumbbells around 3 pounds).
While exercise is safe and healthy to do while pregnant, consult your doctor before starting any exercise program. Every woman and growing baby are different and have unique circumstances. Once you’re cleared to engage in safe exercise, start with these fun moves:
- SQUATS: targets lower body—legs and butt (weights/dumbbells optional)
Stand with your feet open to hip width apart, arms down by your side, with bent knees (making sure knees are pointing straight forward and not passing over your toes). Lead with your BUTT as if you’re going to sit in a chair (contract your muscles, make sure everything is tight, and keep your spine straight). As you squat, bend your arms to come up towards your face, parallel to each other. Then stand up. Repeat for 1 minute. *Arm alternation: (with or without weights) Hold out your arms straight ahead and inline with your shoulders, shoulder width apart, and parallel to the floor. Keep them there during the squat and bring arms down as you stand up.
- SIDE SQUAT: targets outer thighs
Stand hip width apart, hands on your hips (holding weights is optional). Lift your right foot out to the side for a side lunge. Bend your RIGHT knee as your foot touches the ground and go into a squat. Lead with your butt and make sure to keep your back straight. Do not lean forward—keep your chest upright above your heart. Come back to center as you come out of the side squat in one motion. Repeat for 30 seconds and then switch to the left leg.
- HAMSTRING LEG LIFT: targets the back of the thigh (no weights)
Find something to hold on to like the wall, stair rail, or back of a chair. Stand up straight, feet open to hip width apart. Keeping your feet parallel, slide your right foot backwards to where you’re on your tip toe. Now lift UP from that point, imagining your right leg is like a lever. It’s important NOT to arch your lower back. Lift up using your butt and hamstring muscles. If your lower back is arching and your hips aren’t stable, it means you’re reaching back too far or lifting your leg too high. Keep your leg LIFTED and pulse up and down working the hamstring muscle. After 30 seconds, bring your leg back to standing hip width apart. Switch to the left leg and complete for 30 more seconds. REPEAT TWICE.
- SUMO SQUATS: targets inner thighs
Make a WIDE stance, standing wider than hip width apart, feet turned OUT. Turned out means your toes are slightly opened to a “V.” With a straight back and your hands on your hips (with or without the weights), squat straight down, with your butt and hips towards the floor. Make sure your knees do not go past your toes. You want to try to “sit” as low as you can. As you stand up, use your inner thigh muscles to bring you back up to standing. Keep the wide, turned out stance and repeat for 1 minute.
These exercises are great to do at home. Also, try to take a 30 minute walk everyday.
Health tip: coconut water is a great drink for hydration. Coconut water is a natural source of electrolytes—exactly what your body needs to replenish and rehydrate during and after a workout. It is low on the glycemic index, so it won’t spike up your blood sugar. Other sport drinks are full of added sugars and sweeteners which do more harm than good. Make sure the box or can says 100% pure coconut water and is NOT from concentrate.
Follow the link below to a YouTube video of 5 Pilates moves great for pregnancy:
Stay active and have fun!