It’s hard enough working out on any normal day – it gets even trickier with a baby bump to deal with. However, exercise can do a lot of good for a plus-size mom-to-be. All you need to know is how to do it and what exercises to do.
Fit Plus-size Pregnancy – Walking (Photo by Ed Yourdon)
How To Do It
Exercising in the wrong manner can be just as bad or even worse than not exercising at all. If you do it wrong, you may end up harming both yourself and your unborn baby. Fortunately, the guidelines to follow are quite simple:
- Consult your physician before starting out on any exercise plan
- Do not exercise while lying on your back
- Avoid activities involving contact
- Avoid exercises that have a high risk of falling
- Always stay hydrated during any physical activity
- Don’t overdo any exercise: Over-exertion will raise your core body temperature to unhealthy levels, thus affecting your baby. It will also strain and hurt your muscles instead of strengthening them
- Target to have regular thirty-minute sessions for 3-4 days per week. However, if you haven’t exercised before, start with shorter sessions and fewer days
- Always stretch before and after every exercise session
Exercises To Do
There are many exercise options for plus-size moms-to-be. Take advantage of this by having a mix of exercises to avoid boredom, which can easily kill your motivation. Moreover, various exercises give different benefits, including cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength.
Simple walking is an excellent way to get the heart pumping, chest thumping and blood flowing well through your veins (more commonly called cardio-respiratory endurance). This exercise will help build your stamina to sustain the strenuous labour period.
Walking is a suitable physical activity during plus-size pregnancy, since its a low impact exercise. You can further reduce the impact on your knees and feet by wearing well-cushioned shoes. This is necessary, since hard walking surfaces can lead to sore feet and knee joints.
Always target to walk for more than 15 minutes at a steady pace. This will give maximum benefits from the exercise. However, never push yourself if you feel out of breath. Also make sure to properly stretch your ankle and knee joints before and after, since these joints experience most of the impact while walking.
Fit Plus-size Pregnancy – Swimming (Photo by The Story Lady)
Having a baby bump can weigh you down, but you can easily overcome that feeling by going for swim. Only flying can compare to the weightless feeling you get in a pool. Even if you just stand on the shallow end (for those who don’t know how to swim), your feet will get some relief from the overwhelming weight in you belly. If looking for a solution to swollen legs during pregnancy, water-based exercises will definitely work for you.
Taking a good, proper swim will exercise all your major muscle groups. The fact that such an exercise is virtually non-impact, makes it an excellent activity during plus-size pregnancies (I don’t need to remind you never to attempt a dive during this time).
Apart from swimming, there are various physical activities you can perform on water. Aquanatal classes, in particular, are a perfect example. Such classes consist of various physical performance done while standing in shallow water. Compared to other land-based exercises, these water exercises are quite enjoyable, yet highly beneficial.
Most ladies shy away from weight lifting exercises, since they believe such exercises will bulk them up. Contrary to common assumption, weight training does not have a bulking effect on women as it does on men. Weight lifting exercises will give you enough muscular strength to bear the ever-increasing weight on your belly without turning you into an Arnold Schwarzenegger.
If you previously lifted heavy weights, that will have to reduce during pregnancy. For those new to weight training, only start with low weights, otherwise, you will get a serious muscle cramp. Exercising your limbs (arms and legs) will help keep your mobility and strength carry out necessary chores during the nine months.
Weight lifting is best suited during the first trimester. You should also maintain a good breathing rhythm while carrying weights (most people unconsciously hold their breath while carrying weights). Above all, remember not to get carried away during those days that you feel particularly motivated.