The best exercise to do in pregnancy - Juice Daily
Credit: Sabine Schwarz

The best exercise to do in pregnancy

The ideal exercise in pregnancy will keep you active and get your heart pumping without causing any physical stress.

Pilates is not only highly modifiable, but also offers a targeted approach to exercise, which makes it one of the best methods for keeping fit while pregnant. Not only does it offer a safe and effective method for building strength and reduce the physical effects of pregnancy, but it can enable a swift return to your best self after giving birth.

Try these four gentle Pilates exercises to keep in shape throughout every trimester.

1.  Hinge with magic circle arms

Stretching your hip flexors can prevent lower back pain during pregnancy, whereas strengthening your arms, chest and upper back will help reduce upper back pain.

Start in an elevated kneeling position and hold a circle object with the palms of your hands. Extend your arms forward, making sure they stay completely straight.

Exhale and hinge backwards from your hips, until you feel a stretch in your hip flexors and your quads working. Pulse the circle in and out for 12 reps, keeping your arms straight and your shoulders squared. Then return to the start position and rest. Repeat three times.

 

hinge

Credit: Sabine Schwarz

2. Triceps extension

Building up your arm strength during pregnancy will make life easier when the bub finally arrives. You’ll be doing a lot of lifting, holding and breastfeeding.

Start in a four point kneeling position with your spine flat. Hold a band in both hands with 30 to 40cm resistance between each hand.

Plant your left hand on the mat and lock your right hand at a 90 degree angle below your waist.

Exhale and straighten your right arm, so that your hand reaches your hip and then inhale back to the start position. Extend your arm 15 to 20 times, then hold your arm extended on the last rep for 10 slow counts. Repeat the exercise on your left arm.

 

tricep extension

Credit: Sabine Schwarz

3. Calf raises

Your calf muscles are often forgotten, especially when you have back pain. Strengthening your calves can prevent and aid lower back pain, which is common during pregnancy.

Start standing up, with your feet hip-width apart and your shoulders squared. Rest your fingertips on a chair or barre for balance.

Stand on your tip toes and lower back down on to your heels slowly. Repeat 20 times.

Rest your left ankle against your right knee and repeat the calf raises on a single leg before changing sides.

 

calf raises

Credit: Sabine Schwarz

 4. Horse kicks

Strengthening your glutes and hamstrings will help your maintain your posture and balance during pregnancy and reduce back pain. Horse kicks are also a great stability exercise.

Start in a four point kneeling position, with your spine flat and your shoulders squared. Keep a tiny bend in your elbows, as this will give your arms a workout too.

Flex through your left foot, and extend your right leg behind you until your thigh is level with your hips. Draw the leg back in to the start position and keep your hips level.

Repeat 15 times. On your last rep, hold the leg out for ten pulses up and down. Then repeat on your other leg.

 

horse kick

Credit: Sabine Schwarz

Tori Clapham

About the person who wrote this

Tori Clapham

Tori is a certified mat, pre and post natal Pilates instructor, as well as a trained Doula. She is incredibly passionate about not only physical, but mental health, and is very laid back in her teaching approach. Known for ‘total body toning’ for both men and women, Peaches Pilates classes offer a holistic and advanced approach to working out, with proven speedy and lasting results.

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