Prenatal Pilates – Is It Right For You?
Pilates provides an excellent workout, whether you’re exercising for two or just looking to get your blood pumping and muscles toned. However, when you're pregnant, you should always take special precautions when exercising. Pay close attention to how your body is "communicating" with you and always, always consult with your physician before beginning a prenatal exercise regime. That said, here are some recommended prenatal Pilates exercises that can help you stay fit during pregnancy, and all you need is a mat!
5 Prenatal Pilates Exercises
- The Sword – Stand with both feet wider than your hips. Bend your knees slightly and turn your feet out to the sides. Place your hands on your hips. Fully bend your knees and move your right hand toward your left knee, looking down while doing so. Sweep your arm back upward to the left like you are drawing a sword off of the ground, looking up at your hand as it moves. Switch sides and repeat the motion. This exercise improves your balance and strengthens your abdominals, back, and legs.
- Thigh Stretch – Kneel down on your mat with your knees hip-width apart and your abdominal muscles pulled in. If kneeling directly on your knees hurts at this stage of pregnancy, you can kneel on a blanket or additional mat. Squeeze your buttocks and inhale through your nose as you lean back. Keep your hips elevated. Slowly reach your arms up to your shoulders, keeping your palms down. Exhale through your mouth while returning your hips to their previous position and lowering your arms. This exercise can build strength in your buttocks, lower back, abdominals, and hips.
- Pelvic Floor Muscle Boost – Sit on your mat with your legs together and your posterior on your heels. If it’s more comfortable, you can lie down flat on the mat with your head slightly elevated and your knees bent. Imagine that you are clenching your pelvic muscles as tightly as you can. Hold the position for ten seconds at a time and gradually relax. Repeat this pelvic floor Pilates exercise ten times in a row. This exercise can greatly aid in your ability to achieve a seamless and smooth labor.
- Wag Your Tail – Get on your hands and knees and make sure that your wrists are underneath your shoulders. Slowly draw your stomach in and lift your knee up and to your side. Keep your shoulders away from your ears. Slowly draw circles with the extended knee and keep your abdominals tight. Complete a few reps and then switch sides and repeat. This exercise might look silly, but it’s a good way to increase your stability and flexibility, along with strengthening your core and lower back.
- Arm Floor Stretch – Kneel down on the mat on your right knee. Place your right hand underneath your shoulder. Extend your left leg out on the side and place your foot on the floor. Your hips should be facing the front, and your abdominals should be pulled in. Reach out your left hand to the floor while looking down. Slowly draw your arm up to the ceiling while looking at the hand and opening up your chest. Exhale and lower down your arm. Complete a few reps and then switch sides. This Pilates stretch move will improve your balance and build muscles in your hips, back, and arms.
Staying Fit During Pregnancy Also Means Being Cautious
These are just a few possible exercises that can help you stay fit and flexible through your pregnancy. Your doctor or fitness professional can no doubt offer many more. As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, always consult your physician before you start an exercise routine, and stay in regular contact throughout your pregnancy. Always alert your doctor to any unusual discomfort, and discontinue any exercise program until he or she has given you a green light to continue. Your health, and your baby's health, are your top priority.
RX Fitness Equipment Is Here to Help
If you're pregnant and would like to consult a professional regarding potential fitness routines that can help you during pregnancy, we work with hundreds of nutritionists, coaches and personal trainers, and we're happy to offer a referral to several who can help. If you're looking for a great selection of fitness equipment and accessories, we carry the top brands to fit every goal and budget. And, for some great advice about equipment and accessories, don't forget to check out Tim's best-selling book, Fitness Equipment – A Shopper's Guide, available at Amazon and other online book sellers as well as in our store.
Contact Tim Adams for a free consultation or stop by the store and take something for a test drive. We’re here to help.