Exercise during pregnancy prevents you from putting on those kilograms quickly. Did you also know that exercising for just 30 minutes a day will keep you happy, improve sleep and reduce aches and pains that accompany pregnancies?

Pregnancy exercise is more than just walking. You can include a healthy exercise regime in your daily schedule with ease, and enjoy it too. Choose one that will not cause too much stress to you or your baby. What’s great is that these can be easily incorporated into your daily schedule. Consult your doctor before embarking upon any of these exercises.

Cardiovascular exercises 

  • Walking: The easiest cardiovascular exercise, walking keeps you fit without straining or stressing the knees and ankles. And best of all, you can walk throughout your pregnancy.
  • Swimming: Swimming is ideal as it exercises the arms and legs and lends a feeling of weightlessness.
  • Low-impact aerobics: Aerobics strengthens your heart and tones your body but choose a class meant for pregnant women.
  • Dancing: You can exercise your heart by dancing to your favourite song in the comfort and privacy of your own living room. Pick a routine that you are most comfortable with.
  • Indoor cycling: Cycling on a stationary bike is safe even if you’re just starting your exercise regimen. As your stomach grows, you can adjust the handles for greater comfort.
  • High-intensity sports: If you run or play tennis regularly, you don’t need to stop, but you might consider slowing down during your pregnancy.

Flexibility and strength-building

  • Yoga: Yoga helps maintain muscle tone and keeps you flexible without affecting your joints.  It is an excellent stress buster when combined with walking or swimming.
  • Stretching: Stretching is a good way to keep your body limber and relaxed, and to prevent muscle strain. Always begin any cardiovascular exercises with stretching to get a complete workout.
  • Weight training: If you have been regularly training with weights, there’s no reason to stop now, although you could go easy with the amount of weights. Weight training is a great way to tone and strengthen muscles.
  • Kegels: The beauty of Kegels is that you can do them anytime, anywhere, without anyone realising. Kegels strengthen muscles that support the uterus, bladder and bowels, all of which help during labour and delivery. Squeeze the pelvic muscles as if you’re trying to stop urinating or passing gas. Hold for five seconds and relax. Do this 10 times, five times a day.
  • Plie: This works on your quadriceps, hamstrings and butt. Done regularly, this will help improve balance. Stand with your side to the back of a sturdy chair. Place your closest hand on its back, feet parallel and hip-distance apart. With toes and knees at 45 degrees, bend your knees, go as low as possible while keeping your back straight. Straighten up. Repeat.
  • Side-lying inner and outer thigh: This strengthens your core and inner thighs. Lie on your right side, head on the forearm, right leg bent at a 45-degree angle and left leg straight. Use your opposite arm for support. Lift left leg to about hip height and repeat. Turn on the other side and repeat.