To address the maternal discomforts and the postural changes that pregnancy brings, here is an outdoor workout to add into your routine. Equipment needed: medium weight resistance tube
*Be sure you have received your physician's approval before you exercise during pregnancy
Warm Up: Begin with 5-8 minutes of a dynamic warm up. This can mean a power-walk or movements like hamstrings curls, knee lifts, shallow lunges and shallow squats. This segment should be about movement and increasing your body temperature, no static stretches.
The Interval Workout: Weave cardio with strength "stations" for approximately 45 minutes
Power-walk or run for 5 minutes
Station #1: LEG LIFTS Stand on the tube with both feet and hold onto a handle in each hand at your sides. Alternate lifting each leg out to the side. 3-4 minutes (Why? This will help with increasing your temperature and strengthening the glutes)
Power-walk or run for 5 minutes
Station #2: BICEP CURLS Stand on the tube with both feet and hold onto a handle in each hand. With palms facing forward, start your bicep curls. Add in curls out at an angle. 3-4 minutes (Why? Strengthening the biceps will give you strength for motherhood when picking up and caring for your baby)
Walking Lunges-25 on each leg, then power-walk or run for 5 minutes
Station #3: TRICEP DIPS Find a low wall or bench and sit on it with the heels of your hands on the edge. Move your glutes off the edge and bend the elbows down into a dip, and then push yourself back up. Be sure to keep your glutes close to the bench or wall to support your shoulder joint. Perform 3 sets of 10 (Why? Continuing to strengthen the upper body prepares you for the physical nature of being a mom)
Side Shuffles for 1 min on each side, then power-walk or run for 3 minutes
Station #4: WALL-SIT WITH REAR FLY Lean up against a wall or tree and lower into a seated position, as if there was a chair. Add in a Rear Fly by holding onto the tube's handles, choking up on the tube and pulling arms away from each other squeezing the shoulder blades. Continue for one minute, come out of it to rest, then repeat 3 more times. (Why? Strengthening the lower body will aid in labor and delivery. The strength in the legs will also help with the getting up and down you will need to do when feeding your newborn. The Rear Fly strengthens the upper back which helps to fend off rounded shoulders that pregnancy can bring)
Easy walk or jog to a grassy space or place to comfortably get on the ground.
Cool Down, Core Strength and Flexibility Station:
Plank-facing the ground and on each side. Start with 30 seconds each and work your way to holding it longer as your progress...and Kegel!
Inclined Torso Twists-From a seated position, lean back about 20°, keeping the spine in neutral. Place hands in front of you at chest level and rotate side to side, lower the elbows towards the ground...and Kegel!
Cat/Cow-on all fours, round the back, and then return to neutral. This will help to stretch the low back; however, it is also a core strengthener if you concentrate on contracting the abdominals when in the rounded position...and Kegel!
(Why Abdominals? Having a strong core helps in many ways, namely with postural changes which can happen as pregnancy progresses. It can help with the "sway back" change as the pelvis shifts forward. Strong core musculature also will help in labor, delivery and recovery. Kegels strengthen the pelvic floor which can experience dysfunction in pregnancy, delivery and life)
Having a consistent and effective prenatal fitness routine can help to ease many maternal discomforts, as well as, strengthens you for the event of birthing your child. This effective routine should also strengthen you for MOTHERHOOD! Stay active, consistent and strong; for you and your growing baby!