Article Contributor: Admin
Becoming pregnant is a joyous time for women in Abu Dhabi. Fitness and medical professional all advise that in moderation exercise is beneficial to both mother and baby.
We asked a professional prenatal personal trainer from Abu Dhabi for some exercise tips and advice.
Question: Many women are used to exercise and training on a regular basis before they become pregnant. How many times per week on average would you say it is safe to exercise during pregnancy?
During pregnancy in Abu Dhabi means it is very important to exercise daily, for most pregnant women.
At least 30 minutes of moderate exercise is recommended for most, if not all days of the week (as long as your provider hasn’t ruled out exercise or limited your physical activities because of a medical condition or complication).
Walking is a great exercise for beginners. It provides moderate aerobic conditioning with minimal stress on your joints.
Other good choices include swimming, low-impact aerobics and cycling on a stationary bike. Strength training is more important than anything else during pregnancy, you have to hold this body together.
The risk of course is bringing heavy weights over the head, introducing tension and straining when you’re not used to it.
But if you lift weights already then bring it down by 20% as you go through your pregnancy.
Remember to warm up, stretch and cool down. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, and be careful to avoid overheating.
Intense exercise increases oxygen and blood flow to the muscles and away from your uterus. In general, you should be able to carry on a conversation while you’re exercising.
If you can’t speak normally while you’re working out, you’re probably pushing yourself too hard.
Depending on your fitness level, consider these guidelines while exercising when pregnant in Abu Dhabi:
You haven’t exercised for a while – Begin with as little 10 minutes of physical activity a day. Build up to 15 minutes, 25 minutes, and so on, until you reach at least 30 minutes a day.
If you were exercising before pregnancy you can probably continue to work out at the same level while you’re pregnant — as long as you’re feeling comfortable and your health care provider says it’s OK.
Regular exercise can help you cope with the physical changes of pregnancy and build stamina for the challenges ahead.
If you haven’t been exercising regularly, use pregnancy as your motivation to begin.
Remember, a personal trainer in Abu Dhabi qualified to work with prenatal women can give you the best advice and training program.
Question: What are the main benefits of exercising regularly when pregnant n Abu Dhabi?
There are so many benefits of exercising regularly during pregnancy: Reduce backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling.
Pregnancy saps your energy, but regular exercise can help you get through your daily tasks or cope with a demanding schedule more easily.
That’s because exercise strengthens your cardiovascular system, so you don’t tire as easily and you have the energy to ride out stressful times.
And with strong, toned muscles, you don’t need to put in as much effort to engage in any activity, whether it’s grocery shopping or sitting through meetings at the office.
As your pregnancy progresses, finding a comfortable sleeping position can be a real challenge.
But exercise can tire you out enough to lull you into a more restful sleep.
Prevent excess weight gain.
Promote muscle tone, strength and endurance.
Reduce stress and lift your spirits.
Being pregnant can be stressful and leave you vulnerable to mood swings.
One study found that exercise boosts levels of serotonin, a brain chemical linked to mood, putting you in better spirits.
It works even better if you invite a friend to join you. Not only are you more likely to stick with your workouts, studies have shown that having the company of supportive friends might be one of the best stress-busters available.
The better shape you’re in, the stronger you’ll be come time for labor and delivery.
Giving birth can be likened to running a marathon because both require stamina, determination, and focus.
A study that can be read here found that preparing for childbirth with exercise may ease labour and even shorten the time it takes to deliver your baby.
Another recent small study found says that women who participated in a conditioning program three times a week throughout pregnancy progressed through the first stage of labour more quickly than women who weren’t in the program.
Exercise during pregnancy might also reduce the risk of gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia.
In women who develop gestational diabetes, regular exercise can make an important difference.
One major study found that when women with gestational diabetes exercised moderately three times a week, their risk of having a macrosomic (very large) newborn was reduced by 58 percent, which led to a 34 percent lower risk of a cesarean delivery
When you’ve maintained your strength and muscle tone through your pregnancy, your body will have an easier time bouncing back after you give birth.
You’re also less likely to put on excess weight if you exercise during your pregnancy.
Question: As a personal trainer with pre and post natal training experience what exercise types do you think are more beneficial (and safe) for pregnant women in Abu Dhabi?
Suitable activities during pregnancy are brisk walking, swimming, indoor stationary cycling, prenatal yoga, and low-impact aerobics, light weight training guided by a certified instructor. These carry little risk of injury, they benefit the entire body, and they can continue until delivery.
1. Brisk walking
If pre-pregnancy exercise levels were low, a quick stroll around the neighbourhood is a good way to start. This will provide a cardiovascular workout without too much impact on the knees and ankles.
It can be done for free, almost anywhere, and at any time during pregnancy. Safety tip: As pregnancy progresses, your center of gravity changes, and you can lose your sense of balance and coordination.
Choose smooth surfaces, avoid potholes, rocks, and other obstacles, and wear supportive footwear.
Swimming and exercising in water give a better range of motion without putting pressure on the joints. The buoyancy offered by the water may offer some relief from the extra weight.
Safety Tip: Avoid warm pools, steam rooms, hot tubs, and saunas, to minimize the risk of overheating.
3. Stationary Bicycle
Cycling on a stationary bike, also called spinning, is normally safe even for first-time exercisers.
It helps raise the heart rate without putting too much stress on the joints. The bike helps support body weight, and, because it is stationary, the risk of falling is low.
4. Low Impact Aerobics
Aerobic exercise strengthens the heart and lungs and helps maintain muscle tone. Low-impact aerobics excludes jumping, high kicks, leaps, or fast running.
In low-impact exercise, one foot should stay on the ground at all times. Compared with high-impact aerobics, the low-impact option: limits stress on the joints, reduces the risk of weakening the pelvic floor muscles, helps maintain balance.
5. Squatting and pelvic tilts
Squatting: During labor, squatting may help to open the pelvis, so it may be a good idea to practice during pregnancy.
Pelvic tilts strengthen the muscles in your abdomen and help alleviate back pain during pregnancy and labor.
Prenatal yoga classes keep the joints limber and help maintain flexibility. Yoga strengthens muscles, stimulates blood circulation, and enhances relaxation.
These may contribute to a healthy blood pressure during pregnancy. The techniques learnt in yoga class can also help you to stay calm and in control during labor.
Though this list may seem restrictive, remember there are still many exercises that are completely fine to do during pregnancy.
Safe activities include fitness walking, elliptical, treadmill, light weight lifting training, so find one, or hopefully a few, that you really enjoy, and keep it up throughout your pregnancy.
As important as it is to exercise, it’s also important to watch for signs of a problem. Stop exercising and contact your health care provider if you have:
• Vaginal bleeding
• Increased shortness of breath
• Chest pain
• Uneven or rapid heartbeat
• Uterine contractions that continue after rest
• Fluid leaking or gushing from your vagina
• Decreased fetal movement
• Calf pain or swelling
• Muscle weakness affecting balance prenatal
Question; Are there any exercise or training types that should really be avoided during pregnancy because they are either seen as unsafe or too stressful on the body?
Exercise isn’t just safe to do for most pregnant women—it’s excellent for your and your baby’s health, but there are some that is no safe and pregnant women should avoid.
Consider avoiding: Any exercises that force you to lie flat on your back after your first trimester After the first trimester, avoid exercising while lying flat on your back.
The weight of your uterus puts pressure on a major vein called the vena cava, which can reduce blood flow to your heart and may diminish blood flow to your brain and uterus.
This can make you dizzy, short of breath, or nauseated. Some women are comfortable in this position well into their pregnancies, but this isn’t necessarily a good indication of whether blood flow to your uterus is affected.
Putting pillows or a foam wedge behind your back to prop up your upper body while you exercise enables you to be almost flat on your back without compressing the vena cava.
Exercise types to avoid: Scuba diving, which could put your baby at risk of decompression sickness. Contact sports, such as ice hockey, soccer, basketball and volleyball.
There are some sports that are no-brainers to skip, such as downhill skiing and skydiving. Keep in mind that your center of gravity changes as your belly grows, so you might not be as steady on your feet as you used to be.
Along the way, you might encounter some less obvious exercises that make you feel as if you might fall.
Avoid things that put you in positions that you feel like you’re not balanced or that you’re a little off.
It’s not worth it to risk injuring yourself or your baby. Find ways to modify.
For example, if you usually love cycling, take a spin on a stationary bike instead. You’re much less likely to take a tumble.
Activities that could cause you to hit water with great force, such as water skiing, surfing and diving.
Avoid trauma causing types of exercise.
Activities that could cause you to experience direct trauma to the abdomen, such as kickboxing Exercises that Can Separate Abdominal Muscles.
Some women experience a separation in their abdominal muscles, called a diastasis recti. This can weaken your core and may require physical therapy to repair postpartum.
Pregnant women in their second and third trimesters should stop moves that place tensile (stretching) and/or shear forces on the midline.
Moves, such as wood chop, twisted rollbacks, and bicycles, can cause diastasis recti.
Yoga poses to avoid Moves like boat pose, leg lifts, yogic belly breathing (the intentional over inflation of the belly during inhalation), and all other moves that cause the bump to bulge away from the spine are also off the menu. Not only do these moves strain the midline, but they also stretch the uterine and bladder ligaments, increasing the risk of prolapse problems after delivery.
During pregnancy, your body will be in constant change You’ll become heavier, your center of gravity will change, and it may become more difficult to catch your breath.
It’s important to adjust your routine according to how you’re feeling.
Question: For women who are pregnant and confused about how much exercise they should be doing to stay fit and healthy during their pre natal stage what are your top five tips?
First of all we strongly recommend pregnant women to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity five times per week.
Second and very important is you listen to your body, exercise when you feeling good and energetic, if one day you wake up felling any discomfort or a strange low energy go slowly on the exercise because maybe is your body and baby asking a break to rest.
Another Tip is to share your routine if you doing weight lifting training, one day you exercise your lower body and on the another day your upper body.
Like this you give a 24 hours break/rest to some muscles.
I suggest as well 20 to 30 minutes cardiovascular exercise to help on the breathing, you can use Treadmill to walk( use the inclination option to help to put your heart rate a bit up), elliptical, static bicycle.
Enjoy your pre natal exercise. To make sure you maintain your exercise and to help you stay motivated it helps if you do the exercise and activities that you love.
Don’t try and take up swimming if you hate it just because you heard it was good for pregnant women!
You just need to modify your exercise programs by reducing duration and intensity and choosing specific pregnancy exercises that you will enjoy.
It’s perfectly safe for women in Abu Dhabi to exercise and train as long as they take sensible precautions and always seek medical advice before starting or changing an exercise routine.
The UAE Personal Trainers website only includes PT profiles for professional, fully qualified male and female fitness coaches in the UAE.