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Chelsea at Crunch Gym

Forty Weeks of Fitness!

Chelsea, our pregnancy fitness expert, is a certified personal trainer at Crunch gym in San Francisco, California. She gave birth to her daughter, Madeira Re, in July 2006. Read more

Regular Exercise During Pregnancy

Even though you may not feel like you have the energy, the stomach, or the agility to exercise during your pregnancy, research confirms that active pregnant women have more energy, fewer and milder pregnancy complaints, and require less medical intervention in their pregnancy than their sedentary counterparts. In addition, studies have indicated that prenatal exercise may prevent varicose veins and help control gestational diabetes.

While exercise is beneficial for most women during pregnancy, it is not the time to break a personal record or take up a full-contact sport. Itís best to take it easy and stick with low-impact activities such as walking, swimming or water aerobics, and prenatal yoga. If you exercised regularly before becoming pregnant, continue your program with modifications as you need them. But if you were sedentary, begin slowly and build gradually as you become stronger, and always check with your doctor or midwife before starting or changing an exercise regimen. To learn more about exercising safely while pregnant, read Exercise for the Physically Fit.

Here are a few additional benefits you will gain from regular exercise during your pregnancy:

  • Increases your energy. It may seem counterintuitive, but expending energy gives you more energy. Creating a new life is tough work for your body, but regular exercise improves your cardiovascular system, which can help sustain your energy level.

  • Your body will be better prepared for labor and delivery. Exercise improves your endurance, and strengthens and tones your muscles. There are even exercises specifically designed to strengthen the muscle groups youíll use when pushing.

  • Relieves the discomforts of pregnancy. Exercise tones, stretches and strengthens your muscles, which helps your body adjust to its changing shape, size, and increased weight, helping to reduce common aches and pains including backache, constipation, fatigue, and swelling.

  • Improves your mood and self-image. Regular exercise will give you a steady supply of endorphins to boost your mood and the increased blood flow to your skin will give you a healthy glow, helping to improve your self-image.

  • Helps you sleep. Exercise will help expend any extra energy you may have (which may not be much towards the end of your pregnancy!), and can help relieve stress and anxiety, helping you to fall asleep more quickly and get a deeper, more restful sleep.

  • You will have a head-start getting your pre-pregnancy body back. Because you will have maintained your strength and muscle tone throughout your pregnancy, your body will have an easier time bouncing back after you give birth.

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