Exercise, like almost everything else in your life, is different during pregnancy – a new world of rules and recommendations designed to safeguard your baby. Fitness makes us feel good, increasing its importance during pregnancy, but does water exercise offer a better, safer way to stay fit?
The short answer is yes, water exercise is a fantastic way to stay fit and healthy during pregnancy, as it allows you to enjoy activity in a far less impactful and jarring form, while boosting your energy, improving your mood and controlling your weight.
The longer answer, along with all the rules, recommendations, intricacies and tips that an expectant mother should be aware of, can be found below.
Should I exercise while pregnant?
First things first: is exercise a good idea during pregnancy? Yes, it is. As outlined by Health Navigator, it isn’t just OK to undertake moderate exercise while pregnant, it’s recommended. But only if it’s done the right way.
The right types of exercise during pregnancy brings a number of health benefits, including:
- Preventing common health conditions associated with pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes.
- Controlling your weight.
- Boosting energy and elevating mood.
- Building strength to help carry your child.
- Reducing back ache by improving posture.
- Improving circulation (which can reduce the likelihood of developing varicose veins.)
- Promoting better sleep.
All in all, exercise has been proven to help you cope with both the physical and psychological changes that you will go through during pregnancy. The increased health, fitness and strength that comes with exercise can also be a huge help during labour and post-birth recovery.
The benefits of exercise are clear. The next question is not why you should exercise during pregnancy, but how.
What exercise is best during pregnancy?
Alcohol, cigarettes, soft cheeses, shellfish, cured meats, even cleaning your cat’s litter box; to some degree pregnancy is defined by the don’ts, although mothers tend to see these things as a small price to pay for bringing their own healthy child into the world.
While exercise is good during pregnancy, certain forms are included on the list of don’ts.
Any jarring or high-impact activity should be avoided. This is less for the safety of your baby as it is for you, as your body can be more prone to joint and muscle injuries during pregnancy, simply because it is dealing with such a new and strange situation already (along with extra weight.) You are simply at higher risk from exercises like star jumps, squats and road running during pregnancy.
It perhaps goes without saying that combat and extreme sports find themselves on the ‘no’ list. Impacts from martial arts like judo and kickboxing can cause direct harm to your child, while scuba-diving and base jumping expose your bub to unnecessary risk.
You should also avoid taking up strenuous or intense exercise during pregnancy. If you maintained a high level of cardiovascular fitness before you got pregnant, you can continue with a similar regime, although the further into your term you go, the lower intensity the exercise should be.
For everyone else, the focus should be on gentle, moderate exercise, which is still an effective way to enjoy the extensive benefits of fitness during pregnancy. And one such form of fitness is arguably better than the rest: aquacise.
By taking your workout to the water, you can enjoy all the cardiovascular fitness that comes with traditional exercise, while experiencing none of the jarring impacts that you feel on dry land. With the buoyancy of the water counteracting gravity, you’ll enjoy:
- Less pain
- Freer movement
- A safer workout
- A new, unique and fun exercise routine
How to bring water exercise to your home
Historically the problem with aquacise was that it was restricted to a lucky few: people who lived by a lake or the ocean (and in a warm enough climate), who had easy access to a public aquatic centre, or who owned their own backyard pool.
But what if there was a cost-effective way to enjoy the benefits of open water swimming in your own backyard, and in water that could be warmed to your ideal exercise temperature? Enter Endless Pools swim spas.
An Endless Pool is the ideal machine for maintaining fitness during and after pregnancy. Measuring just a few metres long, it can fit in small backyards, courtyards and even on decks, but by generating its own current, an Endless Pool offers an experience that feels more like an open ocean swim than a backyard paddle.
Endless Pools offer a range of exercises that are ideal for expectant mothers, including:
- Swimming: The famous swim-in-place experience delivered by an Endless Pool can be adjusted to suit your needs, both in the speed of the current and the temperature of the water. Add the underwater mirror, swim tether and pace display to further enhance your workout!
- Underwater Treadmill: Are you someone who enjoys a jog, but is wary of the effects that such an impactful exercise can have during pregnancy? The Underwater Treadmill offers the same workout minus the jarred joints.
- Water Rower: Rowing is a full-body workout, and by adding the Water Rower accessory, you can enjoy it in the warm water and steady current of your Endless Pool.
- Resistance bands: Endless Pools’ resistance bands are designed for aquacise that targets specific areas of the body. The workout options are every bit as endless as the pool!
- Aquabike: Are you a passionate cyclist, but find riding while pregnant uncomfortable or an unnecessary risk? The Aquabike brings cycling to the warm waters of your Endless Pool, reducing the bumps and impacts while offering a similar level of cardio.
It should be noted that soaking in water that is too warm can be dangerous for your unborn child. Never soak or exercise in water that exceeds body temperature (36C) while pregnant, and the lower that number is, the less risky the activity becomes. Ready more about safely using spa pools while pregnant here.
But that asterisk aside, if you’re looking for a safe and effective way to maintain fitness and enhance your pregnancy experience, you need look no further than an Endless Pool. Get in touch or book a test swim today.