There are a few camps of pregnant women in regard to exercise philosophy. Those who walk for exercise during the long 9 months, those who crossfit with 100lb weights with a Stowaway (hey, as long as your doc says it’s ok…) and those who fall somewhere in between. So for you, the in-betweeners, we want to talk about swimming. We know, the first thought is probably, “Hell no, I’m not fitting into a bathing suit”, but trust us, it’s worth it.
Do you remember how your body felt before you were pregnant? That’s rhetorical. Want to feel that normalcy again? Again, rhetorical. Well, wrestle that bathing suit on because floating in a body of water is pure magic. Stepping into a pool for the first time, being noticeably pregnant is probably the closest thing we can feel to an astronaut going into outer space. And no we’re not being dramatic. Your joints suddenly depressurize, your lower back releases the compacted vertebrae, and your boobs and belly holding the extra 20, 30, 40 pounds feel like they float away. Now that you’re back to feeling your normal pre-pregnancy self, time to get your workout on.
Start with a very long and slow freestyle stroke. Glide through the water as much as possible to minimize exertion. Stretch out your arms and your back allowing your spine to reset. Breathe every stroke. Do a very slow 25 yards (or one lap) and check your pulse. Your doctor will tell you what your heart rate should be when exercising and make sure to stick to those guidelines. You’ll have to monitor it often until you learn what speed and exertion you can do to meet that heart rate. If your heart rate is a-ok, then continue on with 5 more laps like this. Take a water break now and as often as you need. Try doing it every time you check your heart rate since it’s a good break time.
If you’re feeling well, try a simple ladder workout. 1x 25 yards (1 lap), 2x 50 yards (2x 2 laps), 3x 100 yards (3x 4 laps), 2x 50 yards (2x 2 laps), 1x 25 yards (1 lap) with a nice long cool down stretching out each stroke, gliding through the water. If you get out of breath easily during this set but you’re in good physical shape, flip to your back. You can do the set in backstroke allowing you to breathe easier.
After your swim, wrestle or should we say peel off your bathing suit, take a nice warm shower to get the chlorine out of your hair and relax your now-tired muscles. Exercise during pregnancy is a great way to stay strong for the delivery but also to keep your body adjusting to the pregnancy as each step occurs or each new ailment arises. Remember, it’s 9 long months so do your best to #growinstyle.
Always check with your doctor before doing any physical activity and stay in tune with your own body to learn your limits.