Ex­er­cise: Stay fit this hol­i­day

Sum­mer hol­i­days are al­ways filled with trips away and lots of fes­tive food. Even though your preg­gie work­outs may seem like a dis­tant mem­ory, you can still keep up your fit­ness lev­els

Your Pregnancy - - Contents -

BE­ING TOO SEDENTARY

causes mus­cle strain and fa­tigue, while ex­er­cise is good for re­leas­ing en­dor­phins, pro­motes your cir­cu­la­tion and re­plen­ishes en­ergy lev­els. So com­mit to keep mov­ing this hol­i­day!

SWIM SWIM SWIM

To beat preg­nancy heat ex­haus­tion, noth­ing’s bet­ter than wa­ter ex­er­cise. Swim­ming pro­vides aer­o­bic ex­er­cise, strength­ens and tones the en­tire body, and can be per­formed through­out your preg­nancy. It is in­vig­o­rat­ing and re­lax­ing and one of the most adapt­able forms of fit­ness ac­tiv­i­ties. Whether on your own or in a class, at home, on hol­i­day or at your lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal pool, you will en­joy the ad­van­tages of work­ing out in wa­ter. Just swim­ming a few laps in a pool will get your heart­beat go­ing, but for added ben­e­fits try these sim­ple ex­er­cises:

KICK UP – KICK DOWN

Sit­ting on a pool noo­dle or on the steps of the pool, with your hands on the step for sup­port, al­low your legs to float to­wards the sur­face of the wa­ter. Be­gin kick­ing, small kicks with feet close to­gether and press­ing toes slightly in­wards. Do this for one to three min­utes. Turn over, and al­low legs to float up­ward. Re­peat the move­ment for one to three min­utes. Do not ac­tively point your toes as this could cause you to cramp.

TUMMY TIGHTENER

This ex­er­cise is ex­cel­lent for strength­en­ing the ab­dom­i­nal mus­cles. Ly­ing with your back to­wards the pool noo­dle, place your arms along the length of the noo­dle and grasp it firmly. Straighten your spine and let your legs float up­wards to the sur­face of the wa­ter. With your feet to­gether and your knees bent, pull your knees to­wards your chest as high as you can man­age. Breathe out as you do this. Then straighten your legs as you press them for­ward, breath­ing in as you do so. Do this ten times.

WALK­ING STRONG

An­other ac­tiv­ity that is fun, free and fab­u­lous is walk­ing. No need for any spe­cial equip­ment – all you need are your legs, feet and good walk­ing shoes. So grab a hat and sun­screen and re­mem­ber not to walk dur­ing the peak heat of the day. Walk­ing is the ideal fit­ness ac­tiv­ity as it takes no spe­cial skill and can be done with a part­ner or on your own. It does not stress your body in any way that is un­fa­mil­iar. You con­trol just how hard you want to walk. Plus, walk­ing is some­thing that you can safely do right up un­til the day you de­liver. Your walk­ing work­out should not be too vig­or­ous. You should be able to speak in com­plete sen­tences and not be huff­ing and puff­ing and out of breath. Walk com­fort­ably at a pace that you would de­scribe as mod­er­ately chal­leng­ing. It is im­per­a­tive that you drink ad­e­quate amounts of wa­ter be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter your walk. Drink­ing wa­ter keeps your core tem­per­a­ture sta­ble. As preg­nancy pro­gresses your bal­ance be­comes af­fected so walk in an area that is safe and de­vel­oped. Walk briskly and be aware of your pos­ture. Be­cause of your chang­ing size and shape and the shift in your cen­tre of grav­ity your body will feel and move dif­fer­ently, chang­ing the way you walk or run. Keep your arms pump­ing at a 90- de­gree an­gle and your el­bows bent and close to your body. It may feel dif­fi­cult at first, but you will have a bet­ter work­out if you walk as straight as pos­si­ble, with your chest lifted and ex­panded and your chin up and pulled back. Keep your shoul­ders back and your ab­dom­i­nals and but­tocks held tight. To pre­vent joint pain, be­gin walk­ing in short strides. Long ones can hurt your hips and pelvic area – due to the lig­a­ments be­com­ing more lax un­der the in­flu­ence of preg­nancy hor­mones. Don’t walk more than 45 to a max­i­mum of 60 min­utes un­less you are very fit and an ex­pe­ri­enced walker.

STRETCH IT OUT

Pack your yoga mat along with your hol­i­day items. Get­ting away from it all may mean that phys­i­cally you re­lax, but men­tally it may be harder to un­wind than you think. Tak­ing some time out on ris­ing in the morn­ing or set­tling down at dusk to do a cou­ple of yoga pos­tures and breath­ing tech­niques can start up your day or end it off tran­quilly. Yoga pos­tures are ideal for al­le­vi­at­ing many of the aches and pains cre­ated by the pos­tu­ral changes in the preg­nant woman. You do not have to be a yoga fundi to do the fol­low­ing ex­er­cises:

NECK RE­LEASE

Kneel, or sit com­fort­ably with an­kles crossed. Re­lax your shoul­ders and feel your lower body (legs and pelvic area) ex­tend­ing and re­leas­ing to the floor. Breath­ing softly, let your head fall for­ward. You will feel a strong stretch at the back of your neck. Slowly roll your head to one shoul­der, then back and around. Pause wher­ever you feel ten­sion, or your neck feels tight or ten­der, re­leas­ing the ten­sion with each ex­ha­la­tion. Make sure you keep your jaw, shoul­ders and knees soft and re­laxed. Slowly and gen­tly cir­cle your head eight times, al­ter­nat­ing di­rec­tion.

AN­KLE STRETCH

This re­lieves leg cramps and strength­ens an­kles. Sit com­fort­ably, with a straight back and legs out­stretched hip-width apart. Ro­tate each an­kle for eight counts in each di­rec­tion, breath­ing slowly. Try not to move your whole foot, mak­ing sure to flex the an­kle bones only.

TAI­LOR SIT­TING

Do this to en­hance cir­cu­la­tion to the pelvic re­gion – it re­lieves piles and vari­cose veins and in­creases hip flex­i­bil­ity. Place a cush­ion un­der each thigh to sup­port the grad­ual stretch­ing of your hips and in­ner thighs. Bring the soles of your feet to­gether and draw them in, let­ting your knees drop to the ground. Rest your hands on your knees and with sev­eral gen­tle breaths, draw your knees fur­ther down with each ex­ha­la­tion. Try not to bounce or push too hard. Place your hands be­hind you and lean back with your spine straight. With your head com­fort­ably for­ward, take long deep breaths; this nour­ishes you and baby, al­low­ing for vi­tal en­ergy flow through­out your body. Cau­tion: Avoid if you have pain in the front of the pelvis. If you have pain in the back of the pelvis, place your feet fur­ther out in front of you.

PELVIC FLOOR EX­ER­CISES

These can and should be done any­time, any­where to strengthen pelvic floor mus­cles and in­crease cir­cu­la­tion to the en­tire pelvic re­gion. Choose a com­fort­able po­si­tion, ei­ther half kneel­ing or half squat­ting, or take up a knee- chest po­si­tion (on your el­bows and knees). Take a few re­lax­ing breaths, close your eyes and vi­su­alise your pelvic floor mus­cles. As you ex­hale, squeeze around your vagina and back pas­sage, lift deep into the pelvis and hold for two sec­onds. Re­lease slowly, and com­pletely soften around the per­ineum and sphinc­ter mus­cle. Re­peat 15 times.

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