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Your Pregnancy After 35 : Exercise during and after Pregnancy (part 1) - If You Exercise Regularly, The Exercise Payoff

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1. If You Exercise Regularly

Women who love to exercise are willing to juggle hectic schedules to fit it into their daily routine. They believe exercise is necessary to help them feel fit, control their weight and look their best. They don’t want to give up exercising or its benefits because of pregnancy.

If you exercise on a regular basis before pregnancy, you may need to modify your exercise goals and take things a little easier during pregnancy. The goal of exercising at this time is overall good health. Exercise makes you feel better physically, and it can give you an emotional boost—but don’t overdo it.

There are benefits to continuing a moderate exercise program during your pregnancy. The discussion below identifies some of them.

Some healthcare providers believe women who exercise during pregnancy enjoy a shorter recovery time after birth. Because exercise keeps you fit, you may bounce back more quickly.

You may have to change or modify your exercise program during pregnancy because of changes in your body. Your center of gravity shifts, so you need to adjust your exercise for that. As your abdomen grows larger, you may not be able to do some activities very comfortably, and you may have to eliminate others.

During pregnancy, your heart rate is higher; you don’t have to exercise as vigorously to reach your target-heart-rate range. Be careful not to put too much stress on your cardiovascular system. If your heart rate is too high, slow down but don’t stop completely. Continue exercising at a moderate rate. If your heart rate is too low and you don’t feel winded, you may pick up the pace a bit, but again, don’t overdo it. Check your pulse rate frequently to make sure you aren’t overexerting.

Joan was concerned because it was hard to find time to exercise regularly. I told her to try exercising at her desk at work, doing ankle and leg exercises. This helped her keep her legs toned and also helped her with leg cramps and swelling.

Women who jog or run regularly often want to continue this activity during pregnancy. If you’re used to jogging and have been involved in regular jogging before pregnancy, you can continue in moderation during pregnancy after getting your doctor’s OK. Listen to your body when it tells you to slow down—don’t get overheated, stop if you feel tired and drink lots of water.

2. The Exercise Payoff

Exercise during pregnancy can help you feel more in control of your body and relieve some of the common aches and pains of pregnancy. Exercise improves circulation and helps you adjust to carrying the extra weight you gain during pregnancy. Regular, moderate exercise can also help?

relieve backache

prevent constipation and varicose veins

strengthen muscles needed for delivery

make you feel better about yourself

ease labor and delivery

leave you in better shape after delivery

control weight gain

Other exercise benefits include an increase in energy, nausea control, improvement in sleep, feeling better overall and having an easier time losing weight after pregnancy. Exercise also increases the release of growth hormone, which may help protect you from illness.

Try water aerobics to help relieve back and pelvic pain. Once a week may really help. Doing low-impact aerobics for at least 2 hours a week may help reduce your risk of preterm birth. Ten minutes of yoga or Pilates increases your blood flow and stretches your muscles.

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