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Your Pregnancy After 35 : Exercise during and after Pregnancy (part 5)

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Weight Lift with Cans

Next time you’re putting away groceries, build up arm muscles by doing a little weight lifting with each can (milk jugs and water bottles also work well). As you put a can away, flex your arm a couple of times to work arm muscles. Alternate arms for a balanced workout.

Work Out in Line

When you’re standing in line at the grocery store, post office or anywhere else, do some creative exercises. Rise up and down on your toes to work your calves. Spread your feet apart slightly, and do subtle knee lunges to give quadriceps a workout. Clench and relax buttocks muscles. Do some Kegel exercises (see the following page) to strengthen vaginal muscles. Contract stomach muscles. These exercises help you develop and strengthen some of the muscles you’ll use during labor and delivery.

Standing Stretches

If you’re forced to stand in one place for a long time, step forward slightly with one foot. Place all your weight on that foot for a few minutes. If you’re still waiting, do the same exercise for the other foot. Alternate the leg you begin with each time.

It’s probably a good idea to wear some type of support for your abdomen when exercising.

Reaching-Stretching

You probably have to reach for things at home or at the office. When you do, make it an exercise in controlled breathing. Before you stretch, inhale, rise up on your toes and bring both arms up at the same time. When you’re finished, drop back on your heels, and exhale while slowly returning your arms to your sides.

Sitting Quietly

Anytime you’re sitting quietly—at home, at the office, in your car, on a bus or a train—do this breathing exercise to strengthen abdominal muscles. Breathe deeply and contract stomach muscles; hold for a couple of seconds, then exhale slowly. Do this whenever you get the chance.

Bending to Relieve Backache

While standing at the kitchen counter or a counter at work, bend your knees and lean forward from your hips. Hold the position for a few minutes. This exercise is an excellent way to relieve back stress.

Rising from a Chair

Some women find it difficult to get out of a chair gracefully during pregnancy. This exercise helps you maintain your grace and is also beneficial. Use leg muscles to lower yourself into and raise yourself out of a chair. Slide to the front edge of the seat, then push up with your legs to get out of the chair. Use your arms for balance.

Kegel Exercises

Kegel exercises strengthen pelvic muscles. Practicing helps you relax your muscles for delivery. While sitting, contract the lowest muscles of your pelvis as tightly as you can. Tighten muscles higher in the pelvis in stages until you reach the muscles at the top. Count to 10 slowly as you move up the pelvis. Hold briefly, then release slowly in stages, counting to 10 again. Repeat two or three times a day.

You can also do the Kegel exercises by tightening the pelvic muscles first, then tightening the anal muscle. Hold for a few seconds, then release slowly, in reverse order. To see if you’re doing the exercise correctly, briefly stop the flow of urine while you are urinating—the muscles you use to do this are the same muscles you use in the Kegel exercises.

Stretch at least a couple of times a week. Stretching may lower stress levels and help calm you.

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