Congratulations on your pregnancy! We truly believe that active mums raise active kids and a fit pregnancy is the best starting point!
Exercise during pregnancy will help you through all sorts of pregnancy niggles such as backache, varicose veins, heartburn and tiredness (yes, truly!). It will encourage you to have a better night's sleep and make you feel more cheery. Pregnancy exercise generally makes the birth process easier and speeds up recovery afterwards - and it will help you to manage a healthy weight gain during pregnancy. There are so many good reasons to enjoy a fit pregnancy and fit balls are a great way to stay active right through to the day you give birth!
A fit ball will work your core without you having to do 'sit up' type exercises; you can use it instead of a chair when you're watching television AND you can incorporate it into your birth plan - toddlers think they're great fun to play with too! Whether you choose to call it a fit ball, a Swiss ball, a pregnancy exercise ball or a birth ball we're talking the same thing - a ball that you can use as an essential element of your pregnancy exercise routine.
You need to choose a ball that's the right size for you. When you sit on it with your feet flat on the floor your knees should be in a comfortable right angle with your thighs parallel to the floor. Your pelvis, shoulders and head should be vertical. But it's not just about the size, you do need to make sure your fitness ball is properly inflated - if it squashes down too much when you sit on it your exercises won't be so effective.
Ball ready? Wearing something comfortable? When you're pregnant it's worth choosing exercise clothes that support your bump and include moisture wicking to keep you cool when you work out.
Before you get started, spend a few minutes warming up. A good warm up is even more important when you're pregnant and will gradually increase your heart rate, increase circulation to your muscles, ligaments and tendons, raise your temperature and reduce the risk of injury. It will also help prepare you mentally and get you in the right zone for exercise.
Warmed up and ready to go? Then check out these exercises to work your arms, legs and core.
Work your arms!
This will also work your core, biceps, triceps and shoulders! Use 2 3kg weights.
- 12-15 bicep curls bringing the weights from you're your sides towards your chest
- 12-15 tricep kickbacks starting with your arms close to your body at 90 degrees and then straighten them out behind you
- 12-15 overhead presses starting with weights on your shoulders lift straight above your head
Do two sets and increase the number of repetitions for a stronger workout.
Work your abs and upper back!
Try adding 10 normal ab squeezes at the end to make sure you have really worked your deep core muscles. Use two 1kg weights for this one.
- Sit upright on the fit ball, with your shoulders back and feet flat on the floor.
- Breathe in deeply and let your chest expand. Then, as you exhale, draw your belly button in firmly to engage your core muscles. The rest of your body should be still. Hold this position, making sure you can breathe comfortably. Hold a light weight in each hand, with your arms out in front of you at head height. Keep your shoulders back.
- Slowly bring your arms in towards you, squeezing your shoulder blades together, bringing the weights to either side of your chest.
- Slowly return your arms to the starting position. Once you have completed your back squeeze repetitions release your abs.
Repeat 15-20 times and do two sets.
Work your deep tummy muscles and your pelvis.
Don't worry about drawing in your tummy muscles; it won't affect your baby.
- Sit upright on the exercise ball, with your shoulders back and feet flat on the floor.
- Breathe in deeply and let your chest expand. Then, as you exhale, draw your belly button in so that you feel like you are wearing a tight corset (engaging your core muscles).
- Without moving your feet, tilt your pelvis forward and upward.
- Hold for a couple seconds and return to start position.
Repeat 15-20 times and do two sets.
For more fitball and pregnancy exercises visit the fit pregnancy pages on fittamamma.com