Exercise is one of the best things that you can do for your body and your mind. Regular physical activity can improve your mood, boost your energy, improve your sleep, and benefit your overall health. It can be challenging to focus on the benefits of exercise, though, when you are pregnant. Your back hurts, and your feet are swollen. You might be experiencing nausea and low energy. Exercising … Well, it’s hard to get motivated.
However, exercise is just as beneficial for women when they are pregnant as it is when they are not. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists guidelines state that healthy women should exercise for at least 20 minutes a day most days of the week. Women should talk to their doctors to make sure that exercise is safe for their pregnancy.
But what is the best exercise for pregnant women? The goal of working out during pregnancy is to get the blood flowing, stay strong, and reduce the risk of complications such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Women can walk, jog, run, go to aerobics class, or find a way to move her body in a positive way.
Some women, though, find land-based exercise to be uncomfortable during pregnancy. Water aerobics takes the stress off the joints — including that pesky low back — while helping to remove swelling. No longer are pregnant women feeling “heavy” as they move but light and buoyant as they enjoy a fun, effective water workout.
Fitting in a water aerobics class can be tough, though, especially when you aren’t sure how you are going to feel. Or, the pool schedule might conflict with work and family obligations.
A swim spa by Master Spas makes water aerobics during pregnancy convenient and comfortable. You can hop in the water for an easy 20-minute session or spend a little bit longer, if you are having a good day. Plus, you can use the jets to target the pain in your lower back so you get out of the water feeling your best.
Water exercise in pregnancy
Research shows that women who exercise in the water while pregnant feel better — not just physically but how they look. The water allows them to move with less discomfort while improving overall mobility.
Most pregnant women are going to gravitate toward two types of water exercise — swimming and aqua aerobics. Both types of exercise are beneficial and can be done in a swim spa.
Swimming while pregnant
“I loved swimming in the Master Spas while I was pregnant,” says three-time IRONAMN World Champion Mirinda Carfrae, who has an H2X Challenger swim spa.
While her job as a professional athlete includes a rigorous schedule of swimming, biking, and running, swimming felt good even during the later stages of her pregnancy. It was also a great way to maintain her cardiovascular fitness — something many pregnant women can relate to.
Among the benefits of swimming while pregnant, Carfrae found that using the swim spa helped her relieve some of the cramps and stress on my body from carrying the extra weight. It also helped alleviate the lower back pain and helped her sleep better during the later stages of pregnancy.
But you don’t have to train like a triathlete to benefit from swimming during pregnancy, nor do you have to swim continuously. Pregnant women can swim a variety of strokes, including front crawl, breaststroke, backstroke, and side stroke. Kicking drills using a kickboard can provide extra buoyancy.
Swimming recruits major muscle groups, both arms and legs, without added stress. This makes it one of the best exercises for pregnant women.
Water aerobics during pregnancy
Water aerobics is a popular way to exercise because it’s fun and effective. It’s gentle on your joints and gives you the feeling of weightlessness.
Another factor to consider is water’s natural properties. In addition to the buoyancy, water has 12 times the resistance as air so even simple moves mimic strength-training moves on land.
A benefit of water aerobics is that being in the water can also alleviate any swelling.
Some pools and fitness facilities offer water aerobics classes designed for pregnant women. However, you can design your own routine for the swim spa.
Water aerobics routines for pregnancy can include pool noodles, aquatic dumbbells, and kickboards. However, many exercises do not require equipment. Water walking, marching in place, and scissor kicks while holding onto the side of the spa. You can also do leg lifts, leg extensions, and step ups.
If you are exercising in your swim spa while pregnant, it’s important to keep the water temperature below 90 degrees. When the water temperature is too warm, you can overheat and become dehydrated.
Swim spa water exercise routine
Whether you are expecting, post-partum, or just want to try a water exercise routine, these moves will help you improve your overall fitness. Water exercise in a swim spa can be fun and safe for expectant moms.
Rows. In a split stance, hold a pair of aquatic dumbbells in front of you. Squeeze your arms back in a rowing motion, keeping your elbows tucked into your sides. Use both arms equally. Repeat.
Plowing with a kickboard. Stand in a comfortable stance and hold a kickboard in front of you. At the start of the exercise, the kickboard is close to your chest and elbows at your side. As you walk forward, push the kickboard out and bring it back to the start.
Walking backward. If you are in a Master Spas swim spa, face the therapy seats. Stand tall and push your shoulders back. Walk backward toward the swim jets. For extra resistance, you can turn on the swim system.
Water walking. Stand with good posture and walk from one side of the swim spa to the other. Be mindful to keep your step length equal and use opposite arm/leg motion.
Lateral steps. Face either long side of the swim spa. Take side steps, opening and closing arms and legs at same time. Try to take “long” steps, a little wider than shoulder width. For an added challenge, you can turn on the swim jets. Repeat on the opposite side.
Lateral leg lifts. Stand facing the wall of the swim spa and hold on for support. Lift one leg to the side and slowly lower down. Aim for 12 to 15 repetitions per side.
To learn more about Master Spas swim spas, find your local retailer.