When it comes to fitness, men and women often approach it in much the same way – combining cardiovascular exercise with weight training and core work. For men, who often wish to build more muscle than their female counterparts, weight training may take a more prevalent role in their fitness routine. For women, who often wish to burn fat and create lean muscle, core work such as Pilates or yoga may take a front seat. But the one way that women’s fitness differs from men’s fitness is the accommodation for pregnancy during a workout.
There are plenty of women who choose to continue their exercise regime after discovering they are pregnant. And while exercise during a healthy pregnancy is allowed – and encouraged – it should be modified to allow for the changes happening in the woman’s body. Women’s fitness in this regard should be measured and thoughtful and always conducted under a doctor’s care.
First and foremost, you should not begin an exercise regime during pregnancy if you have not already been active. It is one thing to continue with a routine that you have been doing up until now but to jump into something with which you’re not familiar – at this vulnerable time – is not advisable. If you are normally a sedentary person – but wish to incorporate some physical fitness into your life during your pregnancy – you may want to begin with a walking regime. Walking can get your heart pumping and you can do it at your own pace – without putting undue stress on your joints.
For those who have been active in women’s fitness up until this point, and are having a healthy pregnancy, you can safely continue your exercise regime with a few moderations. Work with your doctor at all times to ensure that you are in good enough health to continue this program and to help you determine what is enough – or too much – for your body.
Doctors will generally recommend low-impact exercise during pregnancy; in addition to walking, there is swimming, and stretching exercises such as Pilates or modified yoga. The lifting of heavy weights is generally not advisable during pregnancy; nor is high impact exercise that puts stress on joints, abdominal muscles, and back muscles.
Ultimately, women’s fitness during pregnancy is about determining what is beneficial to your lifestyle at this particular time to maximize your physical and emotional health, reduce stress, and prepare for healthy pregnancy and delivery.