Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Safe Swimming Exercises While Pregnant {guest post by Kaitlin Gardner}

While I'm at home snuggling my new baby boy (post coming soon!!) I have a few great guest posts from some lovely, lovely ladies!  Kaitlin has guest posted before about swim lessons for your child- if you haven't seen it, check it out here.  So, she is here today to talk about swimming again but while pregnant!  Any mamas to be, this is for you! Thanks Kaitlin for being here on the blog :)

4 Safe Swimming Exercises While Pregnant

Being pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t stay (or even get) fit; it means that you have to be smart about your exercise choices because, as you know, you’re not only eating for two, you’re staying healthy and exercising for two! One of the best all around fitness activities for any age is swimming, and it’s also one of the best forms of exercise for people who are rehabilitating from an injury or pregnant. Here are just a few resources that will help illustrate the universal benefits of swimming

Swimming: All the Benefits, None of the Bummers
The reason why swimming is such an all-around great form of exercise is because of water; specifically, water’s buoyancy, and protection from the forces of gravity. Because of this, your muscles (including your heart) get a workout, but your joints, tendons and ligaments don’t take a pounding like they do on the sidewalk, track, court or field. The long and short of it is that you can protect vulnerable areas of the body like joints, and still build muscle and improve cardiovascular fitness by swimming and/or exercising in the water.

Four Swimming Exercises for a Fitter Pregnancy
The following exercises may be performed with or without ankle weights or hand held water dumbbells (specifically designed for water use and fabricated with materials that won’t break down through exposure to sun and pool chemicals). Why weights? If you are in fairly good shape physically, and were active and working out prior to becoming pregnant, using weights will add that extra challenge to your workout that may increase muscle mass and tone. If you are just easing into a fitness program now that you are pregnant, work toward the goal of using weights as you become more fit.

Note: Begin with five or ten laps for each of the exercises listed below and slowly build up to more. Remember, it’s not a race, and it’s not about the number of laps, necessarily; when you feel like you’ve had enough, stop. Every other swim session you can add a lap so that you are steadily making progress and becoming more fit.

1. Basic Freestyle
This universally known stroke is perfect for a total body workout. Especially ideal for the first two trimesters, before substantial abdominal growth occurs, the freestyle will get your heart pumping and the larger muscles of you upper and lower bodies moving. There’s no need to do a fancy kick-turn at the end of each lap. Glide to the end, turn, and go back.

2. Breast Stroke
Another great whole-body swim stroke, the breast stroke works upper and lower body large and small muscle groups. Also a great stroke if you would rather not put your entire head under water. Tip: For a little more challenge, wear webbed water gloves to provide a little extra resistance as you move your hands and arms through the water.

3. Treading Water
While this isn’t technically a swim stroke, treading water is a fantastic water exercise that works muscles, but especially provides a cardiovascular workout. Set a timer at the edge of the pool and see how long you can tread without resting, but don’t overdo it. Many people find treading water even more relaxing that swimming, because there is no need to turn at the end of a lap. Just find something relaxing to gaze at and you’ve got a meditation session and water workout in one!

4. Kickboarding
If you’re looking for a lower body exercise specifically, especially one that will be possible as your belly grows, kickboarding is perfect. Just hang on to the board close to your chest, or for a slightly more challenging shoulder workout, move the board a foot away from your body and then kick your way to fitness!

Kaitlin Gardner started An Apple Per Day to explore her passion for a green living lifestyle, and healthy family living. She and her husband have just moved to rural Pennsylvania, where they enjoy exploring the countryside and discovering interesting and out of the way places. She is also learning how to paint with watercolors.

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