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 equipment. 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.