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Pregnancy is not only a time for healthy, previous active women to do exercise, but also a great time to start - as found in a study published in the Journal of American Medicine Association. The authors of the study stated that the percentage of women who actually meet exercise recommendations during pregnancy is “very low,” a fact that is due, in no small part, to their insecurity regarding which activity to take up. The study confirms that moderate aerobic exercise — such as swimming, brisk walking, or indoor cycling — alongside strength training, is beneficial. The key to keeping it safe, is avoiding all activity that is strenuous (i.e. that goes beyond 90% of your maximum heart rate) since this can cause dehydration of reduced circulation to the baby, thus posing a health risk.
Why is Swimming a Good Match for Pregnant Women?
One of the keys to the benefits of swimming, is that it can involve both aerobic and resistance exercise. Aqua aerobics, for instance, uses water to provide resistance to hand and leg movements, thus augmenting the effects of aerobic exercise. The researchers stated that this type of exercise could actually improve specific symptoms. They stated: “Women who engaged in resistance exercise experienced improved wellbeing, relief of pregnancy discomfort (poor posture, fatigue, headache, nausea, insomnia and back pain) and greater sense of control.”
Keeping it Safe
To ensure swimming is beneficial, swim in areas that are known to be safe; better yet, choose a controlled environment such as a swimming pool. You should also avoid hot springs and water that is very warm, as this could potentially cause hyperthermia, which has been linked to miscarriages. Avoid diving and wear non-slip choose to avoid falls. If by any chance you have back or shoulder pain and this is keeping you from heading to the pool, chiropractic care can reduce nerve stress and provide you with musculoskeletal support. You should obtain your doctor’s approval before having an adjustment, however. This is because they should not be undertaken in specific cases - including when vaginal bleeding is present or when there is a risk of placenta previa.
Swimming can Help Mums Manage Obesity
A University of Cambridge study has found that future mothers who are obese can benefit greatly from moderate exercise like swimming, since this type of activity restores key tissues in the body. The result is better management of blood sugar levels and a lower risk of long-term health problems. Swimming affects the communication between molecules and cells within tissue, stimulates the uptake of glucose by fatty tissue and skeletal muscle, aids in the storage and breakdown of fats, and boosts the growth and creation of protein.
If you are pregnant and you love exercise, or even if you’ve never been physically active before, swimming is a fantastic way to stay fit, keep your blood sugar levels down, and help you build vital tissue. Swimming is safe, inexpensive, and fun. To ensure safety, opt for controlled spaces and wear the appropriate gear so that your risk of trips and falls is reduced to zero.
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