And finally – exercise. I don’t know why I’ve been putting it off for so long, I guess I’ve been worrying that it needs to be all serious because we’re talking about exercise during pregnancy but everything I have read about it has said it is really good for us and baby bean. I’m not sure if Beanie was enjoying it but today I was on the treadmill (mainly walking but I did break into a bit of a jog), and I’m sure I felt the baby join in for a little while – I can’t say it was all that comfortable but it amused me to think of it in there with a sweatband on working out.
When you google exercise during pregnancy it mostly points to sites that tell you to do fairly lame back exercises and to spend the rest of you day doing your pelvic floor. However, with a baby on the way, in under 6 months time I’m going to be lugging bags, babies, carries and more all over the place, so I want to be as fit as I can be. One of the key areas I’m focusing on is my arms, not least because I’m going to be at my most pregnant in the middle of summer and if everything else on me is going to be a lot bigger, I at least want arms like Madonna.
I have learnt all my arm exercises from Davina – she has a bunch of exercise DVDs, a handful of which have arm specific sections with weights. My favourite of her DVDs at the moment is Davina – Body Buff. The arm section is pretty good (and the leg bit is hardcore! I really like it but I have to tone it down a bit). If you can’t be arsed to get a DVD, here are my favourite arm exercises (do 12-15 reps of each exercise and do the whole set twice – repeat 3 times a week):
- Bicep curl – stand with feet hip-width apart (repeat for all exercises), and keeping your arms (from shoulder to elbow) fixed by your sides curl your hands up to your shoulders then return to starting position. If you want to increase the intensity on each arm, do alternate arms with a heavier weight.
- Should press – raise your hands to shoulder height, then extend your hands above the head and return to shoulder level.
- Upright row – start with your hands by your sides then raise them up to chest height with your elbows pointing out to the side in opposite directions, as if rowing.
- Lateral raises – start with you hands by your side again, keeping your arms straight and with the little finger leading, raise your arms laterally (to the side) up to should level and return.
- Triceps extensions – raise you arms above your head and bend your elbows so your hands are behind your head. Then, keeping your elbows pinned by your ears, extend your hands above your head then slowly return to starting position.
- Triceps kickbacks – with soft knees, bend forward at the hips about 45 degrees. Start with your arms in a bicep curl, keep your elbows fixed by your sides and extend your arms behind you so your arms are parallel to the ground.
I would experiment with weights, starting with 1kg and the upping the anti to 3-5kg. You won’t get hugely muscly arms because you’ll not be bulking up on protein (I assume). Once you get bored of these there are loads more, which can specifically target your personal favourite (or they will be) areas.
If you’re worried about exercising during pregnancy, speak to your midwife FIRST. However, the main rules are:
- Don’t do anything you haven’t tried before (unless it is specifically postnatal)
- Listen to your body and stop if you are uncomfortable. In early pregnancy, some days I would get on the bike and feel like a million dollars, then the very next time I’d feel like I had sausages for legs.
- Don’t do crunches (because they squish your stomach) but you can still do stomach exercises – there are some great stand up exercises that can be done, along with things like the plank.