Are you looking for an effective exercise regime to accommodate your growing baby bump? Look no further, Aquatic exercise is one of the safest, most efficient forms of exercises out there! Working out in the water provides a natural form of resistance that challenges your muscles, whilst supporting you at the same time.
In addition to working to improve your strength, mobility, endurance and overall fitness, aquatic exercise can also help to relieve some of the common pregnancy concerns, such as swollen feet and aching joints. The pool allows you to move about and challenge yourself without worrying about the risk of injury.
Many studies have proven that woman who participate in aquatic exercise during pregnancy reported significantly less physical discomfort, improved mobility and improved body image compared to those that did not work out in the water (Sheila A Smith & Yvonne Michel, A study on the effects of Aquatic exercise on discomforts of pregnancy)
Here are 10 reasons why expecting mothers should get involved in aquatic exercise:
- Delivery Benefits: Maintaining a good level of fitness helps ensure you are prepared for the physical demands of childbirth. It has been reported that those who exercise often have easier, less painful labor. Aquatic exercise is something you can do at all stages of your pregnancy allowing you to maintain a consistent routine.
- Core Strength, Stability, Posture: Working out in water provides resistance to the abdominal and lower back muscles which helps maintain correct posture. Aquatic exercise better prepares your abdominals for how they are used in real life compared to land-based exercise. Water allows a larger variety of isolation exercises for the abdominal muscles because the pregnant body can move in ways not possible on land.
- Greater flexibility and balance: Providing assistance for upper and lower body motions, buoyancy is able to help enhance flexibility of tight and imbalanced muscle groups. This allows improved range of motion with less discomfort than if attempted on land.
- Low Impact: Exercising in the water significantly reduces the stress on your joints, bones, and muscles because of waters unloading property of buoyancy. This is a very safe and effective way to exercise for those who are pregnant as they can control the level at which they work.
- Reduced Swelling: Hydrostatic pressure helps reduce swelling. Research has shown that just being in the water can reduce swelling as effectively as drugs. One study found water aerobics had diuretic and edema-relieving effects similar to static immersion. For some women who develop edema of pregnancy, Aquatic fitness may be a good option for relieving this condition.
- Improved Circulation: Varicose veins and hemorrhoids develop as a result of venous pressure; exercise in the water has been shown to reduce this venous pressure. The combination of water pressure and movement of the muscles helps return blood from the veins in the lower extremities. The hydrostatic force of water also produces an increase of uterine blood flow that is essential to grow a healthy baby and placenta.
- Cooling: Pregnant women have an elevated core temperature and must be cautious about overheating themselves and the fetus during exercise, especially during the first trimester. Water that is an appropriate temperature (80- 85 degrees F) help cool the body effectively during exercise.
- Increased Metabolism: An appropriate diet during pregnancy is important for the mother’s health and for proper prenatal development. Since aquatic fitness allows you to safely remain active at all times throughout your pregnancy, it is easier to ensure your weight gain is "all baby" (baby, placenta, and amniotic fluid.) Not only are you more comfortable during your pregnancy, if you exercise regularly it makes it easier to regain your original figure after delivery!
- Eases Gastrointestinal Problems: Movement with gravity aids digestive system function which sometimes becomes hindered by the presence of a fetus.
- Social: Last but not least, aquatic exercise is a great way to help you get out of the house and meet other expecting Mums with similar interests and hobbies.