For decades, pregnant women had been advised to rest and limit their activities. Even if doctors recommend an exercise programme to maintain high energy, smooth pregnancy and a complication-free delivery, most pregnant women may not prefer dancing workouts like Zumba. A high impact dance-based workout, Zumba, interestingly, can be modified to suit the physical condition of pregnant women; and it benefits them greatly too.
Here are some Zumba exercises I have been doing ever since I conceived. Since each pregnancy is unique, consult a doctor and personal trainer before attempting any of these.
As exercise results in the blood flow shifting away from internal organs, including uterus, to give more oxygen to your muscles, lungs and heart, combined with the shift of centre of balance as pregnancy progresses, make sure that activities like swimming, walking or low-impact Zumba do not put you at an additional risk to slip or fall.
Similarly, as exercise causes an increase in body temperature which can affect the baby’s development, be cautious while exercising in hot weather. Ensure that you get plenty of fluids while exercising.
Those with high-risk pregnancy or are at risk of pre-term labour, should ensure that the exercise is closely monitored by a health care provider so that it poses no threat to you or your baby.
Movements in Swiss ball
The Swiss Ball is an underrated gym tool, especially for pregnant women. It provides comfort and support and helps you to stay fit and strong during pregnancy. Seated pelvic tilts are a great way to ease into your do-able Swiss ball pregnancy routine. They help ease backache, especially in the later stages of pregnancy, and mobilise the joints. The exercise Bridge on the Ball really works your gluteal (your bum!) muscles as well as your core muscles.
TRX Movements (Suspension Training)
Thanks to its versatility, the dexterity of TRX is unparalleled. I safely work out throughout my pregnancy period, during which it’s important to maintain and build strength to offset any muscle imbalance happening with the shifting of weight. TRX allows you to continue to build strength in a safe and effective way. It also offers some support with the handles and helps guide you through movements that might otherwise be challenging because of a growing belly, altered balance from hormones or changes in abdominal strength.
Whether you’re walking around the grocery store, working out or just lounging around, stretching is always a treat and can feel heavenly during pregnancy, when your body can really benefit. It helps lengthen the muscles and loosen the entire body making the pregnant woman more comfortable. As the pregnancy progresses, your posture shifts to redistribute the weight of your growing baby belly and breasts, resulting in tightness in the lower back, neck and chest. Stretching can help alleviate pain during pregnancy and improve your range of motion, not to forget the wonders it works for the little one inside.
Movements in Kettle bell
Kettlebells are a resistance training modality that also challenges your stability and balance, two components of training that many people neglect. Kettlebell workouts aren’t just trendy — they’re efficient, offer great physical results and can help achieve major strength gains. If you have never used kettlebells before, pregnancy is absolutely not the time to start. Your body is undergoing major changes, likely to become more fatigued quickly, so it is not the time to learn new, complex movement patterns. If you are used to kettlebell training, it could be a great plan of action during your first and second trimesters and even the third if you are in great shape.
Zumba Rhythm Movements
Personalise your moves. An instructor could suggest modifications to your usual moves, especially to those involving a lot of bending and twisting, which might be hard to perform when your baby bump is on the way and your sense of balance is not in the usual. Check with your doctor first; though they recommend pre-pregnancy workout routines, in some high-risk pregnancies, exercise is considered unsafe.
(The writer is an internationally-certified and licensed Zumba fitness instructor, 23 years old and seven months pregnant)