Guest Blogger, Kaitlin Gardner from An Apple Per Day, has written an excellent article on exercise and aqua aerobics during pregnancy! Enjoy!
3 Benefits of Aqua Aerobics During Pregnancy
I learned a lot with my first pregnancy, which is precisely why I handled my second pregnancy a little differently: namely, I moved. In fact, I kept moving for the entire pregnancy and guess what happened? I was able to shed the pregnancy weight significantly faster after my second baby than after my first one. Why? I exercised throughout my entire second pregnancy. Now, I didn’t run marathons (although some have done this!), and I didn’t lift weights. I simply had fun—in the pool!
Don’t get the wrong idea: aqua aerobics is not just for water babies, or people who have enjoyed a lifetime affinity for the water. It’s easy enough that anyone can do it, and you don’t even need to know how to swim! Staying in the shallow end gives you plenty of choices for engaging exercises that challenge muscles as much or as little as you would like to. Check out the many ways to approach aqua aerobics here:
● My Ultimate Guide to Aqua Aerobics
● Water Aerobics and Water Fitness Exercises
● Water Aerobics During Pregnancy
Let me back up a little. During my first pregnancy, I probably behaved like many first-time moms: I was careful. I also didn’t ask enough questions. If I had, I would have found out that exercising during pregnancy is not only possible, it’s encouraged! I know the title of this article is “3 Benefits of Aqua Aerobics During Pregnancy,” but there are so many more! Here are just a few, and then I’ll expand on a few of them.
Studies show that regular exercise during pregnancy has multitude of benefits, including:
● Keeping weight under control
● Reducing the chances of gestational diabetes
● Reducing tension and stress
● Reducing an expectant mom’s blood pressure
● Improving mood
● Improving sleep
Let’s face it: At the end of the day, pregnant or not, you must burn calories to maintain a healthy weight. A 130-lb. person will burn about 470 calories per hour aqua jogging. Make your calories count and give the baby what it needs by making healthy choices: lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, plenty of lean protein (beans, chicken, and turkey) and complex carbohydrates such as brown rice and whole grains. Keep processed foods and sugar to an absolute minimum in order to give your body the best reward it can receive from aqua aerobics.
Aqua aerobics feels good. Whether it’s winter and you are easing yourself into a heated outdoor or indoor pool, or it’s summer, and the cool water is a welcome relief from the heat, aqua aerobics takes place in a soothing environment. With water’s natural buoyancy properties, you’ll feel the weight literally lifted away. And who wouldn’t like to feel “light as a feather” when she is pregnant?
Next to proper nutrition, or perhaps even more important when you are pregnant, is getting enough sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation, as little as 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous activity can provide a 65% increase in sleep quality. When you exercise during the day, and give yourself the whole-body workout that aqua aerobics provides, your muscles will have been challenged from head to toe—which means they will need sleep as much as you do.
Not only did I feel better during my second pregnancy, according to my friends and family, I looked better! More sleep at night helped me have a refreshed look in the morning. The outdoor activity kept my skin color glowing. My blood pressure remained normal and my weight gain stayed right within the range that my doctor wanted me to target.
Kaitlin Gardner started An Apple Per Day to explore her passion for a green living lifestyle, and healthy family living. She and her husband have just moved to rural Pennsylvania, where they enjoy exploring the countryside and discovering interesting and out of the way places. She is also learning how to paint with watercolors.