Don't let pregnancy throw you out of shape!
Fitness trainer Brinda Sapat has these basic workouts for you! (Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com)
Pregnancy is one of the most exciting times in life and something to be thoroughly relished!
It is a time to focus on yourself and do all the good healthy things.
Got niggling aches and pains, stiffness, fatigue, or just want to pamper yourself?
Here are some feel-super-good exercises just for you!
They will strengthen and stretch at the same time.
Do these exercises once a day or more often if you feel like!
(But please also consult your doctor before you try any of them!)
Begin with a walk for 20-30 minutes at a medium pace.
Wear well-cushioned walking shoes and ensure to walk on even surface.
This will help loosen up your body, making you feel good AND burn some calories which is going to make you feel really good!
As soon as you are done and while the body is warm, do the following exercises:
(Don't forget a bottle of cool water with a twist of lemon handy to sip on!)
1. Platypus walk
This exercise will release your lower back and strengthen your legs.
Stand with your legs wide apart and bend at the knees.
Make sure the knees stay in line with the ankles and don't bend forwards or over the toes.
Place your hands behind your head. Keeping the knees bent take large and wide strides walking forwards for eight steps and then backwards for eight.
Repeat this 2-4 times.
Focus on your thigh muscles working and keep the abdominals help in tight to support the back.
Modification: if you feel too much stress in your back, place your hands on your waist.
2. Left and Right
This one is good for the back and abs and it opens up the inner thigh.
Stand on your right leg and lift your left knee up till your thigh is parallel to the floor.
Bend your elbows at your waist holing your forearms parallel to the floor as if you were holding a tray.
Now twist your arms and upper body to the right while you take your left knee out the left as far as possible.
All the while maintain a stable pelvis.
Come back to centre and repeat for a total of 12-16 reps and then do the same on the opposite side.
3. Open and close
Stand with your feet hip distance apart.
Keep your pelvis in neutral making sure your back isn't arched.
Begin with your arms straight out in front of you and then open your arms wide out to the side pushing them back by squeezing the upper back and back of the shoulder.
You should open up far enough to feel a stretch in the chest.
Then take the arms back to the start position.
Do 12-16 reps at a medium but controlled pace.
Do not swing them back and forth.
This will help tighten the front of the hip, taking the load away from your lower back.
Stand with your feet hip distance apart and raise your right knee to the thigh so it is parallel to the floor.
Hold for two seconds and then lower.
Maintain a tall, straight back.
Do 12-16 reps; then repeat with the left leg.
5. Side bends
Stretch and strengthen your waist.
Stand with your feet about three feet wide apart.
Bring your right arm up to your ear and reach over to the left by bending sideways at your waist.
Come up again keeping the arm raised.
If you feel too much stress in the back, keep your arm by your side instead of overhead.
Do 12 reps on one side; then switch.
6. Toes point and flex and massage
Don't you just love to pamper those tired feet?
Sit reclined on the floor with your legs extended.
Point your toes and then flex them. Do this 8-10 times.
If you are prone to feet cramps, point your toes very gently or go just half the way.
If you feel a cramp coming in, immediately flex the foot.
(This is something to keep in mind at all times, even when you are not exercising).
Next, sit cross-legged with your right foot over the left and using both your thumbs begin to massage the big toe, making circles, then proceed to the other toes, base of the toes, ball of the foot, then into the arch and move with that same motion all the way till you reach the heel.
Repeat with the other foot.
Dip your feet in a bath of cool water to finish off!
These are just a few basic exercises. If you are a fitness freak and need to amp it up, ask your doctor or a prenatal fitness trainer to chart out a programme for you.
Photograph: Tatiana Vdb/Creative Commons
Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com