If you’re a woman who loves running, bodyweight, and plyometric workouts, you may wonder whether it’s okay to stick with high impact exercise during pregnancy. The truth is, you can but you may not want to.
What exercises are considered high impact?
A high impact exercise is one that puts a lot of quick and firm downward pressure on the body. Think running, jumping, and some types of dancing—exercises where both feet are off the ground at the same time.
What are the benefits of high impact exercise during pregnancy?
There are lots of reasons to do high impact exercise during pregnancy. “High impact, just like any other cardiovascular exercise, improves mom’s circulation and therefore, the nutrient supply to the baby,” explains Birgitta Lauren of Expecting Fitness, certified expert in pre- and postnatal fitness and nutritional services. “This helps babies develop better and it boosts mom‘s mood, energy, pulmonary ability, sleep ability, and her own nutrient absorption. This reduces chances of early delivery, preeclampsia, diabetes, aches, pains, birth defects, and depression.” That said, high impact exercise isn’t for everyone.
If high-impact exercise isn’t for you, no worries, you can still use Aaptiv. We offer low-impact cardio classes, along with restorative yoga flows and anxiety-relieving meditations.
What should I consider before trying high impact exercise during pregnancy?
Any prenatal exercise plan should be cleared with your doctor before you start. There are certain pregnancy complications and conditions that may cause a doctor to limit a pregnant woman’s activity for her and/or her baby’s safety.
Exercise experience and ability.
In general, doctors and fitness experts advise against doing high impact exercise during pregnancy if you’re not already accustomed to it. But if you’re an experienced runner or tennis player (for example), it’s usually considered okay to continue to do the high-impact exercise you’re used to.
And, if you haven’t been exercising at all, it’s okay to start low impact exercise such as walking and prenatal yoga during pregnancy. Just start slowly, and gradually work exercise into your routine.
Looking for pre-natal, low-impact workouts? Aaptiv’s got you covered.
“A very sensitive mom or a mom very in tune with her mind and body may feel uncomfortable in the first trimester doing high impact exercises as she feels the changes in her body extremely well,” says Lauren.
No mom-to-be should do exercises that make her uncomfortable during pregnancy. Pain or discomfort varies from woman to woman but if you can’t modify the exercise to make it feel good, that’s a sign you should switch to something else.
Certain high-intensity workouts come with falling or injury risk that just isn’t worth taking. Because of a mother’s shifting ability to stay balanced, kickboxing, downhill skiing, and contact sports are generally no-gos.
Don’t confuse intensity with impact. While you might want to be a little softer on your joints, you should be working out at a moderate level to reap the health benefits of your workout. But don’t go so intense that you become overexerted, overheated, or dehydrated.
How do I modify high impact workouts?
As pregnancy progresses, your body becomes heavier and your belly grows bigger. Your center of gravity will change, and your joints will become laxer. So, your workouts will have to change accordingly.
“In the third trimester, most moms that do high-impact exercise through pregnancy will quit as the belly gets too large and she’s just uncomfortable with the added weight bouncing,” says Lauren.” Most moms just know when it’s time to slow things down or to change how they exercise. The most obvious modification with running is slowing the speed or lowering the incline.”
Aaptiv has maternity-safe workouts that moms to be can take in their third trimester.
If your high impact workout still doesn’t feel right after lowering the intensity or the duration, swap it. Try something low-impact, such as walking, indoor cycling, or swimming.
Some women compete in marathons at nine months pregnant. Some women switch from running to walking pretty early on. It’s a personal choice you should make based on how you feel, your health, your experience, and your doctor’s guidance.