Water Exercise and Pregnancy
|October 30, 2013||Posted by The Fit Scoop under Uncategorized|
Since I’ve been swimming quite a bit in my third trimester, I thought it was a good time to discuss pregnancy and water exercise!
I took up swimming several years ago as a way to cross-train while injured and ended up keeping it up when I began doing triathlons. I took a break from swimming for the year prior to becoming pregnant in order to focus just on running. This return to swimming during pregnancy has reminded me how much I enjoy it. I’m very grateful to have it to fall back on during injury and pregnancy.
Water exercise during pregnancy is an excellent way to maintain cardiovascular fitness. Some additional benefits of water exercise during pregnancy are:
- Reduced impact – exercising in water up to your waist reduces your body weight by 50% and exercising in deep water up to your neck makes you nearly weightless. I love the moment when I first get into the pool and feel the instant relief that comes from not feeling my belly weighing me down.
- Support for better balance and movement – you can’t fall in the water!
- Reduction in swelling – hydrostatic pressure increases venous circulation and helps to reduce edema. Swelling is very common at the end of pregnancy so anything to help keep my ankles looking like ankles (and not cankles) is excellent in my book!
- Maintain intensity – when high-intensity land exercises like running become too uncomfortable and you either have to slow down or stop, you can switch to exercising in the water instead and still get in some high-intensity workouts
If you are interested in taking up swimming as an adult, I encourage you to not be intimidated and to set up a lesson or two to help you get started. You don’t have to be a good swimmer to get a good workout in the water! Though swimming is probably the most common form of water exercise, you can still get a great workout in the pool even if you are not a swimmer. Other forms of water exercise include water aerobics, water zumba, and water running (shallow or deep water). I’ve even heard of water pilates and aqua kickboxing. I’ve been sticking exclusively with swimming, though if my gym’s pool had a deep end I would probably also do deep water running as well.
A few things to keep in mind when pregnant and exercising in the water:
- Avoid exercising in water that is over 90 degrees. Also no hot tubs!
- Drink water during your workout. You may not realize you are sweating because you are immersed in water. Drink plenty of water to make sure you don’t become dehydrated.
- Avoid performing any hypoxic swimming. (This is more for serious swimmers) Hypoxic swimming is a training technique that involves making do with less oxygen by taking fewer breaths than normal. Save this type of training for when you aren’t sharing oxygen with your baby.
- Flip turns are OK during pregnancy, though they may become too uncomfortable in the later stages of pregnancy when your belly is large.
If you are looking for a swim workout click here.
If you are a non-swimmer looking for some water exercise ideas click here.