Swimming and water aerobics may just be the perfect pregnancy workout. Why? In the water you weigh a tenth of what you do on land, so you’ll feel lighter and more limber. A dip in the pool may also help relieve nausea, sciatic pain and puffy ankles — and because baby’s floating along with you, it’s gentle on your loosening joints and ligaments (your body’s natural response to pregnancy hormones).
There’s no easier exercise to fit into your busy schedule than walking…and it’s a workout you can continue to fit in right up until delivery date (and even on D-day if you’re anxious to help the contractions along). What’s more, you don’t need any special equipment or a gym membership to participate — just some good sneakers. If you opt for a hike, be sure to avoid uneven terrain (especially later in pregnancy, when your belly can block your view of that rock in your path), high altitudes and slippery conditions.
Want to go a little faster? Experienced runners can stay on track during pregnancy. Just stick to level terrain (or a treadmill or an elliptical machine) and never overdo it (loose ligaments and joints during pregnancy can make jogging harder on your knees — and make you more prone to injury).
Low-impact aerobics and dance workout classes are a great way to increase your heart rate and get the endorphins flowing if you’re a newbie exerciser. As your abdomen expands, avoid any activities that require careful balance. If you’re an experienced athlete, just be sure to listen to your body and never exercise to the point of exhaustion.
A wonderful way to break a sweat without putting pressure on your ankle and knee joints, indoor cycling lets you pedal at your own pace without the risk of falling. Try transitioning your cardio workouts to a stationary bike, or hop into an indoor cycling class for a more structured ride. (Just make sure your instructor knows you’re expecting, and feel free to sit out sprints and hills if you feel overheated or exhausted at any point.)
If you’re an avid outdoor cycler, talk to your doctor about whether it’s safe to continue bicycling outdoors after getting pregnant (and if, at some point, you should stop). The extra weight of your baby belly can affect your balance, and you don’t want to risk toppling over when baby is on board.