I’ve spent a good part of my exercise life running. Well, up until 14 weeks ago when my midwife looked at me and said, “Stop running until you’re out of the first trimester.”
Having suffered a miscarriage with our first pregnancy earlier this year, she was concerned that my long distance runs could be affecting my weight, thus possibly affecting my hormones and she didn’t want me to risk another loss. So run I didn’t.
Which is all just a super long way to say that in the mean time, I’ve had to find low-impact exercises to get me by. It was this search that led me to a local fitness center that offers pre-natal classes in water aerobics and yoga.
I know, I know, water aerobics. The first thing I think of when I hear those two words are squishy old ladies in their skirted swimsuits bobbing around in the deep end like floral covered buoys. Not exactly the low-impact challenge I was thinking of but I figured, “Why not?” and handed over my money.
And wouldn’t you know, I love it. Not only does exercise in the water provide buoyancy and support for the body, making it less likely for the muscle, bone and joint to get injured (Hello pregnancy loose joint clumsiness!) but it also supports 80% of your weight causing less strain on joints, back and torso when compared to land exercise.
Water aerobics also boasts such benefits as quick muscular endurance due to the high density of water. I’m going to get scientific here but bear with me. The high density of water, as compared to air, leads to increased resistance and helps to build muscular endurance and tone the entire body. So, those who participate in water exercise tend to get quicker results that those who exercise on land.
If those two reasons aren’t enough to encourage you to take a dip, water exercise can also improve your flexibility, your cardiovascular conditioning and help keep you cool, because who really wants to be out pounding the pavement in the middle of summer? I’m sweaty just thinking about it. Or maybe it’s all of these hormones. I can’t tell the difference anymore.
While you should always consult your physician before beginning a new fitness regime, water aerobics is great for the general exercising public. There’s also little investment to get started with aquatic fitness. Check with fitness centers near you who offer water aerobics and you may be surprised that you don’t always have to join the gym to participate! I pay a much reduced monthly fee for the pre-natal classes and can even hang around after class and take advantage of the other gym amenities like their outdoor pool, the indoor track etc. Your facility should provide flotation belts and pool weights that can be used during certain exercises for added resistance. All you need is to suit up and get ready to swim!
Pregnant lady tidbit:
Just in case you’re still stuck in the old lady scenario, if you are expecting, recent studies have shown that women who participate in water aerobics during their pre-natal months, actually perceive less pain during labor than those who do not participate. If that’s not reason enough to sign up, I don’t know what is!