Benefits of Practising Pilates During Pregnancy
One exercise that is known for being beneficial during pregnancy is Pilates. Pilates is very adaptable and is considered to be a fantastic exercise regime during pregnancy as it trains your body to be strong and flexible. By focusing on your core strength the movements and positions work with your body to tone your back, stomach and pelvic floor muscles. These exercises help to support a more comfortable pregnancy and delivery as this core area is the area of your body that will experience the most physical change. The gentle and focused movements improve posture and strengthen your muscles, firming up your abs and back without placing any strain on your joints. Whilst enhancing awareness of your own body, deep breathing and relaxation techniques are also beneficial to your emotional state.
As your baby grows bigger your stomach and pelvic floor muscles are put under increasing strain. This can in turn lead to pain across your back and pelvis, particularly as your baby moves lower down. The aim of Pilates is to develop a stable core, which is further strengthened through a series of controlled movements which are carried out without putting any strain on your body. Pilates can also improve your flexibility and by improving your posture through the strengthening exercises this will ease any back pain and improve circulation which should hopefully help limit any swelling. By improving circulation you are also enabling more oxygen to get through to the womb, potentially making labour less distressing for your baby.
Pilates may remind you of yoga as it focuses on body position, breathing techniques and balance, but it is also more dynamic than yoga and the movements are less repetitive and more precise.
Usually most Pilates exercises are performed on either your back or your stomach so it is important that you try to attend a prenatal Pilates class. As the benefits of practising Pilates during pregnancy are now well known, there is a greater choice available in classes across the country, and you should be able to find a class with a professional instructor within a few miles of home. If there are no specialist pregnancy Pilates classes and you still wish to take up the exercise, speak to your local gym as they usually hold Pilates classes and they may be happy for you to join the class, as long as the instructor can provide some pregnancy-specific exercises.
Whilst there are countless exercise dvds on offer, if you have never attended a Pilates class before it is recommended that you do so rather than go straight to a DVD as you will then be shown the correct way to hold your movements by a professional instructor to maximise any benefits. Another key thing to remember is that when exercising your body loses more fluid so you should ensure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Written by Cat Scrivens
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