I have used the excuse before that I don’t have time for the gym. That I don’t have time for anything and would rather use my free time for my son, but since I gained so much weight during my last pregnancy, I knew I had to make exercise a priority this time around. So I did. What I do a couple of times a week (or sometimes daily) is nothing groundbreaking–and by no means, a super quality fitness routine. But it’s something, and for people trying to even START a good workout rhythm, these are easy things to do (even if you’re home with your kids all day).
You can look online for exercises that work for you. But I do a variety of arm exercises where I lift the weights above my head, out in front of my chest, lower movements so the inside of my palms are facing me when I’m holding the weights, and kettle bell positions where I cross the weights, put them over my head then swing them underneath my legs and bring them back up.
💛Reason to love: I can easily tone my chest, back and arms with this and when I can eliminate back fat, I feel better about my overall image because I look less pudgy (especially now that I’m pregnant)
Frequency: 3 or more reps of any of these exercises (or mixture of exercises) daily or 4x a week. I do these before bed when my child is already asleep and I won’t have to worry about accidentally clocking him in the face (as has happened with my dogs) if he walks in my room
These are the bomb. They get your blood flowing and help minimize cellulite or other lingering fat around your thighs and legs. I know they say you can’t target areas but some days I do feel like my waist is slimmer after doing lots and lots (about 100 a day) of squats.
There is no special technique here other than to do it right. Make sure you’re low enough and that your form is right. The image above shows a safe way for pregnant people to do squats so I try to do mine that way whenever possible. Since I did squats before getting pregnant, though, I’m not too concerned that my form is wrong or will harm me or my baby. Check with your doctor always before starting a new workout!
💛Reason to love: I can do squats anywhere– at work, in the shower, while my son plays, while I wait for food to cook, etc. It’s easy to fit in your schedule and routines!
Frequency: 100 squats a day (start with 15 or 20 to help your body adjust) Break them up throughout the day if you have to and use small weights while doing them if you want to challenge yourself. Increase how many you do by 15 each day if you feel your muscles are getting too used to it.
Experts say that swimming is the best form of cardio since it provides a lot of benefits without putting your body at risk for injury (like running does). I love running but since it’s icy during the winter here up north, where winter season lasts almost all year, I wanted to take it easy during this pregnancy and not risk falling. Plus I have to do laundry more frequently when I run versus just going to the gym in a swimsuit and then changing into my bedtime clothes! Anyway, this form of physical exercise is more time consuming since you need special attire and a pool and you want to stay in for at least 40 minutes three times a week. But it’s worth it if your gym has a daycare for your little one. Or in my case, if your husband and child can play in a separate area of the pool while you do laps.
💛Reason to love: water is so refreshing and you don’t feel your weight (pregnant or not) when you’re in a pool. I do the breast stroke and it allows me to stretch my legs and arms and burn lots of calories without feeling like I just ran a marathon
Frequency: 2 or 3 times a week for 30 minutes each time is what is recommended normally but I haven’t established a schedule yet with my husband. I plan to do 2 nights a week for one hour each time. Our toddler enjoys the kid area of the pool so it’s easy for us to make this work.
4. Arm Sundials (fancy arm circles)
This exercise can also be augmented by using weights and moving your arms in tighter circles than shown above. My husband told me that in the Navy they did what is called ‘sundials’ to strengthen their arms because it’s a more difficult version of the typical arm circles. With sundials, you do arm circles lower at your side and continue to raise your arms until they’re both up at your forehead. An easy way to describe it is by referring to the 30, 60, 90 and 120 angles (otherwise known as having your arms at the 5 and 7 position, then 4 and 8 and 3 and 9 and so forth until your arms mimic the arms on the clock at 11 and 1)
💛 Reasons to love: Once again, I can do these anywhere so there’s no excuse for me to not do them everyday. And I get to work out my arms more without being in a gym or taking time away from my son.
Frequency: I’m not sure what’s recommended for these. Perhaps it depends on your goals. I usually do them until I am in pain or can’t lift my arms anymore!
5. Be active with your kids.
Although it can be daunting to try to fit exercise into your daily routine with kids that demand your attention and chores or office tasks that exhaust you, the more active you are the more energetic you’ll feel. I know it sounds like an oxymoron but play with your kids, pick up after them, chase them at the park, go to a bounce gym with them, take your dogs for a walk, anything! It all counts! My husband gives our son piggy back rides ananda carries him up stairs and follows him around the house. If you can find an excuse to move, especially if your child can participate, then do it! Before I was pregnant, I would do squats and use my son as the weight haha he eventually started doing squats with me too because he thought it was fun. I have friends whose kids do yoga with them, too.
Honestly, anything is possible. Even if you have to use cans of soup for weights or your only arm workout is folding 10 loads of laundry, the more intent you are about exercising and keeping yourself moving, the easier it will be to incorporate fitness into your life.
Images belong to their respective owners. I am not a doctor or personal trainer (nor do I claim to be) so I cannot guarantee results or ensure safety. Please consult professionals regarding any questions especially if you have preexisting health conditions or are pregnant. These are merely my own opinions and experiences.