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5 Best Exercises During Pregnancy

Photograph by Twenty20

Just because you've got a baby on board doesn't mean that you have to sit on the sidelines and stop exercising. While the types of exercises that you can do may change over the course of your pregnancy, keeping fit can reduce some of your aches and pains, boost your energy and help you to better deal with the strain of labor.

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Walk the Line

Whether you were a world-class athlete or had a love-hate relationship with your gym membership before your pregnancy, walking is something that any healthy woman can do, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). If you rarely exercised before you conceived, walking 30 minutes a day can ease you into a more active routine.

Yoga Workout

Taking yoga classes can help you stay fit and prepare you for labor and delivery, notes prenatal yoga instructor Angela Gallagher in "Yoga Journal." While you shouldn't do any form of exercise that requires you to lie on your back after the first trimester, you can work out with standing yoga poses, such as the warrior II or the squatting horse hands. You can also try sitting poses that allow you to relax and work your leg muscles.

Go for a Swim

Jumping or activities that require jarring motions can put unnecessary strain on your joints and muscles during pregnancy. Swimming provides a full-body workout without adding the stress that other exercises can. Going for a swim is a way to get in some aerobic activity while working all of your large muscle groups in a gentle way.

Bike It

The ACOG suggests cycling as an aerobic workout for expecting moms. Riding a bike, like swimming, is a low-impact, non-weight-bearing type of exercise. Cycling can get your heart rate up and improve the strength in your leg muscles without putting extra pressure on your joints.

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Stretch Out

Stretching provides a way to loosen your muscles and help you relax. More flexible muscles are better able to carry your extra baby weight, obstetrician Susan Warchaizer tells "Fit Pregnancy" magazine. Simple stretches, such as a standing calf stretch or a seated hamstring stretch — sitting on the floor with one leg out and pulling your hands towards your toes — are easy ways to start getting limber.

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