Exercising during pregnancy will improve how you feel both physically and emotionally. Toning your legs through resistance training and cardiovascular exercise will prepare you for the rigors of motherhood, from toting your little one around to chasing after him once he learns to crawl and walk. Even if you exercised prior to becoming pregnant, always check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.
Toning your legs and performing other exercises while pregnant will make you stronger and will give you more endurance, according to “Exercise During Pregnancy,” published by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You’ll need endurance and strength when the time comes to deliver your baby. Exercise will also boost your mood and give you more energy to go about your day. Toning your legs will help improve your posture, too. You’ll be less likely to suffer from constipation and back pain and may find that you sleep better at night when you exercise.
While leg toning has its benefits during pregnancy, there are a few risks you need to be aware of. As your belly grows, your center of gravity shifts, making you more likely to lose your balance during certain exercises. You should avoid exercising if it is very hot out, as a drastic spike in your body temperature can harm the baby. If you had a heart problem, asthma or diabetes before your pregnancy, exercising may not be safe for you. It’s up to your doctor to review your physical condition and give you the okay for exercise.
Ways to Tone
Squats and leg lifts are effective ways to tone your legs during pregnancy. Lie on your side for a leg lift, with your right leg on top of your left. Support your head with your hand, placing your upper arm flat on the floor. Lift your leg into the air, then lower it. Repeat 10 times, then change sides. You may want to use a chair to support yourself while performing squats. You can also hold on to a railing or the wall. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and slowly bend your knees, lowering your body toward the floor. Your back should stay straight. Hold for several seconds, then straighten. Repeat 10 times.
Cardiovascular exercises that focus on your leg muscles are good ways to tone in addition to strength training. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends exercises such as walking, swimming and cycling on a stationary bike. Riding a regular bike can be risky, because you could fall. If you were a jogger or runner prior to becoming pregnant, you most likely can continue to run, as long as you change your routine to something a little less intense.
Exercises to Steer Clear Of
When pregnant, avoid exercises that can make you fall over, such as skiing or roller skating. Also avoid exercises that involve lifting a heavy weight, as you can injure your joints, which become looser during pregnancy. If you use weights to tone your legs, try cutting the amount of weight in half when pregnant. Exercises that involve lying on your back can harm your baby after the third month.