This brilliant low-impact pregnancy exercise regime will keep you supple, ease labour and speed up your post-birth recovery
Staying active during your pregnancy will help keep you comfortable and healthy, but remember to go easy on exercise while you're pregnant and after the birth; speak to your GP or midwife if you have any worries.
See below for Zest fitness expert Jane Wake's full day by day antenatal workout plan.
Meanwhile, here are the moves.
Standing tall, rock over to your left side, come up onto your toes on your right foot and turn in at the hip to face your left. Swing your arms around at the same time in a relaxed fashion. Repeat to the opposite side and keep repeating for 1-2 minutes, rocking side to side.
JANE'S TIP: Focus on pulling your tummy in and turning your leg in at your hip joint.
Start with your feet wider than hip width, lowering into a half squat with your weight into your heels (bottom back and down). Finish by pushing your weight through your heels and lifting into a tall standing position, heels just off the ground, hips pushed forward and bottom squeezed. Take a breath in and lower back down asyou breathe out. Repeat 8-12 times.
JANE'S TIP: When you go onto your toes, pull up through your pelvic floor.
Using a sturdy support such as a kitchen surface or the back of a chair, start with your feet hip-distance apart. Step back onto the ball of your right foot. Lower and bend at your knees in a vertical line, keeping your weight central. Lift back up and step back to the beginning. Repeat on the left and continue to alternate, 6-10 times.
JANE'S TIP: Keep your weight in your front heel and ensure your front knee stays behind your toes.
Using a support such as a wall or bannister, stand with your feet in a wide squat position, feet turned out at 45 degrees. Lower your weight into your heels, bending at the knees. Hold for 3-6 deep breaths, focus on relaxing as you breathe out. Squeeze through your bottom muscles as you lift. Repeat 6-10 times.
JANE'S TIP: This great strength move is also an optimal position to use in labour. Build up to doing this every day in your last trimester.
Attach your resistance band, held taut, around your sturdy support. If you don’t have a band, hold lightly onto the support. Keeping your posture in check, extend your leg behind, drive your toes into the floor and squeeze your bum. At the same time, draw your elbows behind you pulling the band, squeezing your shoulder blades in. Hold and balance for two slow breaths. Slowly release and repeat on the other leg.
JANE'S TIP: Keep your hips completely still and tummy drawn in, so that your back doesn’t arch.
Rest on your hands and knees, knees in line with hips and hands in line with shoulders. Start with your back long, with a very small curve in the lower back. Take a breath and as you breathe out, slowly tuck your head and your tailbone under, and lift the midpoint of your back upwards into a curve.
JANE'S TIP: Imagine a piece of string being pulled up from the middle of your back.
From your cat stretch position, slowly sit your bottom down towards your heels.
JANE'S TIP: If your knees are in the way of your bump, take them into a wider position so that your bump can rest between your legs.
From your sit back stretch, lift back up so that your hands are in line with your shoulders, and knees in line with hips. Draw your shoulderblades back and down and tuck your arms and elbows in. Maintaining a small curve in your lower back, slowly lift your right hand off the floor, drawing in through your pelvic floor and tummy. Lower your hand and repeat on the left.
JANE'S TIP: Keep your eyes looking down at the floor, just above your fingertips.
From the hand balance, maintain your back in the same position and slowly start to bend at your elbow joints, keeping your elbows tucked in behind you and your eye level above your fingertips. Lift back up and repeat 2-6 times.
JANE's TIP: Keep your shoulders down and imagine you are holding a pencil under each armpit.
Sit tall - it helps if you can sit slightly forward on a cushion or towel. Visualise your pelvic floor muscles, strung like a hammock between your pubic bone and your tailbone. Imagine pulling these two points together and drawing your pelvic floor muscle up inside through your centre. Pull up through 5 stages or floors: 1=20% of your effort, 2=40%, 3=60% 4=80% 5=100%. Slowly lower and repeat at least 10 times.
JANE'S TIP: Your pelvic floor and deep abdominal muscles work on the same nerve impulse – pull up through your pelvic floor and your deep tummy muscles will work too. It’s really useful to focus on this when doing all exercises as it helps to support your back and encourages a good posture.
Focus on your pelvic floor
Sit tall on your cushion or towel. Place a resistance band around your foot and slowly draw your toes up towards your shin. Hold for 4-8 slow breaths.
JANE'S TIPS: Keep your tummy in and your chest lifted. This is a great stretch to do at night to relieve calf cramps.
Hold onto your band in a seated or kneeling position. Keeping the band taut and palms facing up (with elbows touching your rib cage), part your hands so that they end up out to the side. Release and repeat 10 times.
JANE'S TIP: Hold a thin magazine under each armpit to keep your elbows tucked into your sides.
Go onto one knee - you may need to use a support. Place one hand underneath your bump and if the otherhand is free, place it into the small of your back. Lifting your hands in towards your back and tummy, bend your front knee to around 90 degrees to feel a stretch in your front thigh. Hold for 4-8 slow breaths and change legs.
JANE'S TIP: Pull your tummy in and make sure that your back stays supported by your hand.
From a kneeling position, bring your right knee up and out to the right side and lengthen your left leg back behind you. Focus on a feeling deep in your glute - keep lengthening your leg back and moving your knee out to the side until you feel it. Hold for 4-8 slow breaths, then change sides.
JANE'S TIP: Focus on lifting your tailbone and drawing in your tummy to really feel the stretch.
Follow Jane's workout with this weekly plan...
Mon: 30-minute walk, 5-minutes Pelvic Floor and Relaxation.
Tues: 20-minute full exercise routine: all moves listed here.
Weds: 20-minute swim and 10 minutes On All Fours, Pelvic Floor and Relaxation.
Thurs: 30-minute walk and 5-minute Pelvic Floor and Relaxation.
Fri: 20-minute full exercise routine.
Sat: 30-minute walk and 5-minute Pelvic Floor and Relaxation.
UK fitness professional Jane Wake, has teamed up with Persil Non-Bio & Comfort Pure to create two exercise guides; antenatal and postnatal. Visit www.persilandcomfort.co.uk to download the guides now
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