trainer helps pregnant woman stretch at the gym

Warming up and cooling down

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Warming up and cooling down is actually a big deal and we don’t stop to think about it because we’re so used to a high-paced lifestyle, where we have our schedule down to the minute. If that’s the case, you will most likely skip the warm-up and the cool-down in your exercise routine and prefer to get down and dirty from the get-go.

Here’s why that’s not what you should be doing (even more so during pregnancy). The warm-up preps your muscles and body for the stress you’re going to put them in, it gets your blood flowing. The cool-down on the other hand, slowly lowers your heart rate and brings your body temperature back to normal. Failing to warm-up or cool-down properly can lead to dizziness and nausea. Avoid a fall or a bruise by taking the proper time to your warm-up and cool-down.

Most warm-up and cool-down routines take about 10 minutes and may include some sort of aerobic activity (like biking or walking) along with some stretching. Stretching helps you maintain the flexibility during your pregnancy. It can prevent those uncomfortable tight or sore muscles and help you avoid injuries.

As you well know, your body changes when you’re pregnant, which means you can’t put the same pressure or demands as you did before. Below are several guidelines you can follow to ensure you get the most from your stretching routine:

1. Try to move slowly and gently (your ligaments tend to be more relaxed this way)
2. Don’t force any stretch
3. Avoid bouncing into and in each movement
4. Avoid overstretching (this is not the time to try to do a full split, you’ll get to that later)
5. Become aware of your breathing (don’t hold it in)

If you tend to have backaches, take your time stretching your back to ease the pain (using a Bosu ball for these stretches is especially helpful!). After the first trimester, avoid stretches while lying on your back as this may reduce the blood flow to your baby. Other than that, listen to your body, get your exercise-induced endorphins and don’t forget your warm-up and cool-down!

If you want to see different types of stretches, head over to our slideshows to get a ton of ideas!


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