By the time third trimester of pregnancy rolls around for me I’m having a harder time getting up and down off the ground, getting out of bed(for some reason I picture a beached whale…), walking, bending over, giving my kids a bath, stretching, exercising, and pretty much with EVERYTHING else. Sometimes I think I forget that I’m pregnant and limited until I try doing certain things. For example, at work a few weeks ago I had all my students do the Fitness Gram curl-up test. Now imagine trying to explain to 1st and 2nd graders how to curl up with your arms at your sides and then reach out and touch a line. Sounds easy enough, but they just weren’t getting it. I thought, what the heck, I can probably demonstrate it. I couldn’t even curl up an inch. Silly me. My point is, there are just some things(a lot of things actually) that you can’t do your third trimester of pregnancy wether you like it or not.
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As much as I didn’t want to I put away my barbell a few weeks ago. I’ve mentioned before that my body just wasn’t doing well with it anymore. I have since limited myself to exercise that is less stressful on my body(especially my lower back and pelvic area). With that said, I still know the importance of exercise and still try to get some in 3-5 days a week.
Exercising during pregnancy has many benefits including improved mood, weight control, energy boosts, smoother delivery, better sleep, and even improves self image. As I enter my 37th week of pregnancy I have to get creative when it comes to cardiovascular exercise. With all this said, I want to help you out and share 6 cardio workouts that I think are great for your 3rd trimester of pregnancy.
I spent the majority of my third trimester of pregnancy back in 2010 floating around in a swimming pool. Why? Because the water really does make you feel weightless. Exercising in water is much safer, it’s easier on your joints, helps relieve swelling, and keeps you cool. Get ahold of a few pool noodles or kick board and do some scissor kicks, paddling, squats, etc. If you want a whole list of water aerobic exercises check these out here.
Now this one is pretty obvious. The more steps you take in a day the more calories you are burning. As you enter your third trimester of pregnancy running may become more difficult so go ahead and slow it down. At this point in the game you really have nothing to prove so take it easy and enjoy your walk. Carrying around the extra baby weight while walking a few miles will have your heartbeat up in no time!
Stair Master (Step-Ups)
Trying to keep your glutes looking nice during pregnancy? Jump up on the stair master and climb away. This was my favorite machine during my first pregnancy. I got some strange looks but I kept my heart rate steady and my legs stayed in decent shape. If you don’t have access to a stair master grab a box, or find a tall enough step and get after it. I have found that as long as I don’t step too high I don’t experience any discomfort.
If you’re lucky enough to have access to a row machine at home or at your gym take advantage of it. Rowing is a great total body workout and easy enough to modify when pregnant. My favorite way to row these days is to set a timer for 1 minute of work and 1 minute of rest. For more info see this video demo of third trimester rowing here.
Believe it or not I can actually still jump rope with ease into my third trimester. Keep in mind I have a light weight rope and I only clear the ground by about 2 inches. Just like with the row machine, an even amount of work vs. rest is about what I feel most comfortable with. You may even consider just doing a traditional tabata (8 rounds, 20 sec work, 10 sec rest)with the jump rope.
I won’t lie, I’m not a dancer. Pretty much the only time you will catch me dancing is with my Kindergarten students at work. I can boogie around the room to the freeze dance for a few minutes and be out of breath. I wish I had more rhythm and could do some Zumba but I”m just not made for that. Dancing is great because it raises your heart rate and makes you forget you’re even working out. Find a local gym that offers Zumba or other group dance classes and go burn some serious calories without even knowing it!
Because recumbent bikes allow you to sit in a comfortable position and there is no risk of you losing balance these exercise bikes are perfect for third trimester exercise. Get comfortable and pedal at a nice steady pace that generates a rise in heart rate but doesn’t have you gasping for air.
As with any exercises when pregnant, if something you do is uncomfortable stop immediately. If you are at risk or unsure about doing an exercise always consult your doctor first.
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