Pilates is a low-impact exercise created by Joseph Pilates during the First World War. It aims to improve posture while strengthening and toning muscles without using weights, combining force and flexibility with breathing and relaxation.
This type of exercise can be done using special machines/equipment or simply on the floor. It consists of doing few repetitions and concentrating on the movement of abdominal and pelvic muscles which are known in pilates as your "center."
Pilates during pregnancy
During pregnancy the abdomen and pelvic muscles stretch and may weaken. This causes an increased risk of suffering from urinary incontinence. Pilates exercises are very beneficial because they work the abdominal and pelvic muscles directly.
Most of the exercises are done lying down or on your hands and legs. These positions are ideal for alleviating back pains. At the same time, you are working your legs which improves circulation and reduces leg pains.
Before starting your routine
It's important to follow these tips before starting, so you do your Pilates routine properly:
- Visit your doctor and have him/her examine you and your baby. If you experience any type of pain during pregnancy, stop exercising and contact your doctor immediately.
- Before starting your Pilates routine, make sure you can contract your pelvis and hold it for at least 10 seconds (lie on the floor, raise your hips and contract your abdomen and pelvic muscles).
- Place your knees and hands on the floor keeping your back straight. Take a deep breath and when you exhale bring your belly button in and hold this contraction for 10 seconds. Breath and relax your muscles. If you can easily do this exercise ten times in a row, then you are working your abdominal and pelvic muscles correctly.
- Make sure your trainer knows you're pregnant. He/She will be able to tell you which exercises you can do during pregnancy or if there are any Pilates classes specifically designed for pregnant women.
It's very important to stay healthy during your pregnancy, and Pilates is one easy way to exercise and feel good without overexerting yourself.
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