Working out is almost as important as breathing these days. With stress taking the up road in our life, and the growing amount of junk food we devour in to feed us through our busy schedules, adding exercising to our daily routine is essential not only to ‘look good’ but also to maintain our health standards. One amazing workout technique is Pilates. With its benefit’s list as long as Rapunzel’s hair, Pilates has been listed as one of the best workout techniques to stay fit during pregnancy.
Joseph Pilates (the founder of the workout), refers to his invention as a workout that examines the art of controlled movement. Pilates is proven to improve flexibility, build strength and develop control and endurance and emphasis on alignment, breathing, and developing a strong core if performed with consistency.
Sheetal Shah, a certified Pilates instructor who completed her training course from Balanced Body Inc. in 2013 confirms the effectiveness of Pilates in driving health blues away during the most challenging 9 months of a woman’s life and shares with us the benefits of practising Pilates during pregnancy:
1. Exercises on reformer is very safe and effective.
During the first trimester exercises can be done as usual. However, in 2 nod and the 3rd trimester one should avoid exercises lying on back or stomach. Instead one can carry on an exercise routine and build strength on reformer with standing, kneeling and sitting series.
2. Pilates help pregnant women to build abdominal strength, gluteal strength and pelvic floor muscles which helps to reduce back pain. This also helps in easy deliveries and speeds up recovery post-partum.
3. Reformer allows pregnant women to perform exercises while aiming at postural alignment.
4. Due to hormonal changes during pregnancy, ligaments tend to become lax which can cause instability and increase risk of muscle strains and ligament strains. When you’re on reformer either your arms or legs are grounded which helps in limiting range of motion.
5. Upper body workouts are generally safe on reformer
and it prepares mothers to be, for future carrying and breastfeeding with good posture. Arm and upper body workout exercises like hug a tree, serve a tea, salute, arm circles, chest expansion, biceps curls, rowing, single arm twist, etc. are the exercises that works towards strengthening arm and shoulder muscles including rotator cuffs, latissimus dorsi, deltoids, biceps, and triceps.
6. To strengthen legs one can do footwork.
Footwork can be done with both legs or single leg. Footwork can be done on supine position (lying down on back) during first trimester. 2nd and third trimester pregnant women can sit and do footwork with proper support given behind their back viz Swiss ball or short box. Benefit of footwork is to strengthen your leg muscles (quads, hamstrings, internal and external rotators, abductors, calf muscles and ankle stabilizers.) This also helps corrects hip, leg, ankle, alignments. Additionally, it increases blood circulation which helps in water retention in legs; soreness and swellings.
7. Single leg knee stretch also called as scooter and knee stretch (flat and round back) It works towards strengthening quads, hamstrings and gluteal strengthen abdominals
8. Lunges can be done on reformer. It works towards strengthening quads, and hamstrings.
9. Side stretch mermaid stretches lateral torso including QL (quadratus lumborum)