Have a Ball! Using an Exercise Ball for Pregnancy Fitness
Strengthening your core muscles (abs, back, and pelvic floor) is important for sustaining a healthy pregnancy and successful labor. Besides helping you push during childbirth, these muscles also maintain good posture, which can alleviate backaches and sciatica commonly associated with the later stages of pregnancy.
Here are some examples of strengthening exercises from the fitness experts at Ball Dynamics International, creators of FitBALL, to help you throughout all phases of your pregnancy:
Target areas: thighs and buttocks
- Place your exercise ball between the wall and the small of your back. Make sure you can just see the tips of your toes when you look down.
- Slowly sit down into a squat. As you squat, remember that you should be able to wiggle your toes because all your weight should be in your heels.
- Slowly stand up again. (Repeat eight to 10 times.)
Shoulder Blade Squeeze
Target area: upper back, shoulders
- Sit on your exercise ball and lean forward so that your forearms rest on your legs.
- As you sit up, bring your hands in front of you to chest level and turn your fists (or hand weights) to the side.
- Slowly extend the arms out to the sides, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
- Bring your fists (or hand weights) back in front of you at chest level.
- As you lean forward again, turn your fists (or hand weights) and rest your forearms on your thighs.
(Repeat eight to 10 times.)
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