Top 5 Exercises with a Ball during Pregnancy
There are many factors to having a happy and healthy pregnancy. Top of the list are eating well, sleeping enough, and exercising regularly. Although it is hard to balance in everyday life and to achieve these, it makes a very positive difference to the experience of pregnancy.
When it comes to exercising, there are certain things that are more difficult. Activities like contact sports and certain gym classes are no longer a safe option. It is most important to choose exercises that are stable and secure for the growing fetus.
Thankfully, there are many exercises that are easy, comfortable, and effective to do during pregnancy. In fact, certain exercises are easy to do at home. For instance using an exercise ball is a highly effective and comfortable way to get a good workout at home during pregnancy and keep your body healthy while the baby is growing.
The great thing about exercises with a ball is that they don’t take long and don’t require too much energy. Although you won’t be hot and sweaty after exercising with a ball, your body will feel stretched and productive. The low impact nature of these exercises still brings the results you are hoping for without the strain.
These are the top 5 exercises to do with a ball during pregnancy. They don’t take very long, but they do make a positive difference. Incorporating them into your daily routine, in the morning or evening, will keep your body healthy and your mind happy in an effortless way.
These exercises are best done in the later part of the second trimester and the third trimester. During the first trimester, it is easy to do more active exercises, such as light jogging, cycling, and standard yoga. As pregnancy progresses and the bump gets more and more in the way, using an exercise ball for additional support will make a big difference.
1. Side stretching
This position is easier to hold that it looks at first. It is very good for working on the core as well as the legs. Start off by resting on the ball on your back. Once you have balance, slowly turn to the side that the ball moves under your armpit. Since you are also using your arm to maintain balance and support, you get an upper arm workout too.
It is really important here to keep the legs stabilised. Placing one foot firmly on the ground and locking the other ankle above it is a good way to do this. If needed, lower the leg closest to the ground so that the knee touches the ground for more support.
When you feel balanced and stabilised, raise the external arm above your head. While doing this, make sure you breathe evenly and deeply. Hold this as long as you can, then drop the arm and do the same on the other side. Try to hold each side for about 30 seconds or more.
The exercise is really good for the core of the body which needs a lot of toning to maintain the growing baby bump. It is also great to stretch out the oblique muscles, while also building strength in the legs and arms.
2. Leg raises
In this position, the lower back, lower abdominals, and legs get a really good workout. It does not put too much strain on the upper body which is perfect the baby bump. To start off with, lay on the ground in a comfortable position. Using a yoga mat or blanket on the ground will make a big difference for comfort. If you need a lower back support such as a pillow, by all means use it.
When you are ready, place the exercise ball between the feet. Roll it so that your ankles are firmly on each side and it is about halfway about your calves. When you have a good grip, raise the ball up as high as you can. You will feel the burn on your inner thighs as they work to maintain grip. Aim to do sets of 10 leg raises then have a break, then repeat the motion.
This exercise targets the upper legs and the lower back. These two areas go through a lot with pregnancy so this exercise is beneficial to keep the muscles strong and toned.
3. Ball squats
Squatting is one of the best things to do for the upper legs and lower abdominal muscles. However, as pregnancy progresses, it seems uncomfortable and impractical to squat. This is why using a ball makes it a lot easier. This exercise is very simple and easy.
Start by standing and facing the ball. Place your legs hip width apart and stretch your arms out. Roll the ball so that your palms are on the ball and your arms are stretched out in front of you. When you have a good balance and feel secure, start squatting. You can squat as deep as feels right at the time. Doing about 10-15 squats then having a break is recommended.
Of course, always work within the limitations of your body with these exercises. These are great to do as a set consecutively, but if one exercise doesn’t feel comfortable on a particular day, don’t push yourself. As your pregnancy continues, only do what you feel comfortable with.
With this exercise, you will get a lot of toning in the upper legs as well as additional strength to the lower back. In terms of pregnancy, this will help your muscles support the growing uterus.
4. Back stretching
Here is a great exercise because it isn’t strenuous at all, but really does engage the core muscles and the lower back. These are muscles that get particularly sore during pregnancy and greatly benefit from being strengthened. This exercise is also a good chance to focus on breathing and tapping into a meditative state.
It is very simple to start. Sit on the ball with your feet about hip width apart. Then, start moving down the ball so that it pushes out with your body. Soon, only your shoulders, neck, and head should be on the ball. Your legs should be bent at a 90 degree angle.
Maintain this position for around 30 seconds, inhaling and exhaling deeply. Then, either lower yourself completely to the ground and sit upright, or use your arms to bring the ball back to your bottom and sit on the ball again.
It is very important to maintain a strong core during pregnancy so that you don’t arch your back as the baby bump grows. This exercise is great for this and helps to keep your spine straight. It is also a good way to practice breathing steadily.
5. Arm raises
It can be easy to forget about the upper body during pregnancy, but the arms are something that need a lot of attention during pregnancy. This exercise targets the arms as well as strengthening the core. After all, the arms are going to be doing a lot of lifting and carrying once the baby arrives!
For this exercise, simply start by sitting on the ball, placing the legs hip width apart and finding a good posture of a straight back with solid balance. Then, engage the arms in a range of stretches. From triceps to biceps, there are different arm raises you can do.
If you have a set of weights in each hand, you feel even more of a workout. For instance, lifting the arms by bending them at the elbow and raising them inwards is a good stretch. Or you can hold the arms out at a 90 degree angle and lift them above your head. Work with what feels right for your body, focusing on engaging the arms and maintaining a strong core.
These exercises will help to tone the arms, getting them prepared to lift the baby. It is also good to engage the core muscles and keep these strong throughout pregnancy.
These sets of exercises are great to do throughout pregnancy. Remember, it is important to listen to your body and work with what feels right on certain days of pregnancy. As pregnancy continues, it is important not to push yourself too far. These exercises can be adapted in many ways and you can find new ways of engaging your body. This simple set of exercises done for 10 or 15 minutes everyday will help keep the body strong and toned throughout pregnancy.