water exercise pregnancy

Water exercise for an active pregnancy

Pregnancy is often filled with excitement and anticipation as you prepare to welcome a new member into your family. With all the joys, though, there are times when you won’t feel your best. Pregnancy causes many changes in your body, from shifting your center of gravity to loosening the ligaments.  Fatigue, weight gain, back pain, and achy feet can take their toll.

But how do you manage the discomfort of carrying a baby? Regular exercise, especially water exercise in pregnancy, can help you feel better physically — and mentally.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, healthy pregnant women should perform at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. 

Traditional aerobic exercise might not feel as good or you feel like you need to modify the workouts. 

And that’s where water exercise for pregnancy comes in.

Whether you want to continue exercising as you near your due date or need a low-impact option, pregnancy pool exercises can help you stay healthy and in shape for the delivery. 

For an at-home option, consider the benefits of a Michael Phelps swim spa. You can enjoy a low-impact prenatal workout in the comfort and convenience of your home.

water exercise pregnancy
Pregnant women can benefit from water aerobics. It can improve balance, endurance, and mood.

Benefits of water aerobics during pregnancy

Most anyone can benefit from exercising in the water. Research shows that everything from swimming to aquatic therapy can increase your energy, improve your mood, and help you sleep better. 

When you’re pregnant, though, water exercise can feel especially soothing. The buoyancy of the water helps to relieve pressure on your joints, which can feel especially good on your back. Moving in the water also increases circulation, which can reduce edema and swelling.

Why is water exercise great during pregnancy?

Low impact. Depending on your activity level and pregnancy, you might find that activities of daily life are more challenging. You have more aches and pains as you go up the stairs or walk around the house. When you get in the water, especially a warm water pool, you will feel instant relief. The buoyancy of the water reduces the effects of gravity so that you don’t feel stress on your joints. You will be able to walk, jog, and exercise in the water without the impact on your joints. 

Maintain or improve strength. Did you know that water has up to 500 times the resistance of air? So every  time you move in the water, it’s like lifting a weight — without actually grabbing a dumbbell. If you stand in the water with your arms submerged, a curl motion will require more effort than if you were on land. The faster you curl your arms, the harder you will have to work against the water.

Balance. One of the things that your body does to prepare for childbirth is to produce the hormone relaxin. This hormone helps relax your ligaments. Combined with the other changes, like weight gain, you might find yourself more wobbly on your feet or struggling to maintain balance. Water exercise acts as a safety net, helping you to stay balanced as you move. In addition, maintaining and building your strength can also help you decrease the risk of falls.

Decrease or avoid low back pain. Many, if not most, pregnant women experience some kind of back pain. According to Cedars-Sinai, low back pain affects up to 80 percent of women. Exercise and physiotherapy can help reduce back pain. Exercises that target your core and legs are especially beneficial.

pregnancy swim spa
Michael Phelps swim spas have a generous swim area for water exercise.

Pregnancy exercise in a swim spa

Exercising during pregnancy is important but it can be hard to stay motivated. It’s no wonder when you are struggling with low energy, heartburn, or morning sickness. 

But you don’t have to workout for long durations or get up at 5 am to squeeze in a session. Instead, choose a time that works best for you and find a workout that fits into that time frame. You can exercise on your lunch break or before dinner. A 20-minute session might feel less overwhelming and easier to fit in than a 45-minute workout.

A Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spa can take out the stress of exercising during pregnancy. You can take advantage of the benefits of water exercise in pregnancy as well as enjoy a swim spa’s backyard convenience. 

Soon-to-be moms can do cardiovascular exercise, such as swim or water walk. The Wave XP Pro system generates a flow of water, providing resistance. You can swim in place at a gentle pace or walk against the current. 

You can also use aquatic dumbbells, pool noodles, and other water workout equipment to maintain strength.

In addition, Michael Phelps swim spas have contoured therapy seats with massage jets. You can enjoy a gentle massage on your low back, helping to relieve some of that stress and tension.

Remember to talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program and how to use a swim spa during pregnancy. 

water exercise
When you are exercising in a swim spa, you can do exercises like water walking or incorporate gear such as resistance tubing.

Best prenatal water exercises 

As relaxing as it is, the water is an ideal space for a total body aqua aerobics. Many exercises that you are familiar with can easily be done in the swim spa.

Water walking. Walk forward toward the front of the swim spa, maintaining proper posture. Aim to keep your step length equal. To make this more challenging, turn on the Wave XP Pro system and walk against the current.

Marching. Start in a standing position, holding onto the side of the swim spa if necessary. Slowly lift one knee as you balance on your other leg. Lower your leg and repeat on the other side. 

Squats. Standing near the therapy seats of the swim spa. Push your hips back and lower down toward the bench as if you were going to sit down. Be sure to keep equal pressure on the balls and heels of feet and attempt to keep shins in vertical position. Return to start position. Repeat.

Lateral lunges. Holding the side of the swim spa, stand with a wide stance. Push through your heel to one side so that one leg is straight and the other knee is bent. Shift side to side, pausing for several seconds in the lateral lunge position.

Arm curls. For this exercise, you will need aquatic dumbbells. Stand in the swim area of the spa with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the dumbbells at your side, with your palms facing forward. Lift the dumbbells toward your shoulders. Lower down to your starting position.

Tricep kickbacks. Start with your arms bent at 90 degrees and the aquatic dumbbells near your chest. Be sure to keep your elbows tucked in. Extend your arms toward the back of the spa, squeezing your tricep. Think about lifting your pinky fingers toward the surface of the water at the top of the movement.

How to buy a swim spa

Are you ready to install a backyard pool alternative? Having a Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spa makes it convenient and safe to incorporate aquatic exercise into daily routine. You can click here to find out more about the benefits of water fitness and hydrotherapy. Or, contact your local Master Spas retailer to learn more about swim spa ownership. Wondering how much a Michael Phelps swim spa costs? You can request a quote here.

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