Whether you are looking to be the next Rebecca Adlington, or are just curious about alternative ways to keep fit during your pregnancy, swimming and water-based exercises work wonders for your ever-changing physique.
Not only are water based activities beneficial for expectant mums, but they are also fantastic for new moms and their water babies, too. Parent-child swimming classes help build your little one’s confidence, provide some much-needed relaxation, and be super fun too! We love this video of Rebecca taking her three-week-old daughter Summer for a dip.
As an Olympic medallist and lifelong swimmer, Rebecca has spent more hours than most in the pool. She swam throughout her pregnancy, and we think her water-based exercise regime is fantastic for expectant moms looking for a low-impact, whole-body workout. Exercising in water helps to strengthen your abdominals, a crucial group of muscles to keep strong during pregnancy. This, combined with the weightless sensation you feel in a water-based workout, mixed with the increased freedom of movement, make for a very welcome respite from carrying your extra weight!
For those suffering with aches and pains, water-based exercise can help alleviate back pains, reduce joint swelling and can also increase feelings of wellbeing and relaxation for expectant moms.
If a few gentle laps don’t float your boat, there are plenty of pool-based classes to try. A few of our favourites are listed below:
- Aquanatal: A perfect balance between exercise and relaxation, mostly to music. These classes are beneficial for strengthening your pelvic floor.
- Aqua Yoga: Essentially normal yoga, but in water. These classes teach you how to hold your positions and stretches more comfortably than on land. Great if you have missed your warrior pose!
- Aqua Aerobics: The most energetic class, these workouts are designed to get your heart rate up, whilst maintaining an appropriate amount of pressure on your muscles.
- Aqua Bellies: A peaceful class, with a holistic approach. Activities include floating exercises in order to get to know your body and respond to your baby’s kicks and movements, and breathing techniques which will come in handy come labour day!
We’ve also created an easy, gentle and fun exercise routine for you to use as part of your water workouts – enjoy!
The Warm Up
– To begin your warm up, walk back and forth at the same depth for 5 minutes.
– Go into high knees for 1 minute. Pick up the tempo with this one and pump your arms back and forth – you may want to bring your legs out to the side, rather than up in front of you, so that you don’t bump your bump!
– Next, switch to butt-kicks or quick hamstring curls (kick your heels back so they almost touch your butt as you jog in place) for 1 minute.
The Main Event
– 25 jumping jacks – as you jump your feet out, raise your arms but keep them below the water the whole time. Bring your arms fully down to your sides when you jump your feet back together.
– 10 squats with side leg lift – squat down, not allowing your knees to go over your toes and as you stand back up, raise one leg out to the side. Squat back down and as you come up, raise your other leg out to the side.
– 2 minutes of wall runs – Go over to the wall of the pool and squat down so that the water comes above your shoulders. Raise your right foot up so that it touches the side of the wall, leaving your left foot on the bottom of the pool. Then, quickly switch your feet (left foot up, right foot down) and continue switching so that it feels like you are running against the wall – try to do this for 2 minutes straight.
– 2 minutes bicycle kicks: Lean your back against the side of the pool and rest your elbows on the edge so that they are supporting your upper body. Let your legs float up so that they are at a 90-degree angle to your upper body, but still under the water. Make sure your back stays flat against the side of the pool. Gently pedal your legs in a forward motion as if you were riding a bike for 1 minute. Take a 30-second break. Gently pedal your legs in a backward motion as if you were riding a bike for 1 minute. Repeat.
The Cool Down
– Start by briskly walking along the width of the pool (at the same depth). As you walk, be sure to gently pump your arms forward and backward. Continue this cool down walk for about 5 minutes, slowing up as you go so that your heart rate comes down gradually.
What do you think of our workout tips? Do you have any to share with us? Let us know in the comments below!