Easy Pregnancy Workouts — Even When it's Freezing Out!

Is your motivation to work out as low as the temps outdoors? Here's how to stay active during a winter pregnancy.

Pregnant woman working out Getty Images: Jamie Grill

When it's winter, you have two pregnancy workout options: bundle up to brave the elements, or head indoors. Felice Devine, an avid runner in North Greenbush, N.Y., chose the first option. "I had to prepare more for my pregnant runs, but it was so worth it," says Devine, who wore a headlamp in the dark and Yaktrax in the snow, and always carried her cellphone. "Breathing in fresh air helped me avoid falling into the winter doldrums and gave me so much energy," she says.

Danielle Federico of San Ramon, Calif., chose workout option two: the gym. "A gym can become such a supportive community during pregnancy," says Federico, who lifted weights, took kickboxing classes and used a stair stepper. "I met tons of people who used saying 'Congratulations' as an icebreaker, and I was encouraged daily with, 'You look great!' and 'You're in better shape than I am!' After I delivered, I couldn't wait to return."

Whether you choose to exercise indoors or out, aim for a mix of cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, swimming or stationary cycling, and strengthening, using weights or resistance bands or by doing yoga or Pilates. .

Try Something New: 8 New Ways to Work Out

Here are tips to keep yourself moving:

Take the first step. "I encourage my pregnant clients to come to my studio for a workout even if they are feeling down or tired," says Teddi Bryant, a prenatal and postnatal fitness expert and owner of Hot Mamas in Denver. "Afterward, they tell me they feel a weight has been lifted."

Need more motivation? Think about your developing baby. "It's definitely harder to work out when it's dark and cold, but I told myself I was doing it for my growing baby," says Debi Silber, the mom of four. "And I knew the more I did, the better I'd feel and the more I'd enjoy my pregnancy. I also wanted to be able to get back into my clothes and show that pregnancy doesn't mean your body can't be fit and sexy again!"

Don't overdress. "You get hotter when you're pregnant," says Bryant. Even if you're setting out for a walk, follow the rule of thumb for running: Dress as if it's 20 degrees warmer. Wear a wicking base layer, a long-sleeve second layer and then a vest or, if it's particularly cold or windy, a thin jacket.

Do quickie strength workouts. If you don't have the time or energy for a full-blown workout, make it short. For example, alternate 60 to 90 seconds of squats with 30 to 60 seconds of stretching. "Sixty to 90 seconds is how long labor contractions last, so it mentally prepares you for how long you need to push yourself," says Bryant. Do four to six sets of the squat-stretch combo.

Remember to drink. When it's cold out, you don't sweat as much as you do in the heat, so it's easy to forget that you need to drink plenty of water.

The Right (Exercise) Stuff

  • Mountain Mama Clouds Rest II Maternity Baselayer Bottoms ($48) keep you warm, dry and comfortable out- doors; the under-the-belly waistband allows you to wear them after pregnancy, too. The Baselayer Maternity Crew Neck ($48) and the Shasta Maternity Fleece Vest ($65) allow for easy layering. mountain-mama.com
  • Salomon Exit 2 GTX light waterproof hikers have all the cushion and stability a mom-to-be needs when hitting the trails ($100). surfmountain.com
  • Easton Mountain Products Artica Hike Women's Snowshoes are a cinch to put on and take off, no small feature when you're reaching down over your growing belly ($144). amazon.com
  • Slip the Yaktrax Pro on the bottom of your athletic shoes for better traction and more confidence when you walk or run on packed snow ($30). yaktrax.com/pro
  • Easton Mountain Products Hike AL3 Trekking Poles help you maintain your balance when you're feeling huge and unwieldy ($70). eastonmountainproducts.com

4 for the Floor: Try these Workout DVDs

  • Mega-Fit Momma This workout combines Pilates and yoga to strengthen your entire body, including your core and pelvic floor, and keep you flexible as your pregnancy progresses. $15, shop.livehappilyeveractive.com
  • Shannon Miller Lifestyle Fit Pregnancy A series of full-body prenatal workouts that combine strength training, core and balance work. There's also a postnatal belly blast section. $20, shannonmillerlifestyle.com
  • Patricia Friberg Belly Beautiful Workout Volume 1 This challenging prenatal workout uses balls and bands and focuses on core and upper-body strength; moving quickly from one exercise to another increases the car- diovascular benefits. $20, bellybeautifulworkout.com
  • Let's Dance Together Prenatal Dance Fitness A fun workout combining free-form dance, yoga and breathing to keep you strong, flexible and centered. The labor-prep portion teaches stress-release and mental-focus techniques. $20, letsdancetogether.net

Get more of our favorite pregnancy workout DVDs.

close