A new prenatal workout will help you dance through your next nine months.
Try to do this workout at least 3 days a week. Alternate with some form of cardio exercise: walking, swimming, mild hiking on flat trails or riding a stationary bike.
1. centering Purpose: to get centered before you exercise. Stand with feet about 6–8 inches apart. Slowly rock forward onto the balls of your feet, then backward onto the heels, until you sense that your weight is evenly distributed — half on the balls, half on the heels. Bend forward at your hips, but don’t lock your knees or ankles. Then rock from side to side. Don’t try to hold your head up. Release tension in your neck, shoulders and arms. Relax your abdomen and inhale. Exhale by hissing and contracting the abdomen. Repeat.
2. swaying Purpose: to relax and stay centered while moving. Gently push down on your right foot while taking a small step to the left with your left foot, leg slightly bent. Push off the left foot and return to center, bringing in the left foot. Do this move to the right and left, then forward, backward and diagonally. Inhale when you step out; exhale when you return to center. Arms should flow with the movement. Repeat the pattern 3 times; center in between.
3. aerobics for labor prep Purpose: to increase aerobic fitness through breathing and movement. After swaying, increase your range of motion by taking steps forward and back and side to side, even crossovers (grapevines). Then try this: Step forward on a diagonal with your left foot, extending left arm out (A). Place your weight on your left foot and tap your right toes behind your left, extending left arm upward (B). Take a step backward with your right foot, rocking hips backward, arms following (C). Place your weight on your right foot and tap your left toes in front of your right foot, arms swinging back (D). Step sideways with your left foot, arms following, and sway side to side (E). Repeat, starting in the other direction. Once you have learned the steps, tilt and rock your pelvis as you move. Work on getting your heart rate up and pay attention to your breathing.
4. cardio kick Purpose: to add intensity and work your legs. Step sideways with your left foot, raise your right knee toward your hip, then extend your leg out and forward as if kicking a door closed. Alternate by stepping sideways in the other direction and kicking with your other leg. Do 2 sets of 4–8 kicks with each leg.
5. real-life moves Purpose: to create fitness movements out of everyday tasks — making beds, mowing the lawn. This allows you to work with familiar motions to stay fit. Start in a split lunge position, 1 foot in front of the other and hip-width apart, rear heel lifted. Bend down and forward at your hips as if to pick up something (A), then straighten legs, reaching hands upward as if to toss something or unfurl a sheet (B). Do 4 times, then switch legs and repeat.