Pregnancy Articles

Exercising Without the Gym

Home Workouts: Convenient and Effective

Since you've become pregnant, your have read everything you can get your hands on about making this the best pregnancy ever. It's a good bet that you've learned how beneficial it is to exercise, but would rather save your money than spend it on a gym membership.

The good news is that you can get a great workout in the comfort of your own home-by spending little to no money. First get your doctor's OK to exercise at least 30 minutes, on most or all days of the week, throughout your pregnancy. This half-hour session can include cardiovascular work, stretching, and strengthening.

Without access to a treadmill, bike, elliptical trainer, or other cardio equipment, the best way to get your exercise is to go for a walk. Be sure to put on a pair of supportive shoes before you hit the road. Walk for 10-15 minutes and gradually increase your time as much as you feel comfortable. Swimming is another easy and fun way to get aerobic exercise.

For the stretching and strengthening, pick and choose exercises from the following lists. Try to do what you feel comfortable with, and vary your routine on a weekly basis to avoid boredom-when you enjoy working out, you're more likely to stick with it. You can do the stretching and strengthening on the same day or on opposite days, but both are important.


Hold each stretch gently for 15-20 seconds, and repeat 2-3 times. Don't bounce or overstretch!

Seated Hamstring Stretch: Sit on the floor with right leg extended, and left knee bent, tucking your left foot in toward your groin. Lean forward, keeping back straight, until a stretch is felt in the back of the thigh. Switch sides.

Standing Hamstring Stretch: Place one foot on a step or chair, toe pointing up. Keeping back straight, lean forward until a stretch is felt in the back of the thigh. Switch sides.

Groin/Hamstring Stretch: Sit with legs open like a V, shoulders back, abs in. Bending from the waist and keeping the spine straight, slide hands forward on the ground until stretch is felt. Try to relax with each outward breath. In later pregnancy, you can sit on a book to keep your stomach from hitting the floor. You can also stretch with a partner by sitting across from one another and grasping hands; one person leans back as the other leans forward.

Stretch for Adductors: With feet wide, toes pointing out, squat down without letting heels come off the ground. (Hold onto a table for balance if necessary.) Place elbows inside knees and hands on the ground. Gently push knees outward until a stretch is felt. Try to do 5 kegel/pelvic floor contractions while in this position.
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About The Author

Sara Hambidge
Sara, a graduate of Saint Louis University's Physical Therapy Program, practices at a sports medicine clinic in Cincinnati. A certified prenatal and postpartum exercise instructor, Sara is also a proud mother of one.
Sara Hambidge

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