Do you skip warm-ups and cut out before cool-downs? Warming up before a workout and cooling down afterward is always important – but it’s even more so when exercising during pregnancy, as safety is critical for you and your baby.
My Emily Skye FIT Pregnancy program is designed to keep you moving safely through each trimester of pregnancy – and warm ups and cool downs play a key role in every workout.
So before you hit play on your next session, I want you to learn to love warm-ups and cool-downs. Here’s why they should be an essential part of your pregnancy workout routine, approved by Phoebe Armfield, women's health physiologist.
1. The emphasis in my FIT Pregnancy warm-ups is on getting the blood moving around your body, the synovial fluid moving around your joints to reduce friction and inflammation and to get your muscles ready by running through the exercise patterns coming up in the workout.
2. Gradually increasing your heart rate and circulation is a much safer way to exercise than surprising your body with a sudden period of physical exertion. When you kick off a workout without warming up properly, your body will not be able to pump oxygen and nutrients around your body – and to the baby – efficiently.
3. Increasing circulation before you put too much impact on your limbs and joints means that your muscles have time to warm up and protect your joints – making you less prone to injury.
4. Warming up will increase the amount of oxygen in your body, which in turn will give you more energy for your exercise. This is especially important in your second and third trimesters when you’re likely to feel more out of breath while exercising.
1. The aim of my FIT Pregnancy cool-downs is to gradually bring your heart rate and breathing back to their normal level. If you were to simply stop exercising abruptly and go home or sit down, this would cause blood to get trapped in your muscles, reducing blood supply to other parts of your body – including your baby.
2. Cooling down will reduce your chances of post-exercise aches and pains, and injury.
3. Your cool-down should not be difficult or strenuous – it should help you to feel calm and relaxed as it slowly brings your heart rate down. Think of it as a little slice of post-workout mindfulness and a good chance to check in with how you’re feeling. Remember, if you are doing any stretches on the floor, get up slowly and carefully to avoid dizziness.
The other big bonus of warming up and cooling down before your workouts is the fact you can enjoy your session knowing you’re putting the safety of yourself and your bub first.
Always consult your healthcare professional before beginning any new exercise program, as there are some situations where exercise may not be advised. This information should be used as a guide only and should not replace the advice of your medical practitioner.
Emily Skye is a strength training expert and the face of FIT, the digital fitness app that helps women worldwide build strength and confidence, stay active through pregnancy and rebuild post-pregnancy. Emily holds a Certificate IV in Fitness and Master Trainer qualification from the Australian Institute of Fitness. She is also co-founder of James Cosmetics and a mother of two.
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