Experts divide all exercise into three categories, all of them important, and all of them a little different now that you’re working out for two.
Cardio fitness during pregnancy:
This category includes any exercise that gives your heart and lungs a good workout, such as walking, running, or swimming. Cardio workouts provide the most health benefits — plus burn the most calories (calories you get to cash in later at the smoothie bar). Pregnant women should do these workouts at moderate (if you’re less fit) to harder (if you’re used to exercising) intensity, working up to at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week. For some women, gauging the intensity of a workout isn’t easy. If you exercise at a pace that’s too light, you’ll cheat yourself out of some health benefits; if you push yourself too hard, you run the risk of overheating, dehydration, and fatigue — which can also set you up for injuries, not to mention pregnancy problems.
Strength training during pregnancy:
Lifting weights strengthen muscles and bones. The more muscle mass a woman has, the higher her metabolism (and the more she gets to eat without gaining weight — another excuse to stop at the smoothie bar). While weight training is fine for pregnant women, you may need to scale back the amount of weight you’ve been lifting, and increase the number of repetitions: Because of increased flexibility in your joints and ligaments, it’s easier to injure yourself. Also, make sure that you don’t hold your breath when lifting weights.
Flexibility exercises during pregnancy: Stretching (simple stretches, yoga, Pilates) is a pregnant woman’s best friend, easing leg cramps, back strain, and sore shoulders. But stretch with caution — because of the increased relaxation of ligaments during pregnancy, you will need to be careful — those relaxed joints can trick you into straining a muscle.