Health & Family

So you're pregnant – don't let your body go

Pregnancy isn't the time to start a rigorous exercise routine. Nor is it a time to just sit around, eating for two.

Exercise during pregnancy has been shown to keep your muscles in shape and your heart strong. Plus it helps relieve basic discomforts of pregnancy such as achy legs and morning sickness. So say the folks at Discovery Health (health.discovery.com).

That said, we asked members of the Dallas Running Club how they stayed in shape, or are staying in shape, while pregnant. You may not be training for a marathon, but the principles still apply. And, as always, walking scores high marks.

A caveat: Check with a doctor first. Dallas Morning News

1. Review your fitness goals, says Libby Jones, 28, president of the group. “Weight loss and pushing yourself further or harder just have to be off the list.”

2. Start a program before you get pregnant. Ashley Givens, 31, started running almost a year before she got pregnant. She ran through her seventh month, then slowed to a walk and finally, she says, “a waddle.” Keeping up with her routine helped her body recover from the birth process.

3. Listen to your body. “Muscles and joints will start to shift as your tummy grows, and this leaves you at increased risk of injury,” Jones says.

4. Don't use your heart rate to gauge your efforts. It's elevated already because of pregnancy, says Tammi Neil, 29, who is five months pregnant. “Instead, put forth a comfortable level of exertion. If you can be conversational while doing the activity, you are generally fine.”

5. Focus on what you're able to do. If you can't run as fast as you could pre-pregnancy, so be it. You're walking around the block a few times every night, right? Sounds pretty good – for you and for your baby.

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