[Article] Stretches: Eight ways to loosen up and relax during pregnancy

Source: http://www.babycenter.com/refcap/pregnancy/pregnancyfitness/588.html



These eight stretches will enhance your flexibility, prevent your muscles from tightening, and make you look and feel great.


Use them after a workout as a way to cool down, or just when you need
to relax. Be sure to breathe deeply and regularly as you stretch.



Shoulder circles

These movements may be done standing or seated.

• Rotate your shoulders forward, up, back, and down in the largest circle you can make.

• Reverse the direction.

Repeat 4 times in each direction.

Arm stretch

• Stand and interlace your fingers behind your lower back.

• Pull your arms up as far as they can go toward the ceiling, then lower them toward your buttocks.

Release and repeat 8 to 10 times.

Standing back stretch

• Stand with your feet about a foot apart.

• Bend your knees slightly while rolling your head and torso forward and down, one vertabrae at a time, toward the floor.

• Return
to a standing position by slowly rolling back up one vertabrae at a
time and straightening your knees. (Keep your weight centered on both
feet.)

Repeat 8 to 10 times.

Note: As your pregnancy
progresses you’ll need to make adjustments for your growing belly. You
may want to avoid this stretch when you get too big to bend over
comfortably.

Waist twist

• Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart for stability.

• Extend both of your arms toward your left side while looking over your right shoulder.

• Repeat the motion while looking over your left shoulder.

• Increase
your speed so your arms swing from side to side. Don’t get carried
away, however. You may lose your balance if you swing too quickly.

Wall push-up and calf stretch

• Stand about 2 feet from a wall with your arms extended forward in front of your shoulders.

• Reach your hands to the wall and lean forward, bending your elbows as your body tilts.

• Keep
your heels on the floor to stretch your calf muscles. (Don’t do this
exercise in socks or slippery shoes; you want your feet to stay put.)

• Push slowly away from the wall to straighten up. Repeat 8 to 10 times.

Sitting back stretch

• Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out parallel in front of you.

• Slowly
drop your head toward your knees and stretch your fingers along your
legs as far as they will comfortably go. As your belly gets bigger
you’ll need to make adjustments.

• Sit up slowly. Repeat 8 to 10 times.

Thigh stretch

• Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out parallel in front of you.

• Cross your right ankle over your left knee.

• Use your left hand to pull your right thigh toward the left, stretching the outside of the right leg.

Increase the twist by looking over your right shoulder. Hold for one
minute. Repeat 8 to 10 times. Switch sides. As your belly gets bigger
you’ll have to make adjustments. Do what feels comfortable.

Leg stretch

• Lie on your left side with your head on a pillow or folded towel.

• Bend your left leg at the knee while keeping your right leg straight. Use your right hand on the floor as a brace.

• Stretch your right leg as you lift it toward the ceiling, then lower it to the floor.


• Repeat 4 times, then switch sides.

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