Prenatal Pilates: The Ideal Exercise for Pregnant Women

Exercising during pregnancy can be extremely beneficial both physically and mentally. Regular exercise can keep you and your baby healthy, while helping to prevent the discomforts brought on by poor posture and fatigue.

Pilates is a great exercise for pregnant women as it is low impact, and doesn’t put a lot of pressure on your joints.  At Zero Gravity Fitness, we offer Prenatal Pilates classes that are designed to accommodate pregnant women. Pilates is easily adapted throughout the stages of your pregnancy. We can adjust the program to you, so you always feel the benefits of the movements – even with your changing body.

Prenatal Pilates is a safe form of exercise that many pregnant women are already taking advantage of during, and even after pregnancy. Pilates offers pregnant women with a unique set of tools that helps them adjust to the emotional and physical changes that are involved during pregnancy, which is what makes it the ideal exercise for pregnant women.

One of the main keys of prenatal Pilates is to strengthen rather than to stretch, as joints are very prone to instability. When you are pregnant, the lower back and hips begin to compress and tighten, a lot of weight gain begins to be apparent, and the body’s blood supply increases. These issues can all be addressed with the help of Pilates, which is designed to reap many physical benefits – opens the hips, decompresses the low back, lifts the shoulder girdle up off the ribs, promotes better circulation and breath, allows less strain on the neck and back and allows more space for the organs.

As you can tell, prenatal Pilates is the route to take if you are pregnant, as this exercise is designed specifically for the changing body of a pregnant woman. It even helps women recover their bodies after giving birth. This exercise targets key muscles and strengthen the muscles that will help during labor, delivery and recovery. It is truly a one-of-a-kind exercise program that every pregnant woman should try.

Women who exercise regularly prior to becoming pregnant are encouraged to maintain their level of exercise throughout their pregnancy. Women who are new to exercise should consult with a physician before starting a new exercise regimen.

Zero Gravity Fitness in Ocoee, Fla., offers 30 minutes Prenatal Pilates classes, but written consent from your OB-GYN is required before you can participate.  Contact Zero Gravity Fitness today to learn more about our Prenatal Pilates classes, and to find out if Prenatal Pilates is right for you.

What you should know before choosing a Pilates studio

You’ve heard about Pilates, and you are ready to give it a try.  The next step is an important one.  Choosing the right Pilates studio can make or break your experience.

When entering into any exercise program, the experience and quality of the training is of the utmost importance.  Because of the unique nature of Pilates, and the lack of oversight in the industry, it is extremely important that new students research potential studios before making a decision on the perfect fit for their individual needs.

The following tips for choosing a studio should help you get started on the right path:

How long has the studio been in business?  Experience matters.  A well-established studio means repeat clientele and a solid reputation.  Before paying for services, review the business’s history and read testimonials.

Is the studio equipped with all of the equipment necessary for the complete Pilates experience?  Pilates is a very complex form of exercise that requires specialized equipment.  Beware of studios that cut corners by offering limited services.

Is the studio sanitary? Tour the studio before committing.  The environment should be clean and well maintained.  Pilates is usually done barefoot and equipment is shared throughout the day.  Make sure the studio has a strong focus on cleanliness.

How comprehensive is the instructor training?  Be sure to ask if the instructors are certified on all of the equipment. Each piece of equipment offers unique exercises that are chosen for the individual client’s needs. Instructors should be proficient in the Mat, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair and Barrels.  A respectable studio will be willing to give the name of the program that each instructor has attended.  There are many certifications out there, but few are considered reputable within the industry.

What are the studio’s requirements for joining a group setting?  If the studio is looking out for your benefit, and not a quick sale, they should require at least one introductory session before allowing students to join a group setting.  Making sure students are adequately prepared for a group shows responsible instruction and professional integrity.

Is the consent form and questionnaire in depth enough to highlight a client’s potential needs?  It is essential that the instructor is aware of any conditions or injuries a student may have.  Improper programming can lead to injury.

Does the studio’s schedule work with your schedule?  If making appointments or scheduling classes becomes difficult, chances are you will not be consistent.  Make sure to choose a studio that fits your scheduling needs.

Finally, trust your instincts.  After visiting a studio and talking with instructors, you should feel at ease and excited about getting on your way to wellness!

Men And Pilates

While more women than men have practiced Pilates in recent years, more and more men are discovering its benefits and using Pilates to become healthier, more fit and gain increased vitality. Male professional athletes routinely utilize Pilates to improve their flexibility and focus, and the practice, once considered not macho enough for male athletes, is gaining male converts in droves. At Zero Gravity Fitness in Ocoee, our professional, highly trained and friendly staff can teach you the benefits of Pilates, whether you are new to the practice or a long-time devotee. Men’s Fitness magazine recently reported on the benefits that Pilates can bring to men who may have been hesitant to try the program. While Pilates can be difficult, men who accept the challenging program can see benefits in many areas and improve their performance – from weightlifting and distance running to better overall health and well-being. Pilates exercises are subtle and concentrated movements that can help men and women. Men’s Fitness offered five areas where men especially can benefit. They include:

  • Strengthening muscles that have long been neglected:

Some muscles dominate everyday movements and thus are stronger than other muscles. With Pilates, you can focus on muscles that are often overlooked and do not get the attention they deserve. Pilates allows you to purposely move with motions designed to build muscles that you don’t develop while lifting weights.

  • Better flexibility:

Generally speaking, if your total muscle mass is pretty big, it’s likely that your flexibility suffers. With Pilates, you can focus on stretching. These movements help prevent sports and other injuries, including many muscle strains, while also improving your overall range of motion.

  • Creating better core strength:

Pilates exercises turn the spotlight on your core and help produce and increase limb movement. Pilates also focuses on transverse abdominal muscles, the base abdominal muscle located under your six-pack.

  • Improving focus:

Pilates is designed to increase your ability to pay attention. Focusing on breathing while performing each movement and concentration on proper form are key to Pilates success. If done correctly, a Pilates session should make you feel refreshed and relaxed, feelings which should carry into the day and even longer in some cases.

  • An enhanced sex life:
  • Pilates bolsters your core and the pelvic region. Experts report men who practice Pilates have more control over this part of the body and that regular Pilates workouts can improve your performance in the bedroom.

Millions of people around the world practice Pilates, with more and more men joining in each day. If you are interested in learning more about Pilates and how it can help you achieve better health and become more vital and into life, contact the professionals at Zero Gravity today.

Pregnancy and Exercise

For decades, pregnant women were advised to rest, take it easy and avoid any strenuous activity in the months leading up to the birth of their children.

While some women with medical issues are advised to stay off their feet and rest, many mothers-to-be are hitting the gym to stay in shape – which is good for them, and their babies.

At Zero Gravity Fitness in Ocoee, we offer prenatal Pilates and other programs for pregnant women to help them stay healthy and active as they prepare to give birth.

The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota reports that simply sitting around while you are pregnant is not the best route for women to take, even if exercise has never been part of their lives.

Why should women exercise when pregnant? Here are some key reasons:

  • Reduce or eliminate back pain and other aches and pains that come while pregnant.
  • Improve your mood and boost your energy.
  • Sleep longer and more soundly.
  • Fight off weight gain.
  • Bolster stamina and increase your muscle strength.

Exercising while pregnant can also cut the risk of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. It also can help ward off symptoms of postpartum depression. Your unborn child also can benefit from your exercise regimen before he or she comes into the world by decreasing the chance your baby is born with larger than average size, known as fetal macrosomia. While exercising while pregnant is a positive move for many women, it can cause health problems for others and complicate pregnancies. Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen.

Some health issues that may keep you from exercising while pregnant include:

  • Lung or heart disease.
  • High blood pressure related to your pregnancy.
  • Cervical issues.
  • Vaginal bleeding.
  • Early labor during prior pregnancy.
  • Multiple pregnancy risk of preterm labor.

For most pregnant women, a moderate amount of exercise is fine, with a half hour workout recommended most days of the week. Walking is an easy and fun way to start because if offers a moderate aerobic workout and does not stress your joints. Other attractive workout choices are swimming, low-impact aerobics or riding a stationary bike. Lifting weights is fine – just stay away from the heavy numbers. Like everyone who exercises, warm up and cool down, and drink enough fluids to stay hydrated. The Mayo Clinic offers guidelines for the various fitness levels

Depending on your fitness history, consider these guidelines:

If it’s been a good while since you have exercised, start slowly. Five minutes a day is fine to start. Increase that time to 10 minutes, then to 15 and so on as your body adjusts and becomes stronger.

Before you know it, you will be up to the half-hour mark. If you exercised prior to becoming pregnant, you can stay at your current workout level while pregnant. But if you don’t feel right at some point, stop and check with your doctor.

Nine months of pregnancy does not have to mean nine months of couch potato inactivity.

Contact Zero Gravity Fitness to learn how you can stay in shape for a smoother and happier pregnancy.

Zero Gravity Fitness