Balance has never been more important than now. Each month as your belly grows your balance changes because of the increased forward weight and girth. Doing everyday simple tasks like getting out of the car and picking things up off the floor are now complex and challenging. Going down a flight of stairs when you can’t see your feet is like an Olympic sport! With loose joints from hormonal changes and added weight, improved balance will serve you well and tone your body at the same time. Avoiding falls becomes more important each month into your pregnancy and feeling secure in your surroundings will give you peace of mind. These simple, but effective exercises will give you the balance you need and tone your muscles at the same time. This program can be done daily on your living room floor. Let’s get started!
What you’ll need- An exercise mat of any kind, a chair or counter to help you with support when necessary.
1. Finding your correct posture- To begin stand against a wall with your shoulders back and close your eyes. Feel what good posture is like with this support behind you. Then slowly edge away from the wall and maintain the upright standing position. This is how you will begin and maintain good posture while you proceed to the next exercises.
2. One foot balance- Standing next to a counter or chair for support if you need it, balance on one foot by tucking the opposite foot behind the supporting foot. Find a spot on the floor approximately 6 feet away from you to look at which will help you balance. Once you feel secure in your balance close your eyes. Try to balance for 15 seconds. Repeat with other leg.
3. Leg extensions- Remembering this sense of balance, lift your knee up as high as you can without scooping your pelvis. Usually your thigh will be parallel to the floor or lower. Hands are at your waist. Extend your leg straight with a flexed foot and then bend it again. Repeat 15 to 25 times. Do not lower your leg. If you lose your balance hold onto the chair or counter and then let go when you have regained your balance. Switch legs and repeat.
4. Ballet lunges- Stand upright and rotate your thighs outward from your body (heels together, toes apart). Be arms reach to a counter or chair for support if necessary. Put hands on your hips. Extend right leg out straight in front of you keeping the leg turned out and point the toe. Lunge forward by bending the front and back knee. Keep your body upright and don’t lean forward. Push off the front foot with a straight leg and pointed toe to bring you back up. Repeat 15 to 25 times. Switch legs and repeat.
5. Table top holds- On the mat get into table top position (hands and knees on mat). Make sure your hands are under your shoulders and your knees are below your hips. Slowly extend your right arm straight out in front of you, palm facing floor. Then extend your left leg out straight behind you- keep your hip bones facing the mat. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.
6. Side arm lifts- Start in table top position. Extend your right arm to the side of you, palm facing the floor. Without moving your hips to the side, slowly lift your arm up allowing your upper spine to bend and your head to follow. Hold 15 to 30 seconds. Switch sides.
7. Hip flexor holds- On the mat, balance up on your knees. Bring your right foot forward in a 90 degree angle. Knee stays slightly behind the toe. Raise your arms straight up putting palms together. Hold 15 to 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
These balance exercises can be added to your exercise routine and will give you results fast. As you master each you can add more repetitions or more time. As you progress try harder to not use the support of the chair or counter which will increase the intensity and give you results faster. These exercises are designed to be done slowly and precise. Going to fast and not maintaining form will only make the exercises harder to accomplish so give yourself the time to do each of them correctly.