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Exercising Through Your Pregnancy: What to Do on the Lighter Days

It's a fantastic idea to exercise during pregnancy. As long as you listen closely to your body, you might find that challenging yourself can help you feel happier, more energetic and more refreshed.

It's important to keep in mind, however, that you will need to honor your lighter days. Perhaps you're feeling a little more tired or you engaged in a heavy workout the day before and need to let yourself recover.

Never fear—there are still things you can do on your slower days. As long as you have been cleared by your doctor and you know your body well, there are several moves that will work you out on a slightly slower, smaller scale.

Short Walks

Walking is a great low-impact way to raise your heart rate a bit and get some fresh air. Many of us don't have the time to walk for 20 to 30 minutes at a time, but breaking that into two ten- to 15-minute walks can be equally effective. Just be sure to drink water, especially if the weather is warm.

Easy Planks

If your body still feels O.K. doing planks they can be an excellent choice. One of my favorite versions of a low plank—one done on your forearms—involves lifting both knees up and down to the beat of music. You can also alternate touching each knee to the ground. Take breaks whenever you feel the need.


Your hips can get pretty tight as your pregnancy progresses. I am personally a big fan of stretching while watching my favorite TV show. Next time you're in your living room, try sitting on the ground with your feet together and your knees falling open to each side. Lift up in your spine and lean forward while coaxing your knees down to the ground. If you put your hands on your feet, try gently pushing each knee down with an elbow.

Arm Exercises

Grab two full water bottles or two larger soup cans. Hold one in each hand and reach your arms out to each side. Keeping your chest lifted, abs pulled in and shoulders anchored down the back, try these moves:

  • Circle your arms back 20 times, then circle them forward 20 times.
  • Keeping your arms outstretched to the sides, with your palms facing forward, pulse the arms up and down 20 times.
  • Lean forward and reach both arms behind your body with your palms facing the ceiling. (Keep your chest reaching forward so that you're not hunching your shoulders.) Keeping your arms straight and lifted behind you, pulse them up and down 40 times.

Rest and Breathe

Sometimes rest is the best thing you can do when you're pregnant. Your body will tell you when to slow down and it's a good idea to listen. As you get further along in your pregnancy, you might find that your breathing becomes a little restricted and you might even feel a bit dizzy sometimes. Use your down time as a chance to sit quietly and focus on taking deep, wide breaths. Imagine filling a balloon all the way down to the base of your back. Picture it filling out wide to each side of your lower back like wings.

Mahri Relin

Mahri Relin was a professional dancer and performer in New York City before creating her own dance-based fitness method, Body Conceptions. She was a trainer at the Tracy Anderson Method and then served as the Creative Director for FlyBarre at Flywheel Sports as it grew and developed nationally. In her private training practice, Mahri began to realize that a special fusion of the dance and fitness principles she practiced led to amazing results and also created a workout that engaged and energized her clients. Mahri is a NASM certified personal trainer and a AFPA Pre/Post Natal Exercise Specialist. She is a graduate of Williams College, and she holds a masters in Clinical Psychology.

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