Ok so your doctor has sentenced you to an indefinite period of bed rest, which means from now until you deliver your baby, you can’t walk or workout to your favorite DVD. Unfortunately, this can lead to loss of muscle strength and mass, which can cause prolonged labors, difficulty pushing and the inability to care for yourself and your baby post partum.The good news is, there are ways to keep up your strength horizontally, as long as it’s approved by your doctor.
Things You'll Need
- Optional hand weights or resistance tubing
- Optional ankle weights
With a headboard and a couple of pillows propping you up, try shoulder rolls and head circles. They will help to loosen joints.
Isometric exercises, which is the tightening and relaxing of major muscles such as the triceps, shoulders, back, chest, legs, buttocks, and abdominals, are great for improving circulation. These can be done with or without resistance such as hand weights or soup cans or resistance tubing and it can all be done in bed.
Depending on the type of bed rest you are on, you can try wall push ups. Sit facing a wall and place your hands shoulder height and shoulder distance apart on it. Inhale as you lower your head and chest to the wall and then exhale as you push away.
Kegel exercises involve tightening the urinary passage. It controls urine flow and can be of great help during and after labor. The goal is to do between 20 to 50 of these per day. Basically, you tighten the muscle for three seconds, then release and relax for three seconds before starting again. They can be done while lying flat on your back or sitting. This can be done anywhere.
Pelvic tilts not only tone the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles, it also relieves tension from the back. Lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat, exhale and tilt your pelvis upward. Tighten your abdominals, squeeze your butt and make sure that the small of your back is flattened against the floor or whatever surface you are on. Hold, count to five and inhale as you release.
Leg slides add a bit more to your pelvic tilts. While in a pelvic tilt, inhale and slowly slide one heel up the floor or bed. Hold for a second, exhale and slowly lower the leg. Repeat on the other side.
Leg raises can be done to the front and side, which will strengthen all the muscles in the legs and buttocks. This depends on your fitness level and the type of bed rest you are on and they can also be done with ankle weights for added resistance.
To enhance the circulation in your legs and feet, try ankle circles. This is simple enough, just rotate your ankles clockwise, then counter-clockwise, for about 10 to 15 times.
Tips & Warnings
- Do the exercises slowly and with focus.
- The recommended repetition for exercises like the leg raises, legs slides and others is between eight to 10. However, if you find yourself unable to do that many, go with what makes you comfortable. The same for if you are energized and want to do more.
- When doing leg raises, make sure to hold your abdominal muscles tight as you raise and lower your legs to avoid injury to the lower back.
- Start with no more than three to four of the strengthening exercises per day
- Close out your routine with a large glass of water or juice.
- Do not attempt any of these exercises without first getting advice from your doctor.
- Do not arch your back while performing pelvic tilts.
- Photo Credit http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2007/03/25/style/22fitn.1.ready.html
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