“The Mood Booster” - Feel Positive in 5 Minutes! Good for Stress, Anxiety Relief and Depression
1. When You're Feeling Stressed
"Do modified-interval work," says Cram. Break up a 30-minute walk into an 8-minute warm-up, then 30 seconds of fast walking, followed by a few minutes of walking at your regular pace. Do this several times throughout your workout. "You're training your body to push slightly higher than normal, which helps dispel some of those stress hormones, release endorphins, and improve your mood."
See more: A trimester-by-trimester walking workout
Try this with running (if you're already a runner), bicycling, or even while using an exercise DVD. Cram suggests starting out the first few times with three interval sessions, and, over several weeks, increasing to four or five times throughout your workout.
See more: One of these DVDs is perfect for you
"When you're crazed, do prenatal Pilates or prenatal yoga," says Kristin McGee, a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor who is currently pregnant. "Both are mind and body forms of exercise and they will help you focus, de-stress, and connect with your breath and your baby."
See more: Safe yoga poses for pregnant women
2. When You're Feeling Anxious
Need to burn off steam? Try strength training, advises Cram. "Use your own body weight as resistance or incorporate resistance bands."
See more: Safe weight lifting techniques
McGee suggests taking a dance class, like prenatal Zumba, or a spin class (if you're already accustomed to spinning) when worries seem overwhelming. "The music and atmosphere will calm your nerves and the movement will blow off steam and anxiety. You'll have so much fun, you'll forget you were anxious!"
See more: Prenatal classes to try
3. When You're Feeling Social
Want to burn calories and have a gabfest with your friend? This is the perfect time to do it!
"My favorite exercises for pregnancy are ones that are social because having a buddy can improve compliancy about 90 percent," says Cram.
She recommends stroller walking with your friend if you have little ones and taking your walk indoors to the mall when the weather is bad. Break up your buddy walk with stretching and toning exercises like those found on FitDeck's Prenatal Exercise cards (.95, shop.fitdeck.com).
4. When You're Exhausted
If you're tired and don't feel like exercising, just do what appeals to you the most in that moment, says Cram. That might be stretching, a short walk, breathing exercises, or even a relaxing yoga DVD. "Do something very gentle that feels like caretaking to help you feel rejuvenated. It should be an activity that makes you feel good."
She also recommends swimming for when you're feeling very tired, especially in your third trimester. "The hydrostatic pressure helps with swelling, takes pressure off the joints, and it can feel almost spa-like!"
See more: Pool workout moves >>
5. When You're In A Great Mood
"If you're feeling happy and want a fun experience, take a tennis lesson or go for a bike ride. Doing something that engages all of your senses...will make you feel confident and enjoy the fun, happy mood you're in," says McGee. "This is the perfect time to shake up your routine and try something new! Experiment with a new piece of equipment, try trail walking, or swap your walk for a bike ride," says Cram.
Video: 5 Daily Habits that Boost Your Confidence and Improve Your Mood
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