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    The 15-Minute Pregnancy Workout You Can Do At Home

    Joanie Johnson, certified personal trainer and founder of Fit Pregnancy Club in New York City, says these exercises are safe for most pregnant women—provided you get your doctor’s okay.

    Time: 10 Minutes | Equipment: 2-4.5 kg Dumbbell | Good For: Total Body

    Instructions: Start with a five-minute warmup to get your heart rate up (march in place, step from side to side, etc.) For each exercise move, perform the reps as directed. Then continue to the next move. Repeat entire circuit more than once for a longer workout. Finish with a five-minute cool-down and stretches.

    READ MORE: Everything You Need To Know About Working Out While Pregnant

    Pump and kegel

    How to do the exercise: Stand up straight, with your hands over your belly. Slowly inhale using your diaphragm and release your core muscles. Then, use your ab muscles to hug the baby towards your body (imagine you’re trying to zip up a pair of pants that are too tight). gently lift your pelvic floor muscles at the same time. Inhale and release your abdominals and pelvic floor muscles. That’s one rep. Perform 20 reps, continue to the next move.

    Dancer’s triceps

    How to do the exercise: Stand with your feet spread out, wider than hip-width. Point your left foot away from your body, and right foot forward. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, arms bent, dumbbells near your shoulders. Slowly bend your left knee as far as you can, without letting your knee go past your foot. As you do, extend your right arm to the ground, then away from your body, engaging your triceps. Return to start. That’s one rep. Perform 20 reps on each side. Continue to the next move.

    Biceps Curl

    How to do the exercise: Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides, palms facing forward, and keep your back straight and chest up. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the weights toward your shoulders. Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position, straightening your arms completely. That’s one rep. Perform 10 to 15 reps, continue to the next move.

    Lunge pulse with overhead press

    How to do the exercise: Stand with your left foot forward and your right foot a couple of feet behind. With a dumbbell in each hand, press your arm overhead as you drop into a lunge position. Return to start and repeat on the right side. Perform 10 reps on each side, continue to the next move.


    How to do the exercise: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in front of your chest, elbows pointing toward the floor. Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a squat. Lower the dumbbell to the floor at the same time. Push yourself back to start. That’s one rep. Perform 10 to 15 reps, continue to the next move.

    Side-lying leg extension

    How to do the exercise: Lie on your left side and place your left forearm on the floor. Bend your knees and stack your right leg on top of your left leg, with your left hip resting on the ground. Extend your right leg straight and behind your body. Return to start. That’s one rep. Perform 15 to 20 reps, then repeat on the other side. Continue to the next move.


    How to do the exercise: Lie on your left side and place your left forearm on the floor. Bend your knees and stack your right leg on top of your left leg, with your left hip resting on the ground. Rotate your right knee towards the ceiling, keeping your feet together. Lower your leg, keeping your hips raised throughout. That’s one rep. Perform 20 reps, then repeat on the other side. Continue to the next move.

    Triceps Dip

    How to do the exercise: Sit with your hands stacked directly under your shoulders, fingers forward. Place your feet on the floor, knees bent. Keeping your arms straight, hover your butt above the ground. Bend your arms and lower your butt, stopping when you nearly reach the floor. Push yourself back up to starting position. That’s one rep. Perform 10 reps. Repeat entire sequence two to three times, as preferred.

    This article was originally published on  More

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    “I’m Fit But Had A Rocky Pregnancy — Here’s How I Stayed In Shape”

    Being pregnant is a journey with its ups and downs. That’s how it was for fitness influencer Ophela Mhlauli, who kept up her workouts throughout the journey. Here’s how she adjusted her fitness while pregnant.

    Ophela Mhlauli’s first trimester

    When Ophela, 25, found out she was pregnant, her first trimester didn’t go as easily as she’d hoped. Instead of feeling blissful, she spent most of her time resting because of morning sickness that lasted most of the day. “I need people to know that there is the good and the bad to that, you know, and we need to just stop sugar-coating it so much,” she says. “It is a wonderful journey. However, it also has its own obstacles.”

    One of those obstacles was her difficulty keeping any food down. For the first trimester, she subsisted on ice, frozen drinks and a little fruit. “I could not stomach anything. That was what was so frustrating,” she recalls.

    Added to that, her energy levels were low and her workouts, which she’s so well known for on Instagram, took a knock. Instead, Ophela turned to light swims in the pool. “I would go for a swim, for forty-five minutes, maybe an hour, depending on how I felt,” she says.

    The second trimester

    By the time her second trimester started in November, Ophela’s energy levels started coming back, along with her appetite. “From then I just really started enjoying my pregnancy because I could eat anything and everything that I wanted,” she says.

    “Pregnancy just changed everything. It just took me back,” she says. Ophela would find herself wanting to eat foods from her childhood, like Maltabella, masi, meat and potatoes and infuse it with her usual healthy foods, like broccoli, brown rice and asparagus. She also loved to mix potatoes with spinach and cabbage, as she had in her childhood.

    For her workouts, her energy levels and doctor gave her the go-ahead to train the way she’d been doing before pregnancy. She returned to cardio and weighted workouts. “ I would do some squats, weighted squats. I would do walking lunges. I would do single-leg deadlifts,” she says.

    The third trimester

    By the third trimester, her baby was growing and so was she. She kept at her workouts, but scaled them down to keep her heart rate in check. “I told myself that I’m just going to go with the flow, whatever it is, that is within my control,” she says. This involved light, simple weighted workouts, like squats with a Bosu ball and simple dumbbell presses. She’d also stick to swimming with her flippers on and did walks on the treadmill.

    Looking back, Ophela thinks of her pregnancy with mixed feelings. “I can overall describe my pregnancy as a little both rocky (in the beginning because of the sickness) and a walk in the park (after the sickness),” she says.

    To others, she advises to take things as they come and listen to your body. “My approach to health and fitness during pregnancy is to block all the noise, people’s opinions and experiences, social media (especially Google) and listen to your doctor and body and you’ll have the most blissful experience,” she shares. “When you feel like training, go and when you feel like resting, take that rest.” More

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    Pregnancy Workout: 5 Easy Exercises For A Healthy Bod

    If you’re a mum-to-be, try this easy pregnancy workout to keep healthy and fit during pregnancy from Cotton On Body. This workout is low-impact, meaning it’s gentle on your body but still gets your heart pumping to stay healthy.

    The Easy Pregnancy Workout

    1. Squats

    Sit back through your heels until your hips are nearly in line with knees (your range may be limited depending on how far you are into your pregnancy). Then stand up straight, pushing through your heels and squeezing your glutes.

    2. Glute Bridges

    Lying on the ground, tuck your heels close to your bottom, shoulder-width apart. Push your hips up all the way, squeezing your glutes as you come up. Hold for 3-5 seconds, then lower back to the ground and repeat.

    3. Resistance Band Rows

    Stand on the band with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lean over with your knees slightly bent, making sure that you keep your spine natural. Pull the band to your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold for 3-5 seconds, then slowly release back to starting position.

    4. Donkey Kicks

    Place your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips, maintaining a neutral spine. Bring your knee in towards your chest then extend out slowly towards the sky with your toes pointed, squeezing your glutes. Try not to rotate your hips too much.

    5. Resistance Band Bicep Curls

    Stand on the band with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slightly bend your knees, with your elbows to the side and arms extended. Curl your arms up to your shoulders, hold for two seconds, then slowly lower down to full extension again. More

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    4 Postpartum Exercises That’ll Give You A Tighter Core

    Hey mama! Congratulations on your new baby and we’re sure you can’t wait to get back into action to start working out. Don’t forget, we all heal at a different pace, but a good indication of how well you’re healing would be to get the ‘all clear’ from your doctor when you go for your six weeks check-up. Before then, walking and light exercise is great. Grab the stroller, the baba, and get some fresh air.
    Fitness instructor, mother of three, and former Women’s Health Next Fitness Star Finalist, Phia-Lee Rabie shares her top four core recovery exercises, that will tighten the corset and slim your waistline, after childbirth.
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    Postpartum Exercises
    1/ The Vacum
    Perform these postpartum exercises standing, sitting or lying down.

    Take a deep breath in and on the exhale, draw the belly button in and up towards your spine squeeze out all the air.
    Hold your breath forming a vacuum when you can’t hold your breath any more breath slowly keeping your belly button drawn.
    Perform this hold as long as you can or do a 30-second hold for 5 sets.

    READ MORE: How Yoga Helped This Woman Cope With Her Pregnancy
    2/ Vacuum Twist
    Perform these postpartum exercises while standing.

    Do the vacuum hold (drawn in holding your breath) and add an upper-body twist with hands behind your head.
    Keep the movement smooth with 10 reps and work up to 20 reps for 5 sets.

    3/ Heal Taps
    Performed lying down with knees bent.

    Place your hands under your bottom for extra support.
    Draw the belly button in and keep your upper body on the floor.
    Curl up the lower body knees towards your chest.
    Rollback down and tap the heels on the floor that’s one rep. Start with 30sec 4 to 5 sets.

    READ MORE: 6 Weight Loss Strategies That’ll Get You Closer To Your #BodyGoals
    4/Leg Slides
    Performed lying down, with knees bent and feet flat.

    Draw the belly button in and slowly slide the one leg down the floor to straighten it out, then slide it back.
    Take a deep breath, draw in the belly button, and repeat on the other side.
    Do 4 to 5 sets per side. Increase your reps as you get stronger.

    READ MORE: 11 Best Workout Tights To Give You All The Gym Inspo
    Postpartum exercises: a word from the expert
    Gynaecologist and Laparoscopic Surgeon, Dr Natalia Novikova, says postpartum exercises are very important for maintaining general health and mental wellbeing. “There are different ways of getting back to exercise. It’s possible to return to physical exercise within a few weeks of giving birth if you had a vaginal birth and within four weeks after Caesarean section,” she says.
    Dr Novikova advises, if you suffer from medical illnesses or have had complications with your pregnancy,  it’s advisable to consult your treating doctor regarding the return to physical activity. “Listen to your body, don’t overstretch —  stop if you are sore. I suggest finding time every day for at least 30 minutes workout,” she says.
    Tiredness and lack of sleep make it very hard to get into any exercise routine, but once you start exercising your energy levels will improve and you will be happier so it’s certainly worth trying to fit it in. Any exercises will work well — lunges, squats, sit-ups, push-ups, yoga, core exercises, spinning, swimming. More

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    How Triathlete Vicky van der Merwe Balances Training With Motherhood

    Well-known Stellenbosch-based triathlete Vicky van der Merwe is on the comeback after a break after her son was born. She will be competing at the Woolworths X TRI off-road triathlon in Elgin on Saturday 4 December.
    Vicky van der Merwe: having it all as an elite triathlete and a mom
    Top triathlete Vicky van der Merwe is also a business owner at Stellenbosch Triathlon Squad (STS), where she is a coach and race organiser, and in the last two years she has added wife and mother to her roles. The 32-year-old athlete is a familiar face on podiums across the country and internationally, and she is now focused on her return to competitive racing in short-course triathlon since the birth of her son Adriaan in February 2021.
    She says being both a mom and an elite athlete has given her a new perspective: “The amazing thing is you have to make every session count as every opportunity to train is time away from the family. You have to be so intentional with your time. I love it. I always knew that I would return to racing, but I did not have a clear plan. It was my first pregnancy and I had planned a natural birth, and then I had to have an emergency c-section at 37 weeks – you really can’t plan these things!”
    READ MORE: Boxing Inspired Workout: 8 Moves That Will Help You Get a Knockout Body RN!
    “I threw myself in the deep end with training four or five weeks after Adriaan’s birth, and started slowly building up.”
    Three months later she went to Africa Champs, claiming fifth place despite not having a great race. She feels optimistic about re-establishing her place as one of the top female South African triathletes. Since returning to competition with the 2021 Africa Champs, she has won the Walker Bay Xtreme Big 6, the Torpedo SwimRun (she holds the record), the Caveman Triathlon, the African X Trail Run, and recently the 2022 Cape Town Triathlon.
    Vicky at the CT Triathlon 2022
    READ MORE: “I Travel Solo Even Though I Have Anxiety — This Is How I Cope”
    Vicky says she loves racing and has a few more years of competitive racing ahead. Her immediate focus is on the Woolworths X TRI the off-road triathlon on 4 December at Paul Cluver Family Wines Wines in Elgin. This race is a bit more about the fun, but a challenging event nonetheless if you are taking on the full triathlon.
    “I find mixing it up a bit with off-road triathlon is so good for me as an athlete, and the WW X TRI is perfect for triathletes like myself looking to cross-train and test themselves in different disciplines. I will for sure be looking to stand on the top step of the podium, but this event really hits the mark for family fun as well, with a Lite event plus fun trail runs and a shorter walk.”
    When asked if her goal is to qualify for the Paris Olympics, she is hesitant to confirm: “You obviously have to be in the top two or three in the country and we have some very strong women athletes. Because I’ve been out of it for so long, I have set myself small goals, with SA Champs being my next big one in March next year.”
    With some confusion for the layperson about what constitutes a triathlon, Vicky sums it up, “Triathlon is any race involving a swim, a cycle and a run. There is off-road triathlon where the Xterra World Championships is the highest honours, then Ironman, full and half, that are more focused on endurance, and the World Championship held in Kona in Hawaii is the big goal. Then there is the Olympic Triathlon which is my discipline, and I prefer the sprint or short-course which is a 750m swim, 20 km cycle and 5km run. Standard Olympic Triathlon distances are 1.5 km swim, a 40 km bicycle ride and a 10 km run.”
    READ MORE: What Happens To Your Body When You Stop Working Out?
    As someone who was National and African Junior Triathlon champ when in high school, Vicky has triathlon in her veins, and beneath the fun and bubbly personality is a fierce competitor who juggles being a wife and mom, a businessperson, a coach and an athlete.
    Get to Paul Cluver Family Wines in Elgin on 4 December for the WW X TRI to catch Vicky in action and support the work of the Woolworths Trust, the beneficiary of all proceeds from the event.  For more information and to enter visit More

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    Flying Pregnant? Get These Health Checks First

    While once we thought of taking to the air as a supernatural event, catching flights is now as routine as Zooming your therapist.
    During your pregnancy, the health risks of flying are considerably low, depending on what kind of pregnancy you’re having (low or high risk). Before 36 weeks, you’re considered good to go – but there are other factors at play. Here’s what you should keep in mind before jet setting, says Wilson Tauro, Air France-KLM Country Manager Southern Africa.
    Pre-travel advice and immunisation
    Depending on your destination, advice about vaccination and malaria prevention may be different if you are pregnant. That’s why it is extremely important to be properly informed, especially when visiting countries where infectious diseases such as malaria are prevalent. In some cases, travel to a country could even be discouraged because of the risks. Pregnant women or women who want to get pregnant should also avoid travelling to countries with outbreaks of Zika.
    READ MORE: 6 Surprising Signs You’re Stressed Out (And Need A Holiday)
    How far into your pregnancy can you fly?
    KLM recommends that women who are more than 32 weeks pregnant should not fly. The airline also discourage flying – for you and your child – during the first week after birth. If you are expecting a multiple birth, the airline recommends that you consult your doctor before any flight. If you have had complications in the past, you should get your doctor’s permission to fly. Additionally, it is recommended that you carry a recent pregnancy statement with information about the due date and other relevant information. In many countries airline staff may want to see that. Regulations differ from one airline to the next, so always check before you travel.
    READ MORE: Apparently 35 Percent Of People Think It’s Totally Fine To Drink During Pregnancy
    Cosmic radiation
    In a normal situation, the cosmic radiation exposure of a return trans-Atlantic flight can be compared to the same amount of exposure as when you have a chest X-ray. As with X-rays, any radiation can cause damage to genetic material inside a cell. However, there is no evidence that a trans-Atlantic flight increases the risk of abnormalities. To be on the safe side it is recommended to avoid frequent air travel when pregnant. For KLM flight crew there are special regulations regarding exposure to cosmic radiation.
    Increased risk of thrombosis
    If you are pregnant, you already run a greater risk of developing thrombosis. Flying will increase this risk. Deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) is a potentially life-threatening disorder in which blood clots can form in the deep veins of the body, particularly the legs. In an aircraft, the dehydration caused by the dry air may thicken your blood. In addition, the relative immobility of sitting in a confined space for a long period can cause blood to collect in your legs.
    READ MORE: Exercising While Pregnant: How One Flitfluencer Scaled Down Her Approach
    There are a few things you can do to prevent or reduce the risk of thrombosis:

    During long flights, walk around the cabin every 15 to 30 minutes, if possible
    Do some simple stretching exercises while you are seated
    Only sleep for short periods – up to 30 minutes at a time
    Move around after every nap
    Drink plenty of water
    Avoid alcohol and caffeine

    Wearing compression stockings can also help.
    If you are worried about DVT during the flight, consult your doctor beforehand to discuss how to best reduce the risk. More

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    Apparently 35 Percent Of People Think It’s Totally Fine To Drink During Pregnancy

    Listen: It’s totally normal to want a glass of wine after a long day at work—yes, even (or, honestly, especially) when you’re pregnant.
    And many people—pregnant or not—still think it’s totally fine to have a drink during pregnancy.
    That’s according to a new survey from Cameron Hughes Wine, an online wine brand in the States. Of 1,032 people polled, 35 per cent said that it’s okay to drink wine on occasion when you’re pregnant. The other 65 per cent said you definitely shouldn’t do this.
    So…which group is correct? Some very preliminary research suggests that low levels of alcohol consumption during pregnancy might not be linked to bad health for the baby—and many women get mixed messages from the media and even their doctors since it’s tough to say how much booze during pregnancy is too much (scientists haven’t come anywhere close to nailing this down yet and most current research suggests that recommendations should be on a case-by-case basis).
    But it’s important to keep in mind that Dr Christine Greves, a board-certified gynae at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies—along with most medical organisations — say you should totally skip the booze while expecting.
    “A safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy has not been determined,” confirms Greves. “That’s why we recommend complete abstinence.”
    And sorry, but the theory of drinking at the very end of your pregnancy (you know, because the baby is already “cooked”) hasn’t been proven legit. “Alcohol impacts foetal growth at all stages of pregnancy,” says Greves, who notes that it comes with some pretty scary potential consequences, including fetal alcohol syndrome (a condition that causes brain damage and growth problems due to alcohol exposure during pregnancy), structural issues with the baby’s body, and even issues with the baby’s heart, kidneys, or bones.
    Women’s health expert Dr Jennifer Wider, agrees. “The latest research tells us that the safest choice is not drinking anything during your pregnancy,” she says.
    So, uh, if you want to drink during your pregnancy, maybe just don’t. You’ll be able to kick back with a guilt-free glass of wine after the baby has left the premises.
    The bottom line: Drinking during pregnancy definitely hasn’t been proven to be safe for baby, so it’s best not to risk it.
    This article was originally published on

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