Swimming to stay fit

Swimming is an excellent activity to keep you moving during the last stage of your pregnancy. Here’s what you need to know, before you take the plunge.

“At this stage you’re quite large and are likely very uncomfortable, so a dip in the pool is a chance to feel lighter and be able to move around more easily,” says Trish Del Sorbo, director of Baby & Me Fitness in Toronto who teaches prenatal aqua fitness classes. “The buoyancy and cooling effect of the water can be a welcome relief.”

Why it’s a good workout
Aside from the comforting effects of the water, some pool time has other advantages, too. Swimming improves circulation, builds cardiovascular endurance and tones muscles (using the resistance of the water, plus the option of foam weights for a more advanced workout). The water also supports your posture, which helps prevent injuries. “It’s difficult to risk twisting too far, or putting excessive strain on your joints when your body is submerged in water,” Del Sorbo.

Who should swim?
If you were an avid swimmer before you got pregnant you should be able to continue your usual pool regime. But, if swimming is new to you, take things slowly. “I welcome new swimmers to my prenatal classes, even at eight months, but I do caution them to go at their own pace,” says Del Sorbo. Whatever your fitness level, make sure you warm up and cool down gradually, be careful not to over-exert yourself and listen to your body for any signs of strain.