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Sticking With a Workout Plan During Pregnancy

You've vowed to stay fit during your pregnancy -- but will you follow through? Here are seven ways to keep yourself on track:

Buddy up. Having someone counting on you motivates you to exercise, says Catherine Cram, M.S., an exercise physiologist in Middleton, WI, and coauthor of Fit Pregnancy for Dummies. "Pick a partner who is reliable and make a pact with each other that you'll show up," she suggests.

Hoof it. "I took every excuse to walk instead of driving," says Elena Strothenke of Katonah, NY. "Since riding in a car made me queasy, I walked to all my doctor appointments. When food cravings hit, I'd walk them off."

Gear up. You'll be more comfortable -- and committed -- if you invest in a supportive sports bra and good athletic shoes. (Keep in mind that you may need to spring for a larger size of each as your pregnancy progresses.)

Find your bliss. Since you're more likely to keep doing what's fun, try different activities until you find a fit. "Exercise can be like food when you are pregnant," says fitness trainer Grace DeSimone, national group fitness director for Plus One Fitness, based in New York City. "What you liked before may not agree with you now. If it feels good, you'll do it."

Take a bribe. Build rewards into your workout plan -- a piece of chocolate or a massage. Or put a dollar in a piggy bank every time you exercise, and at the end of the month, spend the money on something you normally wouldn't buy.

Pump up your pelvis. Exercises called Kegels strengthen the pelvic muscles that come into play at delivery -- and help them regain tone after the baby comes. "You'll be glad you did them after you give birth," says New York exercise physiologist Liz Neporent. Contract and release your pelvic floor muscles (imagine you're stopping the flow of urine) about 20 times, twice a day.

Look for fitness ops. Work exercise into your daily routine. When you're putting away the groceries, use cans to mimic moves done with dumbbells. While you're brushing your teeth, rise up and down on your toes, which works your calves.

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