Indoor Cycling Training for Pregnant Women

Indoor Cycling Training for Pregnant Women

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Staying active during pregnancy can prevent excessive weight gain.

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In the past, women were cautioned against exercise and activity while pregnant, as it was thought to be dangerous for both baby and mother. Today, pregnant women are encouraged to exercise to avoid excess weight gain, beat fatigue, manage stress and prepare their bodies for childbirth. Indoor cycling is a favorite exercise option for many women, though some considerations should be taken into account. Always get your doctor's OK before beginning.

Stay Cool and Hydrated

During pregnancy, a woman's core body temperature becomes elevated. Further elevation during exercise can cause a pregnant woman to overheat. This is particularly important to be aware of with indoor cycling, as classes can become extremely hot once the doors are closed and everyone starts to work. Situate yourself near an air conditioning vent or fan so you stay comfortable at all times. Wear lightweight clothing and drink frequently throughout class to keep your body cool and hydrated. If you begin to feel too hot, stop immediately.

Avoiding Exercising Excess

Pregnancy isn't the time to try to set any new indoor cycling records for yourself. It's important for pregnant women to stay aerobic in order to avoid intensity levels that would be considered excessive. So, if your instructor leads you through anaerobic intervals, reduce your intensity level -- you can still perform the intervals, just don't get to a point where you're out of breath. Since your base heart rate can be affected by pregnancy, use of a heart rate monitor isn't the best way to monitor your intensity. According to an article published in the "Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada," pregnant women should keep their perceived exertion levels between "light" and "somewhat hard" during indoor cycling classes.

Setting Up

Bike setup must be modified for pregnant riders. Women typically experience low back discomfort in the earlier stages of pregnancy, and handlebars that are too low can exacerbate this pain. Keep the handlebars high so you can be as upright as possible. As your belly grows, it will be more difficult and uncomfortable to hunch over in the standard indoor cycling position. You may need to also adjust the fore/aft position or tilt of the saddle to maximize comfort for your tush.

Precaution & Tips

Always talk with your doctor before engaging in any exercise program during pregnancy to make sure you won't be putting yourself or your baby in any danger due to contraindications. It's a good idea to avoid out-of-the saddle movements during classes. During pregnancy, your center of gravity changes, and the standing position can cause excessive pressure on your knees. Take frequent postural breaks throughout class to relieve lower back pressure by simply sitting up briefly. Most indoor cycling classes are 45 to 60 minutes. Be aware that exercising longer than 45 minutes may cause blood sugar drops. If you need to leave a few minutes early, just make sure you give your body a chance to cool down. Most importantly, listen to your body at all times. If you start feeling bad, stop the exercise immediately.