Being pregnant can be exciting – the prospect of a newborn in the home, and the possibilities that being a parent brings. However, being pregnant also raises plenty of questions, especially in regard to exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle – you know you should do it, but you are also unsure of whether you are pushing your body too much or whether you are in the safe limit that will not harm you or the baby.
However, among the safest exercises for pregnant women happens to be cycling. It has a low impact, which will not tire you out more than you should, and you will enjoy using an indoor stationary bike in a gym setting or signing up for a spinning class. All of these benefits are still attainable in your pregnant state, and you do not need to give them up. In particular, you will find that stationary cycling bikes make things easier for you are you progress in the pregnancy, especially when it comes to maintaining your balance, and you will not experience too much fatigue at the end of the session.
Why exercise is important during pregnancy
There are many benefits that you get when you follow a regular exercise routine. Here are some of them:
It boosts your energy levels
Pregnancy is among the factors that will sap your energy, but engaging in physical activity regularly when it helps you to get through the day. This is because it will strengthen the cardiovascular system, which means that you do not tire out as easily. You will also not need to put in much effort to engage in activities, whether you are going to the office for meetings or going to shop for household items.
Helps you sleep better
It becomes more challenging to get a good night’s sleep, especially as the pregnancy progresses. However, exercise is enough to send you to restful sleep.
Reduces the chances of you developing complications
There are plenty of studies that reveal that exercise reduces the risk of pregnancy conditions such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. In case you already have these conditions, make sure to talk to your doctor about exercise, and they can advise you on what to do as well as whether you should limit your physical activity.
Your muscles will become stronger the more you engage them in exercises, which help the body to withstand the pains of pregnancy. For instance, yoga and stretching will reduce your back pain, swimming strengthens the abdominal muscle, and walking boosts your blood circulation.
Useful tips for cycling during pregnancy
- It is always important to let your instructor know that you are pregnant during your cycling sessions – even more so when the baby bump is not obvious yet. This is to cover your tracks in case you need to slip more into the bathroom for breaks, you need to take it easier on yourself, or you require to drink some extra water.
- If you are not used to spinning, it is important to build up slowly. For instance, do not get into a half-hour cycling session when you are new to the whole thing, even if your aim is to get at least 30 minutes of pregnancy fitness in a day. Aim to increase your fitness and timing slowly, until the idea of a full session is comfortable enough for you to handle.
- Make sure to dress in moisture-wicking and comfortable workout clothes for maximum comfort
- Keep a bottle of water near you and take regular sips as much as possible. It is very important, especially when you are pregnant, to stay hydrated – so make sure to drink water before, after and during your sessions.
- If you are gasping for breath during or after a session, then slow down your intensity. Even though the gym is not the best place to have a chat with others, you should still be able to talk – the golden rule here is to ‘never exercise so hard that you cannot talk afterward.
- Get to the gym a few minutes early before your spin class begins, in order to make necessary adjustments on your bike. These can include the handlebars that should be in a more upright position to allow for more space for your baby bump, as well as the seat to avoid stressing your lower back.
- Resist the idea of competing with other people in your class, and do not even think about improving your personal best. You will get stressed out and discouraged if you fail to improve (which is bad for your health and the baby), or you will easily give up if you see you are not matching up to the pace of others. The main goal of exercise during pregnancy is maintaining your fitness, not competing or improving on personal bests.
- Never exercise while on an empty stomach – remain fueled at all times. In addition, always have a light snack ready for your post-class session, such as energy balls, a granola bar, or bananas.
- For maximum comfort during the session, you can remain seated. Standing up can lead to other problems if you are not careful – it adds pressure to the joints, increases the intensity of the exercises, and makes it harder for you to balance well. However, if you feel you have sat for too long and need some breathers, then standing up is good – but only for a few minutes at a time.
- If you do not feel like doing a spin class, you can try other low-impact activities like yoga, swimming, or taking walks. The most important thing is taking it easy on yourself, as your body is in a state of fluctuation and it needs all the help it can get to adjust.
Pregnancy brings some exciting changes, but it is important to ensure you are healthy throughout the process if you want to make it easier. Fortunately, cycling is among the low-impact exercises that can help you maintain your fitness, and it will strengthen you and ensure you remain healthy and energetic enough to go through the rest of the day.