Cycling while pregnant - Why it's THE BEST!
I sometimes joke that I am a professional athlete, after all I do teach 8 - 10 cycling classes a week. But man pregnancy has thrown me off my game - big time! My endurance has plummeted, my energy levels have dropped drastically and to be completely honest, I have lost a good amount of motivation to keep my butt active. But the 3 things that are keeping physical fitness a priority for me are 1) knowing it helps with my symptoms 2) MY LOVE of CYCLING! 3) It’s good for the little babe. (Plus, Shift classes are 45-minutes so they seem to go by almost too quick.)
Exercising while you’re pregnant can enhance blood circulation, ease backaches, improve digestion and sleep, boost your mood and energy, help you manage your weight gain, and promote muscle tone, strength, and endurance (which you’ll need for childbirth!) and make you feel somewhat normal.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has actually advised pregnant women to exercise more often! But of course it’s super important to exercise wisely and listen to your body throughout your nine months of pregnancy especially to accommodate your changing body—not only the extra pounds you’re toting around, but also your increasingly relaxed ligaments, the shift in your center of gravity, and so on.
The good news is: indoor cycling is on ACOG’s list of exercises that are safe during pregnancy - Woohooo!
Why Indoor Cycling Is Safe for Pregnant Women
Indoor cycling is ideal because 1) it is a low impact activity that won’t have a heavy impact on your joints. 2) You won’t confront balance challenges. 3) It’s FUN! And keeps your mind off all the food you want to be eating (or is that just me…?) 4) #endorphins
Even though indoor cycling is generally safe during pregnancy, you should still get the green light from your ob-gyn in case you have any underlying medical conditions that might limit your activity options.
Somethings to remember before diving head first into the wonderful world of indoor cycling:
Listen to your body - if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
Your body probably won’t preform like it used to but that’s FINE! Effort is EFFORT!
You’re essentially exercising for two, which means it’s easier for your heart rate to rise more quickly and for you to become overheated 🥵 so just stay aware.
Helpful Tips for having a Safe Ride throughout Pregnancy:
Talk to the instructor beforehand. Whether or not you’re showing yet, tell the instructor that you’re pregnant before the class starts. This way, she can keep an eye on how you're doing and won’t push you too hard. She can also give you important pointers on how to modify the ride to suit your needs.
Stay cool and well hydrated. Wear comfortable, breathable clothing that will help you stay cool and a bra that offers plenty of support to protect those massive jugs that grew overnight. Drink lots of water throughout the workout—even more than usual!—to help you avoid overheating or becoming dehydrated.
Modify your bike set-up. As your pregnant body continues to change, you may need to adjust the saddle position and raise the handlebars to stay comfortable. It’s a good idea to sit more upright (which means raising the handlebars and bringing them closer to you), instead of leaning forward, to relieve pressure on your lower back.
Dial down your intensity. During pregnancy, it’s best to exercise at a moderate intensity so you don’t overdue it - maybe sprint at a 65% or 70% instead if your usually 110%.
Don’t be afraid to stay in the saddle and modify your moves. As your awesome belly grows your body’s center of gravity may put more pressure on your joints and it may be too much for you to ride standing. Don’t worry: You can still get a good workout if you stay seated the whole time. Also, as your belly increases in size you may find that it becomes hard to do crunches or presses - no worries! Modify to a lesser motion or just ride and drop the move altogether.
Listen to your body. If you get winded, dizzy, or don’t feel well while you’re riding, take a break or take the effort down. Remembers during pregnancy, your energy is likely to ebb and flow, along with other symptoms, some days you may feel like a powerhouse other days you will feel lucky that you are able to walk into the bike room. AND IT’S ALL TOTALLY FINE AND NORMAL. You are growing a little human inside your body and that is a huge feat so don’t forget that.
And finally, it’s okay if you pee a little… #preggoproblems
See you soon!
-Whitney Herman (follow me on the ‘gram)