Exercising whist pregnant can-do wonders for your growing body and mind. Regularly performing low impact physical activity like cycling will not only keep you fit and strong but also boost your mood and increase your energy levels, however there some safety guidelines to consider. Gareth Cole, Head of Performance at COACH LONDON, talks us through the benefits of cycling whilst pregnant and how to safeguard both yourself and your baby.
Should people exercise whilst pregnant?
A systematic review of exercising whilst pregnant was conducted in September this year to understand the current guidelines. The paper concluded that exercise for healthy women who are pregnant favorably affects maternal and fetal outcomes, yet only 50% receive exercise guidance during prenatal care and 15% are told to stop exercising altogether. Rudin PubMed September 2021
The original guidelines recommended adopting low to moderate-intensity, low-impact, aerobic exercise at least three times a week. Yet, new guidelines propose increasing weekly physical-activity expenditure while incorporating light strength training to the exercise routine of healthy pregnant women.
For those wanting to cycle, what do you recommend throughout the semesters?
Cycling is often the preferred prescribed exercise whilst pregnant because it is an aerobic activity but it is also non weight bearing and low impact.”
Of course, an element of common sense is advised when reaching the final trimester as to whether you venture outdoors to cycle or feel safer on an indoor stationary bike.
Is listening to your body different during pregnancy?
It certainly is as mood and energy can change from day to day or even hour to hour. Being attuned to your body during pregnancy will stand you in good stead to make the right exercise choices at the right time.
How can we utilise exercise to help during pregnancy?
Exercise has been shown to improve a myriad of symptoms and promote general fitness during pregnancy. From a physical perspective, a sustainable exercise routine can reduce lower back pain and unwanted inflammation whilst also promoting muscle tone and aiding in weight management.
Exercise can also help psychologically by boosting your mood and energy levels which help optimise and stabilise your sleep patterns.
Do we have to look out for anything in particular?
One thing to keep in mind in the first trimester is overheating, so ensure to choose the right environment and clothing for your chosen activity, to avoid increasing your core temperature. Additionally stay hydrated throughout those earlier training sessions and through your recovery.
How do different people respond to exercise during pregnancy?
We all respond differently to exercise whether we’re pregnant or not. It’s essential to listen to your body, mood and energy levels throughout the pregnancy and adjust accordingly.
Written by Gareth Cole – Co-Founder and Head of Performance, Coach London