Exercising when pregnant is beneficial to both your body and mind. Low-impact physical activity, such as indoor cycling, can help you stay healthy and strong while also improving your mood and energy levels. Plus, it’s good for the baby!
However, there are certain fundamental principles and safeguards to consider before you clip in. Of course, before beginning any fitness regimen while pregnant, you should always check your healthcare physician. “Yes, you can cycle indoors while pregnant if you get permission from your doctor first,” says Brittany Robles, MD, an OB-GYN and certified personal trainer. In addition, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends stationary cycling as a safe exercise during pregnancy.
Robles thinks there are three crucial things to keep in mind when cycling indoors:
- Keeping yourself hydrated
- Maintaining a healthy pace and avoiding overexertion
- Avoid being overheated, as this can impair your circulation.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends a healthy exercise intensity during pregnancy as less than 60 to 80% of your age-predicted maximal heart rate. In most cases, this is not more than 140 beats per minute.
Cycling on an upright bike at home or at the gym is similar to taking a spin class. Nonetheless, the instructor determines the pace and level of difficulty, so you’ll have to adjust accordingly. When taking a group spin class, you’ll probably need to make some adjustments, especially as your pregnancy progresses. Take a few minutes to speak with the spin instructor after you’ve received approval from your OB-GYN. Tell them you’re pregnant (if it’s not clear!) and inquire whether they’ve worked with pregnant people before.
Ideally, you should enroll in a class taught by someone who has completed prenatal exercise training. If it isn’t an option, attempt to take classes with the same teacher so that they can get to know you. This could help them spot any signs of discomfort. Consider remaining seated for the duration of the class. Standing up and riding may feel OK at first, but as your belly swells, your center of gravity moves, making it more difficult to maintain a standing position.
If you stand while riding, you may experience more pain in your lower back and joints. Remaining seated is both safer and more comfortable. Make sure there’s adequate resistance on the “road” when doing jumps and standing movements in a spin class, according to Jeffcoat, to avoid hyperextending your knees.
“Even in the first trimester, when the hormone relaxin is at one of its peaks before it falls off and surges again closer to delivery,” Jeffcoat explains, “this needs to be taken into account.”