Pregnancy is a beautiful journey and a constant learning experience. This is because one doesn’t always know what is right for them, and the internet does not always have the specific answers to put your mind at ease.
One constant query that pregnant women have is whether they will need to cancel their gym membership. Well, the answer is no!
However, you cannot use all the equipment you previously used as some will put too much strain on you and your growing bump. But since it is imperative to maintain fitness during your pregnancy, professionals advise using the cross trainer.
This is mostly attributed to the fact that a cross trainer is a low-intensity workout; hence is gentle on your muscles. Also, most elliptical trainers come with a variety of options to choose from in terms of resistance.
This allows you to keep reducing your workout intensity, the more the pregnancy progresses hence avoiding any complications that may arise.
Since a cross trainer is one of the few gym pieces of equipment viable for use throughout your pregnancy, some may think it is safe to continue with the routine they had before pregnancy. Well, this is not the case!
Below are a few pointers towards the right direction;
Cross trainers are a great workout tool for improving your core strength and posture. Using one while you are pregnant helps greatly in relieving back pain and building your back and abdomen muscles.
To target your core, climb on to the elliptical and after ensuring you have achieved a suitable balance, let go of the handlebars and start pedaling. Try and keep your posture as straight as possible for the best results.
Since you are carrying extra weight, you do not have to set the resistance at an all-time high; try going with the lowest setting and then work your way up after every twenty-minute interval. This way, you know when to stop when it gets too overwhelming.
Every pregnancy is different and may have different needs and complications. Before hopping onto an elliptical trainer, consult your doctor on your pregnancy condition and take into account any limitations he might have.
You may not be strong enough, or your body mass might be too little, etc. Also, a doctor will decipher how much pressure your body can handle, so you do not end up overworking your muscles hence complicating your pregnancy.
Remember, every pregnancy is different, and just because you did it on your last one doesn’t mean it is safe to do it this time round.
Most elliptical trainers come with a heart rate monitor on the handlebars, but if yours does not, it is highly advised to use a smartwatch to perform the duty. All through the workout, you will need to monitor both your heart rate and temperature closely.
According to medical professionals, your heart rate should not exceed 140 beats per minute during pregnancy as it is harmful to the baby. As for the temperature, you should use a rectal thermometer after every 20 minutes and ensure it does not exceed 100 degrees.
The above figures should be strictly adhered to even if you are not sweating or feeling tired.
It is not a guarantee that working out on an elliptical will be a safe venture for everyone considering our bodies are different, and our energy reserves vary. Always ensure you listen to your body closely so as to ensure you do not overwork or harm yourself in the process.
In the third trimester, doctors suggest that you use the conversation test- this is where you try and hold a conversation with someone, and if you can keep it on without being breathless, then you are fine. If you start feeling contractions at all, you should get off, hydrate, and relax for a few minutes.
In extreme situations, ensure you call the physician when you witness the signs below;
Warm-up is very important, so you give your muscles time to adjust to the impending pressure, preventing muscle pain and sore joints. You do not need to go all out as simple stretching or slow jogging can do wonders.
A good Warm up session will dilate your blood vessels, so your muscles are adequately supplied with oxygen, increase your heart rate, and increase your muscles' temperature for optimum flexibility.
You should note that you will have an influx of a hormone known as relaxin during your first trimester that is meant to prevent the uterus from contracting, hence facilitating implantation. So go easy on the stretches as your over relaxed pelvic muscles might allude you to go all out despite being dangerous for your baby.
Besides keeping you fit during pregnancy, an elliptical trainer has a variety of other benefits when used correctly. Here are a few of them;
Since an elliptical trainer tends to be a little costly and is not safe or comfortable for every pregnant woman, here are a few other workout suggestions that are ranked just as useful.
Prenatal yoga is a very low impact workout that will ensure you strengthen your muscles while at the same time, teach you important breathing exercises that you will need when pushing.
A few laps in the pool in all styles except butterfly will do you some good and remind you how it feels to be weightless. Additionally, swimming is a very good fool body workout and helps you practice your balance. Just ensure that you do not hold your breath for too long underwater.
Three ten minute sessions on the treadmill will give you enough workout for a day. You do not even put a fast speed for you to reap the benefits. However, it is advised to increase the intensity using the various settings available to make it more enjoyable.
Alternatively, you could opt to walk to the bus stop instead of driving, catch the staircase instead of the lift, or just go for a nature walk—anything to keep your muscles up and active.
4. Recumbent bike
A recumbent bike is one of the lowest impact equipment available, making it very viable for use during pregnancy. You could either choose to cycle sitting upright or laying back as both will have the same results. As your belly gets bigger, you should try and reduce the cycle speeds so as to prevent burnout.
In the third trimester, you will likely find it hard to get on the bike or cycle with your knees n alignment. If it gets too uncomfortable, consider stopping altogether.
5. Rowing machine
A rowing machine is great for building stamina and toning your muscles during pregnancy. However, it tends to be too intense for use during the last trimester.
If you notice your thighs touching your abdomen when you row, then it is time to stop and choose another workout.
A cross trainer is very safe for use during pregnancy. But just like any other equipment, you need to be very careful of your vitals, ensure you have a routine that doesn’t stress your muscles and listen very closely to how your body responds so as to avoid any complications.