Using the elliptical while pregnant is an excellent choice in exercise due to its low impact nature and ease of use. Unlike other machines that risk the body turning in odd positions, the elliptical all
ows fluid movements that work with the body’s natural gait. By working with your body, the elliptical delivers a powerful calorie burn that’s comfortable even in the advanced stages of pregnancy. Read on to learn why the elliptical is great for pregnant exercise, how to use the machine while pregnant, and get a simple prenatal workout that you can complete at home.
The elliptical provides a variety of benefits for pregnant women, including:
Cardio workouts get the blood pumping, and that’s exactly what a baby needs while in the womb. Cardio will help reduce occurrences of back pain, constipation, bloating and swelling which most pregnant women suffer from. It can also help those who are suffering from gestational diabetes with some researchers believing it may prevent the formation of the complication as well. Furthermore, in order to use the elliptical, a pregnant woman must stay in position and use proper posture. This forces the back, pelvis, and hips to align properly, leading to better posture throughout the pregnancy. Other benefits of using the elliptical include improved sleep function and better endurance. Finally, users should remember that the elliptical is one of the safest machines they can use, meaning they can get a much more intense cardio workout than they can on other machines.
Strength training while pregnant is integral to a smoother delivery, and the elliptical provides an excellent lower body strength training workout for those who want to kill two birds with one stone. The main area pregnant women should focus on are the abdominals (sucking-in definitely provides its own abdominal workout for later in the pregnancy) and the lower body—the exact areas the elliptical targets. A strong core will make the delivery process go much smoother, enhance recovery time, reduce back pain, increase flexibility and aerobic capacity, better circulate the blood (including to the baby) and allow better coordination when completing everyday activities. Trust that working out the lower body will be a welcome relief when labor comes due to the streamlined delivery.
One thing most doctors will tell pregnant women is to avoid high-impact activities, but what exactly are they? High impact activities are anything that causes you to bounce, sway or (usually) risk falling. These exercises can be quite fun when one isn’t expecting; however, they can be deadly when performed by someone who is expecting. The elliptical provides an excellent low-impact workout because the feet are stationary. The main thing to remember when using the elliptical is to prevent bouncing. While bouncing should be avoided even when not pregnant, it can put a large amount of force on the baby, leading to complications, including loss of pregnancy. To prevent bouncing, pregnant women should work out at a steady pace while focusing on their positioning on the machine.
Prevent Excessive Weight Gain
One of the most common misconceptions about pregnancy is that a large amount of weight gain comes with the territory. However, gaining a lot of weight while pregnant can lead to complications throughout the pregnancy. While no one should diet, it’s important to remember that instead of “eating for two,” pregnant women should be eating for one and a quarter (and slightly more calories can be eaten further along in the pregnancy). Working out regularly on the elliptical can prevent weight gain while also ensuring moms return to normal sooner after having the baby.
Increased Energy Levels
Pregnancy can lead to pregnant women feeling tired and fatigued; however, it doesn’t need to be this way. By exercising on the elliptical, expectant moms can experience an increase in their energy levels. Part of this is due to the hormones released during physical activity, which have been shown in numerous studies to help people stay up as well as go to sleep easier with a better quality of sleep as well. Pregnant women who feel well-rested are more likely to experience a smoother pregnancy without dips and dives in their energy levels throughout the pregnancy. Furthermore, it can also prevent women from needing to go on bed rest further along in their pregnancy, allowing activity to be carried out through most of the pregnancy.
One of the most important things pregnant women need is stamina, and the elliptical machine is able to give it in spades. When using the elliptical, users are given a powerful workout experience that provides the benefits of both cardio and strength training. This leads to increases in both lung capacity and circulation, meaning more air goes into the lungs and the blood better circulates nutrients and oxygen to the body as needed. Anyone who has experienced pregnancy can tell one how they frequently felt out of breath, especially in their last trimester. Working out while pregnant can prevent (or at least alleviate) these events from happening. Finally, pregnant women will appreciate that stamina when the time comes for their delivery.
Using the Elliptical
Using an elliptical while pregnant is great, but it does require some consideration. Some key points to remember include:
Remember Your Center of Gravity
Being pregnant is a magical time; however, it definitely puts the body through some unexpected changes. One of the biggest things most women notice is how their center of gravity changes from what it used to be. Pregnant women should take into consideration that their adorable baby bump does force the body to align differently, making them more susceptible to backaches, injuries and falls. By keeping their posture in mind while using the machine, pregnant women can avoid accidents. This is one of the reasons why an elliptical is an excellent choice for pregnant women—the feet never leave the machine, decreasing the risks of falling.
Adjust as Necessary
Before pregnancy, many women were happily bouncing along on the elliptical in an effort to stay fit. Sometimes these workouts may have lasted a fair amount of time at a hard pace as well. However, pregnancy does bring a few changes with it, primarily in the third trimester, when looking for how long and hard to workout. A general rule of thumb is to listen to the body. If a workout feels too intense, or a sense of breathlessness begins to creep up, it’s okay to dial back the intensity. It’s better to workout with safety in mind rather than to push the body harder than it can handle.
Sweating more is an aspect of pregnancy that most women don’t expect, but it’s especially prevalent during workouts. While a moderate workout may have left someone feeling fine before pregnancy, the same workout might leave them sweating buckets during their pregnancy. To combat this extra water loss, it’s important that pregnant women drink plenty of water throughout their pregnancy. Reusable water bottles should be taken almost everywhere to ensure proper hydration even when not working out as well.
Know What to Look For
While it’s always important to listen to the body, there are a few warning signs to look out for when exercising while pregnant, including:
· Vaginal bleeding
· Shortness of Breath
· Chest Pains
· Contractions After Exercise Ends
· Fluid From the Vagina
· Extreme Muscle Weakness
Experiencing these symptoms necessitates calling a doctor immediately.
Other things to take into consideration when looking to see what exercises to pair with the elliptical include not exercising flat on the back after the first trimester (which may exclude some HIIT workouts), exercising at high altitudes, any exercise where the stomach can take a blow (such as kickboxing) or hot yoga/Pilates.
Sample 30-Minute Workout
This workout can be used though out the entire pregnancy on an elliptical.
0-5 Minutes – Intensity Level 7 – Easy Speed
5-10 Minutes – Intensity Level 8 – Easy Speed
10-15 Minutes – Inensity Level 9 – Moderate Speed
15-20 Minutes – Intensity Level 10 – Moderate Speed
20-25 Minutes – Intensity Level 8 – Moderate Speed
25-30 Minutes – Intensity Level 6 – Easy Speed
Working out while pregnant on an elliptical is a great exercise that allows a pregnant woman to get their cardio and strength training in. Offering a plethora of benefits, including increased stamina and energy levels, better quality sleep and low-impact training, the elliptical is perfect for any pregnant woman who wants to start working out. Remember to stay hydrated during the workout and not to worry if you can’t workout quite as intensely as you could before. As always, talk to a doctor before beginning a workout regime to ensure safety while working out.
Want to hop on your elliptical machine and start working out as soon as possible? Fitscope offers online studio classes for pre-natal cycling, strength training, HIIT workouts, ellipticals, rowing machines, air bikes and treadmills to allow pregnant to vary their workouts while obtaining maximum benefits. Click here to learn more and receive a free one-week trial.