HOW MUCH EXERCISE DURING PREGNANCY IS TOO MUCH?
I know YOU might be struggling to get off the couch, but can you believe that some pregnant women out there are questioning if they’re doing too much?
One of my friends emailed me this note:
I am 15 wks pregnant and am still going to the gym 3-4 times a week, do you think this is safe? I usually do 20-30 minutes of fast walking on the treadmill, then cycle for 15-20 minutes. I then do some weight machines for my inner and outer thighs and also my legs. I then finish in the pool, usually doing 15-25 lengths.
Before becoming pregnant I was a regular at the gym and haven’ t started any new exercises.
Any comments would be helpful,
MY RESPONSE TO LORRAINE:
WOW! That’s a lot of exercise, way to go for having the energy!
Personally, it does sound like a lot to me, but then again I don’t know what intensity level you are working out at.
Generally, you should aim at doing a MODERATE intensity. In fact, regular exercise (at least three times a week) at a mild to moderate intensity is better than sporadic exercise. (See below for help on figuring out what your intensity level is.)
The most important thing is that you feel okay after you exercise and that you are NOT pushing yourself too much. If you feel any discomfort, you’re doing too much.
I am glad that you were doing this workout routine pre-pregnancy (and that this is not a new thing) because pregnancy is definitely not the time to start something new!
I do think it would be a good idea to check in with your OBGYN to make sure everything is okay with baby and that you do not have any risk factors that would indicate you need to slow down.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY IS . . .
You fellow moms-to-be need to remember that pregnancy is not the time to do a heavy workout, get in shape, and increase your strength and endurance. Rather, it is a time to maintain your existing fitness level, and if you want, tone your body too! (Can you think of any better excuse to slow down?)
For most women, pregnancy can be a scary time of change—I mean we put on thirty plus pounds, our shape changes, we get cellulite, our energy decreases, and our fatigue increases! But please don’t worry too much—you WILL get your body back post-delivery (and if you need help, I will show you how!)
So don’t feel you need to exercise for hours in the the gym to prevent excess weight gain. If you’re eating right and remain active you WILL gain the right amount of weight for your body. Remember, weight gain during pregnancy is a GOOD thing and is necessary for both you and your baby’s health!
SO, HOW DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD YOU’ RE WORKING?
To calculate your intensity level, measure your heart rate by lightly pressing your index and middle finger on your carotid artery (that’ s the big vein on the side of your neck!). Do not cross your hand over to the other side of your throat (i.e. if you’re using the left side of your throat, use your left fingers to push on the artery). I like to use a ten-second reading to gauge my heart rate.
Aim for working between 65-75 percent of your maximum heart rate (MHR). Pre-pregnancy we are told to exercise between 65-85 percent of our maximum heart rate. For pregnancy, it is different. I would advise to stay below 75 percent of your maximum heart rate.
To calculate your maximum heart rate:
Maximum Heart Rate/Beats per Minute = [(220-your age) x .75] x 100
(Divide by six to get your ten-second reading)
Minimum Heart Rate/Beats per Minute = [(220-your age) x .65] x 100
(Divide by six to get your ten-second reading).
To learn MUCH MORE information on KEY pregnancy topics like HOW TO minimize your weight gain, get fit to deliver, and eliminate your food cravings, visit pregnancywithoutpounds.com