One of the most common topics we get asked about at Limitless Health and Fitness is cardiovascular training. Some of the questions which often get asked include:
‘What is the best type of cardio to do whilst pregnant?’
‘What cardio should I avoid?’ and
‘When should I stop doing cardio when pregnant?’
The truth is that there is no one size fits all explanation, but I will talk about a few of the guidelines that you should stick to in order to ensure your fittest and safest pregnancy*.
Before going any further, I would like to remind all you cardio junkies that although in the majority of cases doing cardio is fine, it is important to cover all types of exercise. Resistance training and flexibility training are just as important.
As a rule of thumb we say if you have been participating in a certain exercise for 6 months prior to falling pregnant then you should be safe to continue to do so when pregnant.
Falling pregnant and then deciding to go for your first 10km run is not a great idea!
With this being said, if you have just fallen pregnant and haven’t been exercising then please don’t be put it off. You just need to be aware that you have to start very slowly. Maybe running isn’t the best exercise for you, but building up your fitness on a stationary bike or swimming will certainly help.
You should look at starting with around 10-15 minutes of cardio, slowly increasing up to 30 minutes once your fitness levels start to improve.
The fitter you are come labour time, the better.
Exercises that you really must avoid, even if you have been doing them for years are exercises where there is a greater risk to trauma to the abdomen.
Any contact sports such as football and skiing should ideally be stopped once you confirm that you are pregnant.
I recommend stopping exercise where there is a great risk of falling; during pregnancy your centre of gravity will shift leaving you more unstable and more likely to falling and injuring yourself and your baby.
I would also be very cautious about interval based training. Interval training is normally used either for fat loss or athletic performance. This will not only put a greater stress through the body, it may also lead to your body overheating which can be dangerous in the early stages of pregnancy.
At Limitless, I like all my clients to train up until around week 38 of their pregnancy.
After that I recommend slowing down. Focus on walking, relaxation, and preparing yourself and your home for the new arrival.
This is also the case with cardio training, most likely you will be too uncomfortable to go for a run now anyway, but I think it’s best to take things easy, and just focus on your pelvic floor work.
The guidelines to conducting cardiovascular training are:
• Avoid high impact or contact sports e.g. rugby or soccer.
• Do not start hard cardiovascular if you have lead a sedentary lifestyle until now. If you have been training for six months prior to falling pregnant then it is considered safe to continue.
• Avoid high intensity exercise which will be a shock to your body.
• Avoid interval training.
• Ensure balance and stability while training.
• Walking is a great, gentle cardio activity that is fantastic for fitness and health during pregnancy.
If you have any questions in relation to cardio vascular training then please feel free to comment or contact us, I’ll be happy to help.
*Disclaimer: Information contained within this blog post is provided as a guide only. For the safest and fittest pregnancy possible we strongly advise that you follow the instructions and expertise of your primary care giver when looking to commence a fitness routine.