We understand you completely:
You enjoy exercising and using the elliptical. But, you’re pregnant and are wondering whether it is safe to use it? Perhaps there is a hidden danger you should be aware of? Or maybe there is a safer and more effective alternative you can use?
A thousand questions arise, and it feels like everyone has their unique take on it.
In this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know about the elliptical and whether using it during pregnancy is safe.
Ready? Let’s dive in…
Is The Elliptical Okay to Use While Pregnant?
The elliptical provides a low-impact and versatile way to do highly-beneficial aerobic exercise. Instead of performing impactful activities like running or dull ones like using a stationary bike, you get to exercise your entire body without putting undue stress on your hips, knees, or ankles.
Furthermore, the elliptical offers a natural movement pattern, and you can vary the intensity and resistance level to suit your needs. For example, if you don’t want to stress your lower body musculature, you can decrease the resistance and use the elliptical for a longer period. In doing so, you can burn a respectable number of calories and prevent rapid weight gains that are common during pregnancy.
The last thing worth noting is that you can use the elliptical at home, so you don’t have to exercise at a gym if you don’t want to or feel particularly self-conscious.
Here are some guidelines:
- Keep the intensity low to moderate
- Aim for between 20 and 40 minutes of exercise
- Use the elliptical between two and five times per week
- Avoid working too hard, to the point where you feel sore or overly-fatigued in the following days
Now that we’ve covered the primary question, let’s look at a few other essential considerations. Read on to find out what they are.
Can I Use An Elliptical After The Fourth Month of Pregnancy?
To answer this question, we first need to look at what happens to your body after sixteen weeks of pregnancy.
The most notable change is that you now have a much more noticeable baby bump. Still, depending on how long you’ve been pregnant, the baby bump shouldn’t be too much to handle, and it shouldn’t be too restrictive. So, unless your doctor specifically advises you to avoid it, the elliptical should be a perfectly viable exercise option.
For one, the elliptical won’t interfere with your baby bump in any way. The type of exercise is also low-impact, so you won’t experience any disturbances.
Here are some safety tips to keep your exercise sessions fruitful:
- Wear loose and comfortable clothes. This will help you move around freely and not feel anxious.
- Pick a pair of comfortable shoes for your workouts. Though you might not have to lift your feet off the pedals, it’s still important to have the right footwear for optimal training.
- Take it slow and easy. You’re not training for a marathon, so you don’t have to push yourself that that. The most important thing is that you enjoy your workouts and avoid pushing yourself to your limits. If needed, take occasional breaks.
- Keep a water bottle handy, and make sure to sip regularly. This will help keep you hydrated throughout your workouts.
- Keep some healthy snacks around for when you’re done with the workout. Good options include fruits, trail mix, and protein bars.
What Type of Exercise Is Safe To Do While Pregnant?
Now that we’ve established the safety and productivity of elliptical training, you’re probably wondering, “Well, are there other types of safe and effective exercise I can do while pregnant?”
In fact, there are. Below, we’ll look at four fantastic alternatives:
Yes, walking is a fantastic way to keep active, burn some calories, and reap many benefits. For one, walking helps you clear your head, organize your thoughts and boost your mood. If you feel anxious or are struggling to figure something out, there is a good chance that a short walk might be just what you need.
Walking also helps you burn calories, promotes a healthy metabolism, and helps prevent unwanted weight gain during pregnancy. As little as ten to twenty minutes of walking per day can make a significant difference in the long run.
Walking is also easy to integrate into your day. Instead of taking the car everywhere, why not figure out where you might want to walk to instead? For example, if the destination is less than ten minutes away on foot, put some comfortable shoes on and walk.
Yoga is another great activity. Most notably, it brings about a deep sense of well-being and relaxation. Thanks to its calming effect, yoga can help you go through periods of anxiety, depression, or self-doubt. The second trimester of pregnancy is typically characterized by unpredictable hormone fluctuations, which often make it difficult to deal with life. Yoga is an activity that helps you remain centered and focused on the positive things in life.
Yoga is also a low-impact activity with profound benefits. You get to improve your flexibility, strength, and whole-body balance. All of these characteristics are beneficial, especially as your pregnancy progresses. Plus, practicing yoga regularly is profoundly satisfying and gives you a real sense of progress.
You can pick several breathing exercises for starters and slowly add non-threatening yoga poses for beginners to your routine.
Like the previous two activities on our list, swimming is another fantastic example of a low-impact activity that delivers incredible benefits. More importantly, swimming is incredibly natural and safe during pregnancy.
As an activity, swimming encourages the involvement of many different muscles in your body. This is fantastic because it helps you burn more calories and improve your aerobic and anaerobic fitness at the same time. This is also great for toning your whole body and keeping yourself in shape well into your pregnancy.
For example, you can do thirty minutes of swimming a few times per week. You don’t need to push yourself too hard. Gentle swimming will be more than enough to help you reap the associated benefits.
Contrary to what you might have been told, squats are incredibly beneficial to do while pregnant. The primary reason is that squats strengthen your lower body’s muscles, which become increasingly important as your pregnancy progresses and you have to carry more weight around.
With that said, you must go about squats safely and avoid pushing yourself too hard. Begin with bodyweight squats, perform each repetition slowly and with control, and stop a set if you feel uncomfortable. It’s also a good idea to consult with your doctor before incorporating squats into your exercise routine.
Here are some pointers:
- Assume a wider stance and point your toes slightly out
- Bring your chest out and shoulders back
- Extend your arms in front of your chest for balance
- Begin to squat by bending your knees while keeping your torso upright – imagine that you’re trying to sit in a chair
- Go down as comfortably as you can – ideally until your knees get to 90 degrees
- Hold the bottom position for a moment and push through your heels to get back up
Is It Safe to Use an Exercise Bike?
As a popular exercise option, the exercise bike is the go-to choice for many people. If you’re one of them, you’re probably wondering how safe it is to use while pregnant.
In general, an exercise bike is safe to use during your pregnancy. Still, before hopping on one and cycling away, it’s essential to be mindful of a few things. More specifically:
- Make sure that you’re cycling at a low to moderate intensity and avoid overexerting yourself.
- Avoid using too high of resistance. Instead, aim for moderate resistance that allows you to maintain between 50 and 60 cycles per minute comfortably.
- Maintain a more upright posture, especially as your stomach grows. Take care to keep it away from the bike, even as you lean forward when you get tired.
Is Walking too Much Bad During Pregnancy?
Too much of anything can be bad, and this fully applies to walking. While this is one of the simplest and most convenient ways to remain active, you must avoid going overboard.
Like any other type of activity, walking also leads to fatigue, which you need to keep in mind. Walking too much can lead to fatigue in your legs and back because you’re carrying extra weight. Too much walking also causes systemic stress, which might not be good for the baby.
As a whole, some walking is great, and you should go by feel. If you start feeling tired from it, that is a good sign to take a step back and perhaps lower your daily step count a notch.
Exercising is not only beneficial but mandatory, and this fully applies to pregnant women.
If you’re pregnant and you’re wondering whether you should even exercise, don’t worry. So long as the activity is comfortable and doesn’t tire you out, it should be okay.
Still, what matters most is that you go by feel, use your best judgment, and avoid doing too much.
We’ve listed some of the most beneficial activities above, so there is plenty to pick from. Plus, you can combine some of them and create yourself a fantastic weekly fitness routine.