Pregnancy and Cycling - (Featured Writer Whitney Arensberg)
I have know Whitney for years and years. Well, my whole life actually! She is my one and only sister! I grew up living with five terror brothers. So to have a sister is a special thing. She is currently pregnant with her second child and makes pregnancy look SO fun. She hikes, and runs and goes on long painful bike rides. Yeah, she acts like nothing has changed, like she's not even pregnant. She just goes, and goes, and goes. I thought pregnancy was suppose to be the time when you make excuses NOT to go and go. It was the time when you sit on the couch and holler for pickels and bonbons. Well, times have changed.
Featured Writer - Whitney Arensberg
Keep spinning those legs ladies, even though you may be carrying a little extra cargo!
I've heard that the pregnant female body is far more aero than the regular shape, due to the high-efficiency tear-drop shape. Wind tunnel testing, done at great expense, has shown getting pregnant to be one of the highest performance upgrades you can make. Just make sure you are wearing proper lycra at all times, to eliminate any source of turbulence around your now perfectly aerodynamic body.
Seriously though, the 'old model' for pregnancy amounted to, "Do nothing at all, sit or lay in your bed all day reading romance novels until you have your baby." That isn't the case anymore, but there are definitely some holdovers. If you are in good physical shape now, I don't think your doctor would have a problem with you continuing to cycle until fairly far along in the pregnancy. You may appreciate a more upright riding position however. It is my opinion (and I think it is shared by many doctors), that as long as you are careful about it, maintaining physical activity for as long as possible through the pregnancy can only be good for yourself and the baby. A healthy mother will make a healthy baby, and cycling is a part of that picture.
Modify your intensity. Most experts agree that mild to moderate intensity is best. It is important to use a rate of perceived exertion to monitor your exercise intensity.
Hydrate generously. A good rule of thumb is to drink enough water throughout the day to keep your urine clear to pale yellow. Drink frequently during class as well to help to cool your body.
Stay cool. With indoor exercise, ventilation and light clothing are essential to aid in heat dissipation.
Adjust bike set-up. As your body continues to change, you may need to raise the handle bars and make additional adjustments to the saddle in order to remain comfortable.
Avoid out-of-the-saddle movements. The growth of the abdomen will create changes in the center of gravity drawing it forward, which may lead to undue stress on the knees because of the increase in weight and joint laxity associated with pregnancy.
Take frequent postural breaks. Lower back discomfort is common in pregnancy. Sit up tall in the saddle with arms down by your sides to give your back relief from time to time during class.
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