Cardio workouts are important for women both during pregnancy and after pregnancy.
In short cardio is short for cardiovascular activity. And these activities are designed to elevate your heart to improve the level of fitness of your heart, lungs, and the circulatory system.
Cardio workouts are also known as Aerobic. The word “aerobic” is that it simply means with oxygen. Activities that require you to bring more oxygen into your system in order to complete them are considered aerobic activities.
Cardio/Aerobic exercise can be done everyday, even during pregnancy. According to ACOG, women with uncomplicated pregnancies should be encouraged to engage in aerobic and strength-conditioning exercises before, during and after pregnancy.
It’s important that you understand that your body will tell you when you need a break—both during the workout itself and those days when you just don’t have the energy to work out. Surprisingly, you will probably feel more energized from working out than if you skip it, but if your fatigue is serious enough that you just can’t drag yourself through the routine, don’t do it. Find all the dos’ and don’ts here.
Safe cardio workouts during pregnancy include: walking, swimming, stationary cycling, low-impact aerobics, racquet sports, running or jogging. *Unless you were running or playing racquet sports prior to getting pregnant, these should not be initiated during pregnancy.
Pregnancy exercise helps swelling, varicose veins, back pain, etc. It also provides benefits to your baby.
Immediately postpartum your doctor might encourage walking. Usually running is not recommended until 4-8 weeks postpartum. It’s important you realize your body will tell you what is too much. Once you feel comfortable you can participate in any cardio exercise you find enjoyable!
A warm up for each exercise session gives the body a chance to adapt gradually to movement and exertion, therefore making exercise easier and benefiting performance. In scientific terms, a warm up provides a higher oxygen uptake. We have all done it—found ourselves 4 minutes into a workout, breathing too heavily and straining, realizing that the routine is tougher than we thought it would be! You should always perform a 5-minute warm up beforehand. You will find that the added blood flow and oxygen uptake reduce the difficulty of the workout. Along similar lines, you should go through a cool down at the end of each exercise session. You can walk or perform another type of safe, low-impact movement in order to return your heart rate to normal, and then stretch to prevent muscle cramping and to improve flexibility.
For prenatal cardio and postnatal cardio workouts, you can stream all of our Prenatal & Postnatal workouts.