Sunday, August 30, 2009

Healthy Heart Observations by a Pregnant Woman

For those that don't know, I'm 12-weeks pregnant with my first child. I've been exercising consistently for most of my adult life and now at 32 I'm healthier than ever. My doctor gave me a higher heart rate goal than most because I have an established exercise program going into my pregnancy. The conventional wisdom for prenatal fitness is 140 beats per minute and my doctor gave me a max target of 160 bpm. I was very happy to hear the news. Based on my zone training with my heart monitor, I previously targeted 170 -175 as my max for aerobic endurance. Now, I only have to hold back a little to exercise safely during pregnancy. Using my zones, I was able to manage my asthma symptoms naturally with aerobic endurance training.

Pre-pregnancy, I worked out 5 times per week and 3 of those days were taking spin class. Read my previous post from my former cycle instructor for beginner tips. Now, in my early pregnancy, I work out with less intensity because my heart rate elevates faster than before, but I still try to exercise 4 days per week. So now, I do less running and slow jogging. When my heart rate creeps up to 160, I switch to brisk walking.

Yesterday, I went to a one-hour spin class. With cycling it's easier to control your heart rate than with running. I can ease the cadence (speed) or the intensity on the gears if my heart rate goes above 160. I worked out steadily for 60 minutes feeling fantastic and strong. Pregnant or not, cycling is a foundational form of exercise that you can do at any age or fitness level, without putting undue strain on your joints.

The ONLY way I can manage my heart rate is using my heart monitor. It's great for everyone. It's a perfect workout companion. I only paid $100 for mine. If you use your heart monitor every time you exercise, you can learn more about your body than just going "blind."

When you exercise with a heart monitor, you know for sure whether to pull back or push forward with intensity to exercise safely. I truly believe it's tool that can optimize your workout!

Check out this resource page for more info on heart rate training.

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