The benefits of walking during pregnancy
In some cultures, exercise is considered detrimental to pregnancy but people are becoming increasingly aware now of the benefits of walking during pregnancy. Walking in pregnancy is important for the health of the mother and child, and it may even reduce the risk of problems, like aching legs during pregnancy or excess weight gain. It is now advised that at least thirty minutes of moderate activity or 8,000 steps per day is recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and this can include occupational, sports and general activities which involve raising the heart rate slightly.
Exercising during pregnancy comes with all sorts of benefits, as long as you don’t overdo it. And, if you have been diagnosed with pregnancy-related symptoms, then your doctor may advise against exercise altogether.
So, unless you are having a complicated pregnancy and/or your doctor has advised bed rest for the duration of the nine months, walking is known to be the best form of exercise because it is gentle on the body and great for the lungs and heart. Walking is great at any point in your life, but here are some benefits of walking during pregnancy:
You only need a great pair of walking shoes
It’s a cheap way of getting fit because all you need is a comfortable pair of shoes and some ground to walk on. During pregnancy, your feet will require a lot of support and plenty of ventilation, so opt for a specialist trainer that ticks all the boxes, like the like Wolkyshop’s e -walk trainer. The E-Walk is made from a special soft stretch leather and has a Roll-a-Way system that allows for automatic foot rolling action from heel to toe – perfect for those tired pregnant feet that are carrying a little extra weight.
The E-Walk will also fully adjust itself to the foot during pregnancy due to the lace design, and the breathable material will ventilate your feet during your walk, which means you can travel in comfort while walking long distances. Watch the video here to find out more about the E-Walk and see it in action too.
Walking is a safe form of exercise
You may be wondering when to start walking during pregnancy. The great answer is you can start straight away! Walking is a gentle cardiovascular exercise so it is safe during pregnancy for the entire nine months. It is also one of the easier forms of exercise to get started with if you weren’t active before you got pregnant.
Make sure to start slowly at first if you haven’t walked before, and work your way up to brisk walks, increasing the length of time slowly. You only need to walk around twenty to thirty minutes, five to seven times a week provided your doctor has given you the go-ahead to do so.
Make sure to also stay cool and hydrated during your walk and slow down when you feel your body temperature rising, which can sometimes bring on contractions, due to dehydration. One tip is to freeze half a bottle of water and then add cold water before you walk so that your bottle stays cold throughout and you stay hydrated. After your walk, make sure you put your feet up and rest to prevent swollen feet and ankles. Cool your legs with Mama Mio’s Lucky Legs Cooling Gel, which contains spearmint to provide you with that instant cooling relief. Keep Lucky Legs in your handbag too so you can cool your legs down during your walk!
Walking helps you ease into each trimester
You may experience a nagging headache during pregnancy, or other unfavourable symptoms like constipation. But, the biggest symptom is your growing bump, which may disrupt your overall balance. As long as you are wearing supportive shoes like the E-Walk, which is perfect for keeping your feet comfortable and protected as your feet get bigger, then you should be able to walk safely during pregnancy. Here are some other tips that you should follow when walking during pregnancy:
Avoid uneven terrain or hiking
Your walking regimen should be consistent and efficient, but pregnancy is the time to limit hiking trails/paths that could put you off balance. The flatter the ground the safer the walk. You may also feel safer picking a track that you know so that you can get help quickly in case of an emergency.
Support your pregnant bump
Your bump will bounce up and down as you walk, which may contribute to a sore lower back and painful ligaments. A belly support band will help to keep the bump in place and support the lower back too when you walk.
Maintain good form
It is a good idea to maintain a good form during walking from the offset to minimise painful side effects, especially during pregnancy. When walking, make sure to keep your head up and shoulders back to avoid a sore back. A belly support band will also help you to maintain a good stance during your walks.
Keep people informed of where you are going
In case of emergencies, it is important to let someone know when and where you are walking, as well as when you plan to return from your walk, so people will know how to get to you in case of an emergency. It is also a good idea to keep your phone with you at all times, with the ringer on and ready to call your closest contacts.
It is important to be able to see the route that you are walking on, so it’s safer to walk during daylight or on brightly lit roads. This is so you avoid stumbling due to not being able to see where you are going.
Is too much walking bad during pregnancy?
The most important skill you have to hand is the ability to listen to your body. Your body will tell you if you’re pushing yourself too hard. Look out for aches and pains, as well as signs of fatigue. If your body is too exhausted it will be unable to repair itself fully and this will leave you vulnerable to injury and illness. Do not walk to the point of exhaustion or breathlessness. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to talk easily when walking. Overheating and a heart rate that is too high can become dangerous to you and the baby during pregnancy. You’ll have plenty of time to work off those calories after you’ve given birth!
Gentle and consistent exercise like walking is important during pregnancy because it keeps your body strong and prepared for labour/birth. If you have any pregnancy-related problems, like spotting/bleeding, make sure to consult your doctor first to find out whether you are able to walk during pregnancy.
What are your tips for effective walking during pregnancy? Share your advice in the comments below.
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