Step to it and reap the benefits of walking during pregnancy.
Safe, convenient and easy. Those are the reasons many doctors recommend walking for exercise during pregnancy. It's low-impact, can be done at a moderate pace and is typically safe throughout all nine months. If you don't regularly exercise, walking is easy to pick up. But, of course, speak with your doctor about exercising before you get started.
For everyone, physical activity—at a moderate pace for 30 minutes a day—helps keep the mind, heart and bones healthy. Walking has particularly appealing benefits for pregnant women:
Pregnancy can be tiring. Walking boosts energy and improves endurance. Being active may also help you get a better night's sleep. And it can reduce aches, pains and swelling.
Walking strengthens and stretches muscles. The stronger you become during pregnancy, the better off you may be during labor and delivery, which require stamina and focus. Plus, if you are in the habit of being active before giving birth, you may be more likely to keep up walking postpartum and bounce back to your pre-baby weight more quickly.
Although you can walk throughout pregnancy, your body is changing and there are a few things to look out for. Hormones from pregnancy cause ligaments to relax in joints, making them looser and more susceptible to injury—a reminder not to push yourself too hard. Your center of balance will also shift and put you at risk for falling, so stick to even ground. You are carrying more weight than before pregnancy, therefore your body is working harder and you may tire more quickly. Rest when you need to.
Wear comfortable sneakers that support your ankles and arches. Dress in layers. Weather and hormones may make you hot one minute and cold the next. If temperatures start rising outside, head to an air-conditioned mall or walk on a treadmill at the gym.
Drink lots of water while exercising to prevent overheating and dehydration. And make sure you eat a healthy diet and get the calories you need for pregnancy to help you stay fueled for walking.
Consult with your doctor before wearing compression hosiery or starting a new exercise regimen.