Pregnancy Articles

Great Pregnancy Fitness Begins with a Walk

Want to keep your pregnancy fitness program simple, yet effective? Just slip on your walking shoes. Walking during pregnancy is a great way to stay active and improve how you feel. Whether you're into yoga, swimming, low-impact exercises, or sitting on the couch, walking is a fitness staple that even the least motivated can adopt.

Benefits of Walking
Walking is a great cardiovascular exercise during pregnancy because you can reap the benefits of a safe cardio workout without jarring knees, hips, and ankles. It's an excellent way to tone muscles, get fresh air, keep your body regular, and help you sleep soundly at night. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology says you can safely engage in 30 minutes or more of moderate activity during pregnancy.

Starting a Walking Program
Looking for some advice on how to begin a schedule and stick to it? If you're already an avid walker, keep up your program. If you're a beginner, start making walking a habit! Walk 20-30 minutes a day three days a week and work up to 30 - 60 minutes four to five days a week. The best way to build up to longer times is to simply add 5 minutes onto your walk each day until you reach your goal. You can maintain your program all the way through the third trimester as long as it is comfortable.

First Trimester Tips
  • You're likely to feel very strong and won't need to stray far from regular walking habits (and your gait will probably remain the same).
  • Make sure you have comfortably fitted walking shoes for proper support.
  • If walking during summer, wear appropriate heat and UV protective gear.
  • Carry a water bottle with you to avoid dehydration, which can cause premature contractions and possibly raise body temperature to a dangerous degree.
Second Trimester Tips
  • Your gait is changing to account for extra weight. Pay attention to posture so you don't hurt your back.
  • Keep your head straight, your chin level, your hips tucked under the shoulders to avoid swaying, and your eyes focused in front of you (this is no time to be tripping).
  • Swing your arms to aid balance and intensify the workout.
  • Walk with a buddy to help keep you motivated or to spend the time with a friend.
Third Trimester Tips
  • Stay on even pavement - no bumpy trails that could make you lose your balance.
  • Consider walking on a track since the surface may be smoother and easier on your body.
  • Keep a pace that is comfortable, even if it feels slow.
  • Don't stray too far from home or your car in case you have an emergency.
  • Be sure to keep your heart rate at a safe level, using the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale, also called the Modified Borg Scale.
Cool Down
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