Walking During Pregnancy - Benefits, Tips & Precautions
Benefits Of Walking During Pregnancy?
Is it necessary? Not in particular, but it is a safe and great exercise for pregnant women. It makes sure that you are getting enough exercise you usually require during pregnancy. The benefits of walking, which are hard to ignore, are as follows.
1. Physical Fitness:
Walking in pregnancy period makes you physically fit and active. It is a complete body exercise routine, which improves your cardiovascular health and tones your muscles.
2. Healthy Baby:
Walking will keep you and your baby’s weight in check. It will help achieve healthy baby weight, thereby making the delivery process easy and natural.
3. Lowers Risk of Gestational Diabetes:
High blood sugar levels during pregnancy will keep you at greater risk of type 2 diabetes after delivery and increases the risks of pre-term labor and having an obese baby. Exercises like walking will keep your body weight in control and reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes.
4. Lowers Risk of Pre-Eclampsia:
Pre-eclampsia is a pregnancy complication indicated by high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine. Walking helps maintain a healthy weight and reduces cholesterol, thus balancing blood pressure levels during pregnancy. This way, you could be at lower risk of premature labor that happens due to pre-eclampsia (2).
Stress is a common symptom for most pregnant women. Blame it on hormones, but a pregnant woman has mood swings, from happiness and elation to anxiety and depression. Walking, like any other exercise, releases endorphins, the feel-good chemical in the body. It is a great stress-buster and elevates your mood especially on days when you are feeling extremely low.
6. Increases the Chances of Normal Delivery:
Walking during pregnancy increases flexibility and tones up your hip muscles, an excellent means for a faster, easier and pain-free labor. Early morning walk is more helpful for a natural childbirth. When you are in a better shape, you are prepared well for delivery.
7. Relieves Aches And Discomforts:
During pregnancy, you may be prone to certain pains and discomforts that develop when you are not active. Walking will help relieve you of this pain and discomfort. The stretching of legs during the walk will help you get rid of the aches.
8. Other Benefits:
Walking will reduce the chances of developing morning sickness, fatigue, cramps, constipation, varicose veins and being sleeplessness especially at nights. Exercising on a regular basis induces sleep and walking every day will help burn off excess energy, therefore promoting sound sleep.
Pregnancy Safe Walking Tips:
If you feel comfortable walking and moving around during pregnancy, you should follow the below tips to enjoy its benefits.
You may use a maternity belt available in medical stores as it helps improve the posture during walking.
You may drink about half a glass of milk or half a piece of apple before you go for a walk. Also, you can consume tender coconut water soon after you come back from walking.
Look forward while walking, to avoid sudden falls.
Do not walk too fast, but develop your own comfortable pace. Brisk walking when pregnant helps your heart and lungs work efficiently without causing any physical damage to knees and ankles.
Stretch yourself thoroughly both before and after a walk. It offers relaxation to muscles and ligaments, thus warming you up. It also improves flexibility and removes the soreness that you may experience.
When you begin walking, you may experience hip or pelvic soreness initially. Stretching can only help relieve soreness.
If you feel hot, breathless or tired, take a break. Do not allow your body to heat up as it can cause preterm contractions.
Walk carefully as your center of gravity will shift with the expanding belly.
You can listen to some music if you are walking in a calm area where there are not many distractions.
Aim for a healthy workout routine, which may include 30 minutes walk or 20 minutes yoga plus 20 minutes of walk.
Walk with an accomplice who can keep you motivated.
You can also walk to a shop, office or friend’s place as a part of the walking routine.
You may even get down one stop before so as to take a leisure walk.
Use stairs instead of elevators so that you will get the chance to walk.
[ Read: Climbing Stairs During Pregnancy ]
If it is too hot outside, go for a walk in an air-conditioned area or avoid walking on those days. You can also try swimming instead of walking.
Take a break when you feel like resting and do not overdo as your body may then use oxygen that is meant for the baby inside.