Pregnancy can be a very wonderful and thrilling experience, especially if it is your first one. It can also be stressful because pregnancy can cause unwanted weight gain. There are ways that you can shed this excess weight before it even develops and stay fit after the baby arrives too.
There are exercise programs in place that you can follow, but they can be demanding and tiring, however walking is a powerful tool that can help you stay in shape. And with that, let us count the 9 benefits of walking for mums-to-be and new mums:
Strong heart and toned body
Walking is good for your heart health as it helps maintain healthy cardiovascular activity and it also makes it easy to cope with motherhood.
Walking during pregnancy keeps your body active the whole time which may help you deliver your baby easier and in a shorter period of time. It also keeps yours and your baby’s weight in check, which will aid in an easy and natural delivery.
Walking generally sheds off calories, but when pregnant it helps you prevent excess weight gain that comes with pregnancy.
Keeps you motivated
It will be easier to continue with an exercise routine after you give birth because you will already be used to it.
Reduced risk of Preeclampsia
This is a complication in pregnancy that is identified by a rise in blood pressure and a high content of protein found in a pregnant woman’s urine. Walking assists you in keeping a healthy weight and reducing cholesterol which helps balance your levels of blood pressure while pregnant.
Fighting the baby weight
New mums can walk after giving birth to shed off the excess baby weight. But if you were already walking during pregnancy, this should not be difficult to achieve.
New mums may be conscious of their image after giving birth; taking walks can help them get out of the house which will help boost confidence. Getting out of the house will also help your social life because you can also meet new mums as you go on your walks.
Reduced risk of gestational diabetes
The high levels of blood sugar during pregnancy increase your chances of getting type 2 diabetes after the baby comes, which leads to having an obese baby. Walking will help reduce this.
Boosts your energy
Walking will keep you fit and in turn will keep your energy levels high.
Structure your walks according to the stages of pregnancy
Here are a few tips you can follow in pregnancy week by week in order to make sure that your walking routine does not get too much for your current pregnancy stage. These tips are for a beginner, that is, someone who is not used to any form of exercise.
During 1st trimester
Take it easy. Start with 15-20 minutes every other day then gradually increase to 4 days a week. You can increase the number of days to 5 days a week after a few weeks. The goal is to walk 10-20 minutes for 5 days a week.
During 2nd trimester
Start walking for just 10mins for 4 days for a week first. When you think you can do more, add a day more and walk for 15 minutes. When the trimester ends, you should have walked 15-30 minutes for up to 6 days in a week.
During 3rd trimester
Continue with the 5-6 days a week routine but feel free to tone it down if the size of your belly starts getting in the way. You can have different sessions of walking in a day in order to decrease the time at a go to preserve your energy. You can slowly add a few minutes to your walks and the days in a week. By the end of the trimester, you should walk 15-0mins every day for 6 days in a week.
The 3rd trimester is crucial so be careful not to push yourself too hard. Avoid walking on paths that are uneven and parts that are steep that may cause you to lose your balance. If you happen to experience any type of pain either in your back or pelvis as you are walking, stop immediately and let your doctor know. As your due date is nearing, you should walk on the track. It is always advised that when you do exercise during pregnancy, and you start panting, stop and relax for a little while. Walk slowly and take regular breaks between your walks.
Possible risks to the fetus include hypoxia, hyperthermia, and abnormal heart rate changes. Benefits outweigh the risks if the exercises are done in a safe and moderate manner.
As much as it takes 9 months for the baby to grow in a woman’s womb, pregnant women should prepare for pregnancy as soon as they find out that they are pregnant. During the 9 months, you prepare both emotionally and physically for birth and also being a mom.