While there are countless ways of staying fit and giving yourself that required dosage of exercise during pregnancy, walking would definitely be the simplest and most sought out option among them all. There are countless benefits of walking during pregnancy and it is also the safest exercise for you during this period.
Here are some reasons why walking must absolutely feature in your pregnancy fitness regime.
Top Benefits of Walking During Pregnancy
Walking is an exercise which you can continue throughout the course of your pregnancy unless otherwise advised by your doctor. The key, however, is to not overdo it by walking too fast or too much.
Minimises the Risk of Gestational Diabetes
Your rising blood sugar levels during the course of pregnancy would put you at the risk of gestational diabetes and type 2 diabetes post delivery. This would lead to complications like preterm labour and delivery of an obese baby. By walking during pregnancy, you can not only keep a check on your sugar level but can also stay fit and active. Walking regularly would also ensure that your baby has a healthy weight and increase your chances of a normal delivery.
Eliminates the Risk of Hypertension and Pre-Eclampsia
Pre-eclampsia is a condition that elevates your blood pressure level leading to a damage to your liver or kidneys. Eclampsia gives you convulsions or fit-like symptoms due to high blood pressure that might lead to coma. Walking everyday helps in maintaining a healthy cholesterol level and, in turn, a normal blood pressure level in your body. It also manages protein levels in your urine. Thus, walking eliminates all these risks and manages the health of your kidney and liver naturally.
Blame your hormones for it, but during pregnancy, you would experience excessive mood swings and elevated levels of stress. This can affect you and your unborn baby. Walking during pregnancy would lift your mood and relieve your stress. Brisk walking helps in boosting the endorphin (mood regulating hormone) secretion in your body. This would, therefore, manage your mood swings and help you feel relaxed.
Eases Pain and Swelling
During the course of pregnancy, you would tend to experience multiple discomforts like pains, spasms, and swellings in your body. This can be due to different reasons like the extra weight you are carrying around your abdomen, excessive secretion of hormones that weaken your joints, and a change in your centre of gravity that tends to increase your postural strain. By walking during pregnancy, you can decrease such discomforts, improve your spinal function, improve your overall energy level, and aid easier labour. It would also help you in speedy post-partum recovery.
Improvement in your Overall Health
Walking daily would also minimize the typical discomforts associated with pregnancy like nausea, sleep apnoea, constipation, and varicose veins. The built-up energy in your body would be burnt-off effectively and your digestion would improve to a great extent. Also, after a session of walking, you would tend to feel exhausted or drained and have a greater chance of sleeping throughout the night.
Tips to Keep in Mind
Walking might be the easiest exercise you can do during pregnancy, but there are few pointers that you must keep in mind to prepare yourself for the process.
• Wear soft and comfortable shoes that can support your ankles and arches. Walking in sandals might increase the risk of slipping and falling.
• Wear clothes keeping the weather conditions in mind. Protect yourself from excessive exposure to the sun with sunscreen and an umbrella or a light scarf.
• Stay hydrated and always carry a water bottle with you.
• Don’t overdo your walking session and keep it short and relaxing. If you are in the advanced stages of your pregnancy, it is advisable that you have company while you walk.
• Start slow and gradually increase your duration if you are new to walking. If you haven't been walking much before pregnancy, start with shorter durations of 15-20 minutes everyday and raise it slowly if you find it comfortable.
• Ensure that you walk on a firm and levelled ground. Avoid slippery, uneven, and hilly surfaces completely. Start with a slow pace and gradually increase it to a brisk walk.
• Never exhaust yourself completely and take adequate breaks whenever necessary.
Any fitness regime during pregnancy requires a medical consultation and walking is no exception. Do have a word with your doctor to ensure that it is safe for you and your unborn baby.
Also read: Superfoods And Their Role In Pregnancy