It is all fine and good to call walking a good exercise if you own a car and don't have to walk everywhere, but even at that, if done with the right mindset, walking can be very beneficial to both mom and baby.
All around us we are bombarded with this exercise plan and that exercise plan and of course walking can involve an "exercise plan" as well, but for now I am just talking about getting out and walking, one step at a time to reap the benefits of being in the out-of-doors and moving.
The requirements are few and the rewards are good!
Comfortable shoes are all you need to begin, and somewhere to walk. You can start with the most comfortable shoes you have in your possession and your block or street. If you are pregnant and you haven't been getting out much, you need to be aware that your balance will be a little different than you are used to so be careful and check out the sidewalk, or wherever you are walking to familiarize yourself with it. Once you get the hang of it, you can walk a little faster with your head up and your shoulders back. In this way you will improve your posture and breathe deeper.
So what are some of these good rewards?
During Pregnancy, walking will
- Help keep your body fit which can be a protection against gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
- Increase muscle tone which could help you to have a shorter, easier labor.
- Ease constipation.
After Birth, walking will
- Burn calories, which will help with weight loss.
- Get you and baby out of the house!
- Boost your mood, and help to reduce depression.
- Boost your energy.
- Will increase your socialability. Ask a friend, family member, or neighbor to join you. You might even meet some other parents who live in the area.
In General, walking will
- Improve your mood.
- Give you a Vitamin D boost. From March to December between 11 am and 3 pm you can probably walk without sunscreen which will increase your vitamin D intake. During those hotter summer months, don't skip the sunscreen.
- Help you to think more creatively as opposed to when you are sitting.
- Improve your body response to insulin which can help reduce belly fat.
- Lower your blood pressure which can ward of chronic disease like hypertension.
- Prevent vericose veins from developing or delay the development for those who are genetically pre-disposed.
- Increased regularity of bowel movements.
Gleaned from multiple articles, quoting multiple experts these are some of the benefits you can expect from walking regularly. The optimum would be to walk 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week. This might seem more than you can handle. As stated at the beginning, just get started. Commit to getting out there and doing what you can with the goal of increasing time and frequency as you go. Maybe your first goal could be to increase your walking to 5 days per week. Your next goal could be to increase to 30 minutes per day, or visa versa.
Easy does it, but do it! I know you can. Once you have committed to this goal, the probability of you achieving other goals is increased. Have fun, enjoy the scenery, and your new found "feel good". Maybe I will see you out there!