Q: What's the best exercise to do during pregnancy?
A: Walking is the perfect exercise for almost anyone at any time--especially pregnant women: It provides a cardiovascular workout without jarring or stressing your joints, ligaments, growing belly and breasts. In fact, it's so gentle that even sedentary women can start walking while pregnant. "Walking is fantastic for so many reasons, including the fact that most of us can walk with ease no matter how big we get," says Danielle Symons Downs, Ph.D., assistant professor of kinesiology and director of the exercise psychology laboratory at Pennsylvania State University.
Consistency is crucial to derive the benefits, which include increased energy, stress release and weight control. Mark Fenton, co-author of Walking Through Pregnancy and Beyond (Lyons Press, 2004), recommends walking 6 days a week, or as many days as you feel comfortable with, for at least 30 minutes. The only equipment you'll need is a pair of well-cushioned shoes.