Get Out and Walk
A safe, simple and fun (really!) workout that keeps you strong the whole nine months
Every morning Take an easy 5- to 20-minute stroll to loosen up, ease stiffness and create a habit of daily exercise.
Every afternoon/evening Take a l0- to 15-minute walk at a moderate pace to begin building fitness. If you exercised regularly before pregnancy, take a walk at a moderate to brisk pace for up to 40 minutes.
Tip It’s best to do shorter sessions during the day if you experience morning sickness or fatigue.
Monday, Wednesday and Friday Take a brisk 15- to 20-minute walk. If you exercised regularly before pregnancy, walk briskly for 25-40 minutes.
Tuesday and Thursday Take a 25- to 40-minute moderately paced walk. If you exercised regularly before pregnancy, take a 45- to 60-minute moderately paced walk.
Saturday or Sunday Take a 45- to 60-minute stroll.
Tip To add variety and build fitness, alternate longer, slower strolls with shorter, faster walks. Enjoy your strength and power!
Every day Take three moderately paced l0- to 15-minute walks or four moderately paced 5- to l0-minute walks. If you exercised regularly before
pregnancy, take two moderately paced 20- to 25-minute walks or three 15- to 20-minute walks.
Tip Stick to familiar routes with smooth surfaces, wear your most
supportive shoes, and know where you can stop and use a bathroom if necessary. Remember, physical activity can minimize discomfort, so maintain a daily walking habit throughout your pregnancy. If your energy wanes, go for shorter walks.
Exercising in hot weather increases your core body temperature, which could cause birth defects in embryos up to 8 weeks old, says Raul Artal, M.D. Later in pregnancy, exercising in very high temperatures could increase the risk of premature labor or miscarriage, he says. In the summer months, do your workouts in the cooler hours of the morning and evening, or in an air-conditioned gym. And drink plenty of water.
Some sports are out entirely during pregnancy. These include scuba diving, soccer, horseback riding, gymnastics, downhill skiing, basketball and any other physical activity in which there is a high risk of falling or sustaining abdominal trauma. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that you stop exercising immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- vaginal bleeding n shortness of breath
- chest pain
- muscle weakness
- pain or swelling in the calf muscles
- any signs of preterm labor (watery or bloody discharge; pelvic or lower abdominal pressure; or a constant, dull, low backache)
- decreased fetal movement
- leakage of amniotic fluid.