Walking is a fantastic, free way to maintain your health. Thirty minutes of brisk walking on most days is all you need to stay in good health. There’s no need to sign up for expensive exercise classes to get fit, all you need are some comfortable shoes and clothing.
Walking regularly will help keep you toned, help maintain a healthy weight, and keep a positive mind-set. It also helps to prevent chronic disease such as diabetes.
How to start a walking regime
- A good long term goal is to walk for 45 minutes every day. If you are a beginner, this may need to be achieved slowly. Consistency is the key.
- Set some time-oriented goals. Complete these at a comfortable pace, though you should be breathing slightly heavily and working up a sweat. Do a “talk test,” where you should be able to talk comfortably while still exerting yourself. Moderate-intensity when walking is a safe exertion level when pregnant. If you are feeling short of breath or light-headed you are pushing yourself too hard. The aim of exercise is to get your blood pumping and muscles working enough to tone-up and release the ‘happy hormones’ without causing any specific body aches and pains.
- A pedometer is an easy way to count your steps during the day. Adults, including pregnant women, should aim for 10,000 steps per day.
How to continue a walking regime
- Set achievable goals.
- Change the routes and locations for variation to keep you interested.
- Walk for purpose when you can e.g. to the shop, school or work. You could also train for the next fun-run event!
- Find a walking buddy. Studies have shown that people who exercise together are more likely to maintain consistency.
- Find a walking group which is a great way to stay fit and build up a new support network.
- Ask friends or people at your antenatal class, local recreation centre or find a group close-by through the Heart Foundation.
- Listen to music that makes you feel like moving.
Want to know more?
Baby Center – Great pregnancy exercise: walking