- Getting started walking
- Tips for walking with diabetes
- How often should I exercise?
- How many calories will I burn?
- Is walking a good workout?
- Warm up for walking
- Walking for health
- Pregnancy and walking
- Walking can help our overweight youngsters
- Walking helps in fight against obesity
- Avoid travel chaos: walk to work!
- Diet Coke nutrition info
- 10 reasons to take up walking
- Walking facts
- Finding motivation
- How a good walk can help with stress
- A cliff with a view: New Quay walk
- St Nicholas, Vale of Glamorgan
- Bawsey Church near King's Lynn, Norfolk
- Walking Facts and Figures
- Rambling: how to get started
- Footpath Erosion
- Advice and Information for Leaders of Rambles
- An Introduction to the Hadrian's Wall Path
- An Introduction to the Pennine Way
- An Introduction to the Coast to Coast Walk
- An Introduction to the Cotswold Way
- Public Rights of Way FAQ
- A Guide to Walking in Britain
- More Than a Walk
Pregnancy and walking
A FEW days before Jo Clements' baby was born - when most mums-to-be are finding it tough enough just getting up in the morning - Jo was still walking her regular one hour a day.
"It was really important to me to stay fit and strong throughout my pregnancy," says Jo, a personal fitness trainer from Reigate, Surrey. "There's so little you can control when you're pregnant at least you feel like you're doing your best to stay healthy. I felt it would make my baby healthier, too."
To Jo, who delivered a healthy baby boy called Boe in November, the benefits were clear. She found that regular walks lowered her stress levels and that she was positively glowing - a benefit of both pregnancy and exercise.
Regular, gentle exercise such as walking promotes muscle tone, strength and endurance. It can help you carry the weight you gain during pregnancy, prepare you for the physical stress of labour, and make it easier to get back into shape after the birth. Being active during pregnancy can also reduce the physical discomforts of backache, constipation, fatigue, and swelling; can improve your mood and self-image; and can even help you sleep better. Jo also found that the regular walks gave her time away from any problems or worries, while also allowing her to concentrate on herself and the baby.
To gain real benefit from walking Pregnancy & Birth magazine fitness expert Pamela Ann Smith recommends 20 to 30 minutes of walking three to four times a week. In the second half of pregnancy the mother's increased blood volume and circulation mean the target heart rate for effective exercise is reached sooner - results can be achieved by walking less distance than normal.
Increased blood flow and a higher metabolic rate will make you feel warmer than usual when pregnant - especially during exercise. It's important not to become over-heated but this can be avoided by drinking lots of water and wearing loose-fitting clothes. Mild to moderate exercise like walking is recommended, but should be stopped or decreased if fatigue is felt. A good idea is to ensure breathing is never so hard that it is difficult to speak.
Even if you didn't exercise regularly like Jo before pregnancy, it's not too late to enjoy similar benefits. The key is to begin slowly, and then gradually build up the pace and distance. However, to be safe it's best to check with a doctor or midwife first, and to stop if any pain is felt.
Once the body has had time to recover after the birth, walking is a brilliant way to begin exercising again. Jo found that it gave the two of them precious time together in the fresh air away from nappies and feeds. Boe certainly seems to love his regular outings and is stimulated by all the new sights and sounds, although he finishes most walks fast asleep.
Jo is now looking forward to getting back to teaching aerobics once her maternity leave is over. Which won't present many problems - thanks to all that walking.