By walking, you will combine the pleasure of a sport whilst also getting out in the fresh air. But that's not all! You will also without realising it be fighting against the sensation of heaviness in the legs, because active walking stimulates the circulation in your lower limbs.
Active walking also improves your abdominal muscles: ideal for preparing you for birth! You can use your walking sessions for practising your breathing. Clear your mind and practise short breathing exercises that tone your pelvic floor.
Practise in 30-minute sessions — split into 2 X 15 minutes — do not forget to hydrate yourself.
After the birth of your baby, you can return to active walking. This is one of the best post-partum sports that you can practise 4 to 6 weeks after the birth, upon medical advice.
It is possible to combine active walking and breastfeeding, but sometimes engorged breasts can be a source of discomfort during the exercise.
"The most important thing for me is to have the correct bust support with a comfortable sports bra. To avoid your thighs chafing, wear close-fitting clothes that are breathable, and elastic-waisted so that your abdomen is not compressed. Finally, flexible, lightweight shoes which enable you to roll your foot correctly and that are comfortable enough for walking with baby!"
To practise active walking safely during pregnancy, here are a few simple precautions:
-wear comfortable shoes suitable for active walking;
-protect your back by walking without a bag and on flat, soft ground, such as a woodland trail or a grassy footpath;
-control your breathing: you should be able to sing without feeling out of breath;
-limit the intensity and the duration of your sessions, because your baby also needs your oxygen!
"Provided you are not suffering from raised blood pressure, active walking can be practised up to a few days before the birth." Dr Bacquaert adds however that "the uterus should not be dilated, weight gain and abdominal girth should not be too great."
If you are in any doubt, consult your doctor before embarking on an active walking programme.