Pregnancy exercise isn't always the first thing on your mind if you're dealing with morning sickness, fatigue or aches and pains from carrying your growing bump.
However, walking is a great exercise even for those women who aren't experienced gym bunnies, and a good brisk walk for about 30 minutes will get your heart going (if you're not used to the exercise then start off with shorter walks of about five minutes and build up with a few extra minutes each time).
Pregnancy walking tips
A stroll is great for getting some fresh air, relaxing you and physically taking you away from the daily grind for a while, but if you want to walk for exercise, you do need to be a little more 'active' as you go…
What to wear Unless you are very small-chested, for any form of exercise it is advisable to wear decent support for your boobs, especially as you go through breast changes in pregnancy. For more about the kinds of bras that are best to wear through pregnancy, go to our Buyer's Guide to Maternity Bras.
Wear good, supportive trainers or shoes – you'll be surprised how comfy sandals that do not have enough sole support will not take the pounding even of a mild walking trip and the lack of shock absorption can bring on bad back pain.
Picking your route To really relax, try to pick somewhere beautiful that's not too taxing to get to and where the route does not take you up and down many slopes. A route on even ground, preferably with a well levelled track marked clearly for walkers is best.
Your posture Walk with a good tall posture, making sure your shoulders are not too hunched up, and keeping your hip bones well positioned to support above and below. Think about your stomach muscles (and that area of your core muscles which you can focus on if you draw up your pelvic floor muscle and think about that internal, central point where your body can draw strength) and you will begin to take more of the strain on your core instead of on your back, your knees or your shoulders.
To really give your body a workout without straining, move your arms back and for, close to your sides, with your hands positioned rather as if you were playing 'one potato, two potato'.
If you want to be a bit more serious about it…
Work out your arms too by trying Nordic walking, using supportive poles to pump your arms as you walk. You'll probably find you're happy walking medium distances until birth and in fact, walking can be a great stress and pain reliever when it comes to labour itself.