Walking is one of the top cardio exercises recommended for anybody wanting to get into shape. It’s easy on your body, requires no athletic abilities, and can be done anywhere. Best yet, it is one of the best cardio exercises doctors often recommend to pregnant women. So if you start walking now, you can most likely plan to continue it throughout your whole pregnancy. And even afterwards!
A 150-pound woman, walking at 4 mph (a 15 minute mile) will burn approximately 175 calories in 30 minutes. Pick up the pace, and you can be burning over 200 calories in just 30 minutes!
I’m not going to insult your intelligence and tell you how to walk: you have been doing it for years. But there are some tips to help you get the most of out your cardio walking.
A good pair of walking shoes
It’s the only piece of equipment you will need. While you may initially balk at the prices some tennis shoes will run, investing in a supportive, comfortable pair of shoes is definitely worth it. You can expect them to last six months to a year. And you can be assured that your feet won’t be hurting as you walk. Plus, quality walking shoes will help support you, preventing falls and keeping your stride natural. Ensure that there is ample cushion/support in your walking shoes, especially if you are of a larger size.
Optional gear could include a pedometer or watch. This way you can track how far you walk or keep track of time. If you like to set goals for yourself, then a pedometer is a great way to help you try to beat last time’s mileage or time. If you have an iPod or iPhone, you automatically have a pedometer app–Nike+. You will need a Nike+ sensor in order to track your walks with the Nike+ app.
Get your heart rate up!
To get a true cardio workout in when you are walking, kick up the pace. Admittedly, a leisurely stroll is better than sitting on your butt. But if you truly want results and get your heart rate up, try power walking. You still want to be able to carry on a conversation if you have a girlfriend with you, but only in short sentences. Lengthen your stride and swing your arms to increase your speed. Putting some upbeat, motivational music on your iPod can naturally help you move faster, along with making the time go by faster.
Of course, you should always consult with your doctor or midwife before continuing any exercise into your pregnancy. But the majority of women get the go ahead–and even the encouragement–from their doctors to continue walking all the way to the end of your third trimester. Walking isn’t jarring or rough on your body, and it keeps your body strengthened to help with the upcoming delivery. As your belly starts to grow, it would be wise to stick to flat terrain and to keep a closer circuit to home to ensure your best safety.
[Disclaimer: Read this introduction before you begin any exercise program.]
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