The importance of movement during pregnancy & postpartum
So, you may see a lot of people with Fitbits, Apple watches, Garmin watches or just people talking about ‘getting their steps in’ a lot more now than in previous years. You may also be thinking why is this so important? Well, you are in luck as the aim of this blog, is to educate you about the importance of daily movement and light exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period.
Walking is the most commonly chosen type of physical activity during pregnancy and postpartum as it provides so many health benefits to both the mother and child. Walking is free, easily accessible and unrestricted. Pregnant women are faced with a number of barriers and walking is unique as it appears to be resistant to many obstacles as it can be integrated into day-to-day life. You may be somebody who has never exercised before or never been to a gym; or you could be the opposite and before and during pregnancy you hit the gym consistently. Regardless of your experience with exercise and physical activity, what often occurs during pregnancy is a reduction in daily movement. This is also the case post pregnancy when you may be healing, have limited time and, as a result, motivation to exercise maybe reduced.
There are many mental health benefits walking and daily movement can provide and these are: improved mood, sleep quality, self esteem, reduced anxiety and prevention of fatigue. It can be a great social interaction opportunity too. As well as the mental health benefits there are many physical health benefits to walking and light exercise and these include: lower blood pressure, strengthening of joints and muscles, weight management and improved performance of vital organs i.e heart and lungs.
Just 30 minutes of walking per day is recommended and that equates to around 4000 steps. There are many ways to increase your daily opportunities to walk and these include: walking instead of driving, walking the dog, pottering around the house, cleaning, pushing the pram and parking further away from the shops. Take a moment to have a think about your day and how you could increase your daily step count, daily movement and set yourself a small goal of walking to improve your physical and mental health.
Aimee Ellen O’Keeffe