Hiking is an activity with several health benefits. You get to see beautiful places, challenge your skill and stamina, and get in a great cardio workout in the process. Hiking in moderation is generally considered safe during pregnancy. You have to take extra precautions before engaging in any physical activity and be careful to monitor your body while workout out, but with some proper safeguards, hiking can be a safe activity throughout pregnancy.
Benefits of Hiking During Pregnancy
Good Workout: Hiking strengthens leg muscles and can also provide a good cardio workout. Both of these are helpful during pregnancy. Exercise has been shown to help in having a healthier pregnancy, shorter labor, and quicker delivery. It also helps prevent against gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.
Stress Reliever: There is nothing quite like being out in nature and taking in its magnificence to help you gain a sense of serenity and calmness.
Tips For Hiking During Pregnancy
- Take it slow and choose even trails. Bumpy and rugged terrain raises the potential for falling. It’s worth it to invest in a pair of good quality hiking sneakers to provide the most traction and also keep your feet protected and comfortable, as they tend to swell during pregnancy.
- Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. The body can deplete the water reserves in just a small amount of time while exercising. Cutting down on caffeine and salt intake will also allow your body to use fluids more effectively.
- Protect yourself from overheating: Increasing core body temperature above 101 degrees may cause hyperthermia. When hyperthermia occurs for extended periods during the first trimester, studies have shown an increased risk of neural tube defects, including anencephaly and spina bifida. Heart defects and oral cleft defects have also been noted in studies associated with hyperthermia during pregnancy.
- Use hiking poles. During pregnancy, your balance is not what it used to be. Your ever-changing hormones, specifically prolactin, is at work loosening up your joints. You may even notice that your balance is a little off at times while simply walking and you may be more prone to slips and slides. Hiking poles help balance your gait and even give your arms a little workout.
- Take frequent breaks: Fatigue is one of the most common early pregnancy signs and you may not have the stamina you did before getting pregnant. Blame rising progesterone levels in the first trimester. Fatigue may subside with your second trimester but may resurface later on. Carrying around all that extra weight can make you tire easily in the third trimester.