5 easy pregnancy exercises you can do outdoors with @laurenallenfitness

Pregnancy | | Lauren Allen

Improve your physical and mental wellbeing by taking your pregnancy exercise outside! Research from the Mental Health Foundation has shown that adults that feel more connected to nature, reap the rewards when it comes to their health.

Not sure where to start? The lovely @laurenallenfitness has shared her top tips below...

Getting outdoors has many health benefits that can improve both physical and mental wellbeing. As the days get lighter and longer, they offer greater opportunity to get out into the fresh air and reap the benefits of taking your exercise outdoors.

Physical activity is known for its ability to lower blood pressure, increase circulation and improve sleep – all vital during pregnancy to improve health and wellbeing to both mother and baby. As long as you are cleared from your doctor/midwife to participate in exercise an outdoor workout may be just what you need to keep you mobile, maintain fitness levels and keep your mind at ease during pregnancy.

The added benefits of exercising in the fresh air include a boost in your mood, variety in your sessions and no monthly memberships or added expenses. Mixed terrains also offer better joint stability and balance compared to walking on a treadmill. There are a number of ways you can take the workout outside.

Go for a walk

A walk around your local area or the park is low impact and can be used as an opportunity to catch up with a friend for a chat or while out and about with children. A family walk will offer precious bonding time as well as help improve the moods and fitness of all involved. It can also help build a positive relationship with exercise and make it more enjoyable. Explore your local area and where possible leave the car at home for a journey on foot.

Take it to the park 

Body weight exercises such as squats, lunges and push ups (elevated or on knees if pregnant to protect the core) can be completed with zero equipment and still work all the major muscles in the body building strength and endurance as well as cardiovascular fitness. If you don’t have a park locally or are a little self-conscious to exercise in a public space, you can always take the session to your garden or get a friend involved for extra motivation and support.

Pack a resistance band

Resistance bands are easy to carry on the go and can be used for a range of exercises to help build strength and improve posture. They’re ideal for popping into your bag or under the push chair on a walk and squeezing in a quick full body strengthening workout. This added resistance is not only beneficial for the muscles but also the joints.

Outdoor swimming

Fresh water swimming has grown in popularity during lockdown with many reporting life changing benefits. The cold, fresh water may not be suitable for you during pregnancy as there are very little studies on its safety, but some leisure facilities have outdoor pools that are far safer and cleaner with easier exit routes and staffed by lifeguards. Swimming can help ease pregnancy related aches and pains, reduce swelling and is gentle on the joints while helping maintain endurance, stamina, and muscular strength.

Find an outdoor class

If you don’t know where or with whom to start, many instructors now host outdoor sessions. Find out what’s available in your local area but be sure to confirm with the instructor if you are pregnant or post partum so they can take the correct and safe precautions and adjustments.

Staying active during your pregnancy will help you ease aches and pains as well as build and maintain strength and aerobic fitness to assist in birth and the post-partum period. If you are new to exercise start by slowly introducing short intervals of walking or swimming and always consult with your doctor.

In the UK we typically have lower levels of vitamin D and this can have a negative impact on our physical wellbeing. There are also studies that suggest this negative impact can take its toll on our mental wellbeing. Getting outside for even just 10 minutes a day will help you maintain a healthy mind and soak in some well needed vitamin D.

If you are planning on heading outside ensure you stay hydrated and take cover under shade to avoid overheating.