Walking is one of the best pregnancy exercises you can do. Not only does it give you a low-impact, cardiovascular workout that releases all those happy endorphins, but you also get the benefit of being outdoors and in nature. Did you know that it has now been scientifically proven that spending time in nature improves your mood?
However, hiking with a growing bump does mean you need to take a few things into consideration. It may feel mad to spend money on maternity outdoor-wear, but being comfortable will make the difference between you sticking with your outdoor exercise, and getting all the physical and mental benefits, or giving up because it is just too uncomfortable.
The good news is that our list only features kit you can use after, as well as during, pregnancy.
- Hiking boots: This tops our list as it is a question of safety as well as comfort. As your centre of gravity changes with your bump, you may find you are a little clumsy on your feet. Hiking boots, especially those with a high ankle design, will not only give you support on uneven ground, but the tread will help prevent you slipping and sliding. Remember to get your feet measured if you are buying new boots, as feet can grow a full shoe size when you are expecting!
- Water bottle: Dehydration is a big no-no during pregnancy so make sure you have a good, insulated water bottle. You will need more water then you think, but as you really don’t want to be hauling heavy bottles with you, if you are going on a longer hike, choose one that has places where you can either buy water or fill your bottle with water from a safe source. (Slightly off-subject, but do bring snacks as well to keep your blood sugar stable!!)
- A Really Good Maternity Sports Bra: Do I really need one? I hear you ask. The answer is yes! A good, non-wired maternity sports bra will make all the difference to your comfort levels once the pregnancy hormones start playing havoc with your bust! You only really need one, and many brands now have designs that can be also be used during breastfeeding, making them perfect for your post-natal exercising too!
- Layers The great British weather’s ability to go from summer to winter in the space of an hour, means you really need layers when hiking anyway, but add fluctuating body temperatures due to pregnancy, and they become a necessity. A fleece and a waterproof jacket are always a good idea. You can throw the fleece on if it gets a bit chilly, while a jacket will keep the wind and rain off you and bump. Look at it as an investment. The Mother & Nature’s range has zipped side-panels that literally grow with your bump and then zip back down after the birth. While we are on the subject of clothing, walking trousers are another good investment. They will keep you dry and mud-free, and protect your legs from scrapes, stings and insects!
- Walking poles: Lots of outside bloggers like Kate Limburn @Babyroutes and Monica from mammaonthetrail.com recommend one or even two walking poles, especially if you there are hills on your walking horizons. They will give you extra support when you are going uphill, while on the way down they will not only steady you, but also reduce the amount of jarring you do to your knees and hips. Think of them as an alternative to a helping hand!!
On e for the road: Remember your skin is much more sensitive during pregnancy, so don’t forget to put a hat and SPF on if you are hiking in the summer.