Running is fantastic cardiovascular exercise that's easy and inexpensive. You might not want to start on a gruelling programme of marathon training during your pregnancy but if you were a regular runner before you became pregnant there's no reason not to carry on running just as long as it feels comfortable to do so.
There are plenty of reasons why people take up running and for most healthy women there's no reason not to continue to run whilst pregnant!
Running improves your health
It strengthens your heart and ensures an efficient flow of blood and oxygen throughout your body. Exercise, combined with maintaining a healthy pregnancy weight can help to keep your blood pressure at the right levels and will improve your immune system too.
Running is good for your bones
Running and other weight bearing exercises increases bone density which helps prevent osteoporosis. Good news for pregnant runners is that those strong bones will help you to support and adapt to your weight gain in pregnancy. Even better, maintaining bone density avoids the effects of calcium lost through breast-feeding.
Explore under the power of your running shoes!
Running is a great way to expand your horizons and explore areas of your own community or new locations. Vary your route - run somewhere different! If you're running when pregnant make sure you don't run too far and over-exert yourself.
It requires very little equipment
All you really need is a good pair of running shoes and you can head out of the door to go for a run - anywhere, anytime. Even when you're travelling you don't need to take loads of kit, simply pack your shoes! If you're planning to continue to run whilst pregnant it's worth investing in clothes that will support your bump.
It's a great cure for stress
Any exercise during pregnancy will help alleviate stress and even mild pre-natal depression. Healthy adults who exercise regularly are generally happier! Running releases those feel good endorphins that make you feel more positive.
Join a club
Sometimes it's good to join a club and have some company when you run; it can help with motivation and goal-setting. Finding a pregnant running buddy or joining a group of other pregnant women will help encourage you to run regularly. Remember, your goals for pregnancy exercise should be more modest and you should scale back both the distance and the intensity of your running during pregnancy. It's more about maintaining fitness than training hard - so avoid a hard-core running club!
Running can help you maintain a healthy pregnancy weight
Many people start running to help shift a few extra pounds - it's an efficient way to burn calories and lose weight. If you're already a healthy weight running combined with a sensible diet can help you to maintain it. Running can help ensure your weight gain in pregnancy is maintained at a sensible level without piling on extra pounds!
Running is good for your self-esteem
All those changes to your body can have a negative effect. Running and other exercise during pregnancy improves your posture and body awareness helping you to feel good about yourself the way you look.
And if you have any concerns, chat to your health professional, midwife or fitness instructor.
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