Dogs Boost Exercise Rates for Moms-to-Be

by Shannon Bartlett

Dog Boosts ExerciseMost of us know that exercise during pregnancy has benefits for us and for our babies. Even so, we might need a bit of a boost getting out the door.

Man's, or in this case, mom-to-be's best friend comes to the rescue. Who can resist those pleading puppy dog eyes attached to your prancing-at-the-door dog? Apparently not even a tired, expectant mom can say no.

Higher exercise rates have been consistently been demonstrated for adult dog owners in Australia and the United States. Researchers from the University of Liverpool in the U.K. looked to see if the benefits extended to pregnant women.

They found that pregnant women who own a dog are 50 percent more likely to get the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day.

Exercising during pregnancy (always get your midwife or doctor's approval before beginning a new exercise routine) does mean fitness for two. The potential benefits include:

  • Feeling better in general
  • Less leg and back pain
  • Less likely to get constipated
  • Reducing stress
  • Promoting emotional well-being
  • Avoiding putting on too much weight
  • Lowering your risk of gestational diabetes
  • Appears to strengthen your baby's heart
  • Your baby might be slightly slimmer
  • Might positively affect your child's health
  • Easier birthing experience
  • Faster recovery after birth

See? Your pooch has your best interests at heart. It's time to grab that leash and head out the door!

Best Exercises for Pregnant Women

If you weren't already exercising regularly before pregnancy, your provider will probably suggest a low-impact, low-risk aerobic activity.

Many healthcare providers and fitness experts believe swimming is the safest exercise for pregnant women. It keeps you toned without adding stress to your body. You're able to raise your heart rate without overheating.

Walking runs a close second. It's safe for your body and easier on your joints than jogging or running. You don't need to purchase equipment or drive to a pool either. Bring along a water bottle and enjoy the scenery.

Biking can meet your exercise goals during pregnancy, too. The bike supports your weight and reduces stress on your body. Fitness experts suggest a stationary bike because you have less chance of falling. That's the only risk with this activity.

Stair climbing and the elliptical machine allow you to raise your heart rate with little chance of a fall. Just keep hydrated and take a break if needed to cool down.

As an alternative, get that dog you've been wanting, grab the leash and head out daily for a brisk walk!