Dear Fitness Expert,
I am about 4 weeks right now and I was wondering if I could start walking every day. I have been active in the past, lifting weights and running about 2-3 times a week. However, I hurt my back this summer and have been unable to do very much. I was just getting back in the groove when I found out I was pregnant.
First, you must speak to your doctor regarding your back. Because there will be stress on the back as you move along in your pregnancy, you want to be very proactive about back care and keep in touch with your primary physician and OB/GYN. Everyone needs to be on board with your workouts, medications, warm-ups/cool-downs and overall body conditioning.
Having said all this, there is no reason you should not be able to walk. Walking is a low-impact workout that will continue to work vital muscle groups and keep you in condition for the big day. The absolute best thing you can do is design a workout with a trainer -- if money is an issue, make it a one-time deal -- simply to ensure your movements are safe and proper. As long as your body is strong, you should be able to work out up to the day you go into labor. Olympic marathon runners, race walkers and every-day runner/walkers report easier, healthier pregnancy as a result of their walking/running program and speedier recoveries ... so get those shoes on and start a walking program as soon as you talk to your OB/GYN and trainer.
Alexandra Allred is a former member of the US Women's Bobsled team, is an accomplished martial artist, and continues to teach kickboxing while juggling her career as a full-time writer and mother of three. She has interviewed hundreds of athletes, models, actresses, trainers, doctors, and health/fitness experts as she sought to find answers to her own questions about working out while pregnant, arranging breast-feeding around a training schedule, diet when pregnant and breastfeeding, and encouraging her whole family.
Alex is the author of ten books, including Atta Girl! A Celebration of Women in Sports and Entering the Mother Zone: Balancing Self, Health & Family. We're excited to have her on board!