6 Tips: Walking for Fitness

stroller fitness

If you’re a new mom (or dad!) and you’re ready to get back into fitness, walking offers a variety of benefits. It’s not overly taxing on the body like long distance running can be, and yet regular walking can result in lower blood pressure, lower bad cholesterol and higher good cholesterol. It can also slim your waistline, so if you want to shed a few leftover pregnancy pounds, pulling on your walking shoes can help. And an added bonus: You can take the kiddos along (if you have a big enough stroller, of course!).

Some people believe walking isn’t ‘high impact’ enough to burn calories, but walking at a brisk pace for half an hour can burn anywhere from 150 to 240 calories or so depending on your weight and stride.

{ MORE: 5 Great Things About Taking Baby on Vacation }

The one thing I loved about walking after having my daughters was I could do it anywhere at any time, and I could do it with them. While young infants can’t ride in jogging strollers, they CAN ride in a regular stroller while you walk. I always tried to time my exercise times for nap times, so baby would take a short snooze while I cruised the neighborhood or park trails.

Here are a few tips for starting out a new walking program after baby arrives!

  1. As with every exercise, start slowly after your doctor gives his or her okay. In running we follow a ten percent rule, which is this: Don’t increase over ten percent each week. So if I run eight miles as my longest run one week, I shouldn’t go past 8.8 the next week. This decreases the risk of injury, and it works in walking too. Start off doing half an hour four or five times per week. Slowly increase as you feel up to it.  
  2. Buy good shoes. Enough can’t be said about the benefit of exercising in proper shoes. They assist with your gait and help decrease the risk of injury. Yes, you can have knee and foot problems with walking just as you can with running, so take care of those tootsies! Dr. Andrew Weil, founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, says “Invest in a good pair of shoes or walking-friendly sandals that are breathable, offer good arch support, are relatively lightweight and have flexible soles to allow the front of your foot to flex comfortably.”
  3. Drink up! We may not think about drinking water while walking as we do with jogging or running, but it’s important to do so, especially on hotter days or if you are breastfeeding. Dehydration can affect your milk supply if you breastfeed, and it can make you sick. Pack water (you don’t need a sports drink unless you are running more than sixty minutes or in extreme heat) and sip as you go.
  4. Plan your route. Dr. Weil recommends walkscore.com to check on the walkability of your route. When my kids were little we were lucky enough to live near Target, the grocery store, the library and a variety of other shops. I used to walk everywhere we went. I would plan my exercise time around the errands that I needed to get done, and I would do them both at the same time.
  5. Pack what you might need. When my kids were small and I walked with them in the stroller, I was as loaded down as Santa on Christmas Eve. I figured the packed stroller could be considered strength training! I wanted to make sure I would have everything I could ever possibly need while we were out, like diapers, wipes, snacks, toys, books, pacifiers, bottles, a changing pad, a blankie, and anything else my baby girls loved.   
  6. Practice walking meditation. Exercise is a great time to spend a bit of time in your mind reflecting on life, yourself and your family. If you go for a half hour walk, ditch the music for at least part of the time, concentrate on breathing and focus on working through any stress you might feel. I promise you will return home with renewed energy and a calmer state of mind, which will make you more prone to walk again the next day!

{ MORE: You Can Have a Baby and Exercise, Too. Here's How. }

Do you walk for exercise? How often do you go and what is your one tip for incorporating walking into an exercise program? 

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6 Tips: Walking for Fitness

Kathy Murdock works as a full time writer and web designer. Recently planted in the middle of the deep south from the busy streets of Los Angeles, when she's not coding Wordpress websites or writing about women in business and thrifty motherhood, Kathy spends time photographing alligators, playing with her family, and running. ... More

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10 comments

  1. Elisana says:

    I loved to walk, I feel refreshing after walk. Always loved it.
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  2. I can’t wait to star walking again and get back in shape ik if my husband see this he’ll tell me " are you crazy" lol

  3. allie_cat says:

    I cant wait to to start walking its wayyy to cold to now.

  4. Jeanetta says:

    Great article, I can’t wait until spring gets here so I can put my daughter in the stroller so I can start walking…

  5. RobinFarr says:

    I walked A LOT with my first because he wouldn’t sleep much otherwise. I took the dog and we walked and walked, and mostly enjoyed it (when he wasn’t screaming). I now have another babe and he sleeps much better so we don’t walk as much. Plus we’ve moved and it’s quite cold here and the sidewalks are not great (snowy, bumpy, icy). I miss the walking, but I do still get out with the dog. Just shorter walks! (Poor dog.)

  6. Janice says:

    I walk to get fit myself.

  7. octmama says:

    i hope ill have time to do more walking when spring arrives

  8. katieo says:

    My first child was born in October, so I did’t get to go for too many walks before it got to cold. My next baby is due in July and I can’t wait to be able to take advantage of the outdoors and walking.

  9. This should be easy considering I’m currently without car…

  10. Janice says:

    I like to walk, for fitness!. It uses several muscles and it is a good distraction from the work you are doing.

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