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Physical Activity Before Pregnancy

Being active before pregnancy can make it easier to stay active during pregnancy. Being active is a good habit to get into. Even a little regular activity can strengthen your heart, body and bones and help keep you at a healthy weight. Having a healthy weight before pregnancy will help you have a healthier pregnancy.

 

What are the benefits of being active before pregnancy?

There are many benefits to physical activity:

  • Reduces your stress level
  • Improves your strength
  • Gives you more energy
  • Improves your mood
  • Helps you sleep
  • Can help you reach or maintain a healthy weight1

How much physical activity do I need to do to see health benefits?

According to the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, being active for at least 150 minutes per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more, can help reduce the risk of:

  • Premature death.
  • Heart disease.
  • Stroke.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Certain types of cancer.
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Osteoporosis.
  • Overweight and obesity.2
 

There are many health benefits to being active before pregnancy

Couple biking
 

You don’t have to go to the gym to be active

Being active is a fun way to meet new people and is a great way to spend time with your partner or friends. It can set the stage for active family living. Try starting small by working at fitting exercise that is easily attainable into your daily routine, then gradually add more activity into your routine. For example:

  • Stand instead of sit.
  • Walk whenever you can – get off the bus early, park the car further away, use the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Dance to music – it can liven up housework.
  • Reduce your screen time and take regular activity breaks if you have to sit for long periods of time.
  • Choose to walk, cycle or to use another form of active transportation for short trips.
  • Start with a 10-minute walk and gradually increase the time.
  • Do the activities you are doing now, more often.

Choose activities that fit with your lifestyle and that you enjoy. The more activities you do with your partner, family or friends, the more fun you can have. Some options could be:

  • Joining a sports team.
  • Going hiking, cycling or swimming.
  • Going dancing or taking a dance class together3
 
Date of creation: October 12, 2017
Last modified on: July 30, 2019
 
 

References

1CSEP. (2019) Canadian Guideline for Physical Activity throughout Pregnancy. Retrieved from
https://csepguidelines.ca/guidelines-for-pregnancy/
2Best Start (2017). Health Before Pregnancy: Physical Activity. Retrieved from
http://www.healthbeforepregnancy.ca/physical-activity/
3Ontario Prenatal Education Health Before Pregnancy Retrieved from
http://www.ontarioprenataleducation.ca/health-before-pregnancy/