Pregnancy-Safe Exercise to Do Outdoors

Here's how to enjoy the fresh air while getting fit safely.
ByElena Donovan Mauer
April 19, 2017
pregnant woman exercise beach
Image: Getty Images


Walking is probably the number one exercise people recommend doing during pregnancy. That’s because it’s easy, anyone can do it (as long as you don’t have a health condition or pregnancy complication that makes exercise off-limits), and you don’t need any special equipment or a gym membership. “Walking can also help with the mental and emotional aspects of pregnancy,” says personal trainer Nicole Glor, creator of the NikkiFitness workouts. “It can help you feel in control [of your changing body] and clear your head.” Find the perfect walking routine for your fitness level. As for running, if you did it pre-pregnancy, you should be able to keep it up, but if you weren’t a runner before, speak to your OB before starting.


Sure, you may be dreading getting into a swimsuit right now, but we promise once you get into the pool, you’ll be glad you did. Swimming can keep all that extra weight and stress off your joints while you get your heart pumping with some physical activity. “[When I was pregnant,] swimming was like…if I could just sing the song of angels, just ‘aah aah aah!’ That’s what swimming felt like to me,” says former Olympian Summer Sanders. “It was just the weight off my joints and a chance for my ligaments to relax. It was very freeing.” Not sure what to do in the water once you get there? Take a prenatal swim class.

Do yoga

Many communities have outdoor yoga sessions at the local park or beach. Now’s a great time to take advantage, so you can enjoy a little fresh air while staying fit. Yoga is great for de-stressing and for staying limber and toned. Just avoid cardio-yoga, hot yoga and other rigorous disciplines. Make sure your instructors are experienced and certified in prenatal yoga, so they can tell you how to modify certain poses to be pregnancy-safe. For example, you shouldn’t lie on your back for an extended period of time. Also, on a hot day, be sure to drink lots of water.

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Try some freestyle moves

While out at the neighborhood park, there are some little moves you can do to stay fit that are pregnancy-safe. “Find a bench or slide and do triceps dips,” recommends Glor. “Do mini step-ups: Find a step or the edge of a sandbox—something that’s about a foot and a half off the ground. Step up with your right leg and then bring your left leg up toward your belly and lower back down. Then repeat again with the other foot.”

Know what not to do

Here’s the deal: If you were a gym rat before you got pregnant, you can keep on exercising as long as you’re feeling good. And if you weren’t so into exercise, you still should do some, just don’t go crazy trying something strenuous. The key is to listen to your body all the way: Take breaks when something is hurting you or not feeling right, and don’t work out to the point of exhaustion or overheating. You also don’t want to do any outdoor sport where you risk injury to you or baby. Scuba diving, water skiing and horseback riding are all no-nos. As for riding your bike, know that your center of gravity is different now that you’re expecting, so you’re more liable to fall. To play it safe, you might want to stick to the stationary bike until after baby’s born.

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