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Walking with care

Walking during pregnancy or with a health condition

Our friends at Active Dorset have come up with some great ideas to support anyone with a long term health condition or post-surgery to be able to enjoy and benefit from walking. They also recommend a very useful guide for mums-to-be and new mums from the Active Pregnancy Foundation.

And don’t forget – you can talk to one of our trained health advisors if you would like to talk through these and other options. We are used to supporting people with a range of different health needs.

Walking during pregnancy

Walking is the most common form of physical activity during pregnancy and after childbirth. This is not surprising as it is easy to fit into your day-to-day life, even with a newborn. However, walking may look different depending on your ability and appetite for adventure. If you were not particularly active before pregnancy, walking is the ideal way to get started.

Aim to walk at an intensity where you can maintain a conversation, but can’t sing. Begin with shorter distances or routes so that you can build up your stamina for longer and more strenuous walks. Plan walks that can be shortened or adapted if you feel tired or unwell, or if you are close to your due date.

Download a copy for more tips and advice.

Your guide to walking during pregnancy and beyond

Walking with a long-term health condition

Guided health walks

Dorset Council offer Health Walks, with options for shorter walks at around 20 to 30 mins, an ideal taster session or introduction for anyone who would struggle to walk for 45-60mins at one time. These health walks are free, short and regular guided walk that lasts between ten to ninety minutes for people of all abilities.

You can start slowly and build your fitness gently, at a pace that is comfortable for you. If you are looking to get more active and would like to walk in the company of others, then a health walk could be for you. Specially trained volunteer health walk leaders are on hand to welcome you with a friendly smile, provide encouragement and support you throughout the walk. Find your nearest walk.

Back to Health Walks

These Instructor-led Back to Health Walks are held at Ferndown, West Moors and Corfe Mullen and suit anyone with a health condition as they are led by a qualified instructor and include some strengthening exercises. You can try a free once a month taster walk with some gentle exercises to help build strength and stability whilst on a gentle walk. You can progress onto the free weekly health walk. Booking essential by calling 01425 480811. 

Nordic Walking

Although this can be done by people in good health as a form of exercise or recreation, it is also very popular with people who are recovering from surgery e.g. knee, hip, because it offers more stability with the use of the poles, and can also feel easier because the poles help with propulsion.

There are free Nordic Walking taster sessions available in Dorset and once the introductory course is completed, Nordic Walking Wellness Walks at Moors Valley Country Park and Kingston Lacy which are ideal for those with a lower level of fitness.

Up your steps!

The EXi app –supports people with long term health conditions by creating a personalised activity prescription – includes either a suggested step count or some video content that you can follow. While not necessarily about “going for a walk” it is a way of encouraging people to take more steps as part of every day life.

Going solo

If you want to walk independently, without a walk leader or specific programme to follow there are also a number of walk routes on the Dorset Council website which include gentler options.

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How does this work?

The tailored approach LiveWell Dorset uses to come up with solutions to the things that are stopping us achieving our goals, is based upon work done by University College London developing the COM-B model of behaviour change. In this model, all behaviour is influenced by understanding a person’s capability to change, their opportunity to change and their motivation to change. By understanding which of these is the biggest barrier to change, we can tailor support accordingly. This model of behaviour change is at the centre of the support we offer, online and in person.

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