Summer Exercise for the Pregnant Athlete

Welcome to the dog-days of summer. During pregnancy, body temperature is naturally slightly elevated. Add in soaring summer temperatures, and outdoor activity and exercise can be a significant challenge. I’ve hung up my running shoes for the rest of this pregnancy and am instead getting my exercise in alternative ways including walking, swimming, hiking and yoga. My favorite mode of exercise is walking: it feels kind of like running, gets me out and into the fresh morning air, and gives me some meditative time to myself, much as running does. Despite the heat, I still feel the desire to exercise, I would like to share a few tips if you’re out getting your sweat on while pregnant:


  • Go early! It may seem painful, but set that alarm clock so you can take advantage of the cooler morning temperatures and get moving. Evening can also be an ideal time to exercise outdoors. Avoid the middle of the day for outdoor exercise.

    Morning walk
    Morning walk
  • Stay in the shade. Try to find shaded (thus, cooler) walking or running routes outdoors, or opt to take your run or walk indoors on a treadmill. You can also opt for swimming (which feels truly glorious), go on the elliptical machine, or other indoor activity.
  • Hydrate! Heat and humidity are a double-whammy when you exercise even under normal conditions, dehydration poses even greater risk while pregnant. Be sure to hydrate for the 2-3 hours prior to exercise, take a water bottle with you during your exercise, and be sure to re-hydrate after you are done exercising.

    Hats & Hikes
    Hats & Hikes
  • Keep the sun off! Skin becomes extra sensitive to sun damage during pregnancy and you are prone to changes of the pigmentation of the skin (known as melisma or chloasma), so be sure to wear sunscreen and wear a hat. Choose exercise gear that is lightweight and non-restrictive, wicking, and provides some protection to your body from the suns’ rays.
  • If you feel weak, dizzy, sudden fatigue, lightheadedness or excessive thirst, immediately stop your activity, get to a cool location, and drink some water. If you don’t feel better quickly, call your doctor or medical provider.

    Take your workout to the water!
    Take your workout to the water!

Here’s to hoping you enjoy your pregnancy, summer, and are able to stay active!

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