Winter Fitness in Northwest Arkansas

January 21st, 2016 by
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The weather outside may be frightful – the average high in Rogers in January is a mere 46°! – but a little physical activity will keep you warm. Exercise is essential to a healthy pregnancy, and unless your health care provider tells you otherwise, you can do just as much exercise now as you did before you were pregnant. Of course, it’s no time to start training for a half marathon and you may have to modify your routine to accommodate that burgeoning belly, but these winter fitness activities are perfect for future moms!

Run For It
Or just take a walk! Anything that gets you on your feet is better than sitting on the couch. When you’re jogging during winter, you don’t have to worry as much about overheating, which can lead to complications with your pregnancy. Northwest Arkansas has some wonderful parks with paved walkways for joggers and walkers. If you’re looking to hike, check out Hobbs State Park Conservation Area. The Historic Van Winkle Trail is just a half mile long, and has signs describing the mill and home that were situated here during the Civil War. Try the Shaddox Hollow Nature Trail for a longer (1.5 mile) challenge, but if it’s icy or snowy, stick to paved walking trails like the flower-lined sidewalks of Tower Park

Curling stone on ice of a indoors rink

Curling stone on ice of a indoors rink

in Rogers.

Try Your Hand at Curling
Curling is sometimes derided as a pastime for the elderly, but it can burn over 150 calories in an hour. Some pregnant women may worry that curling is too dangerous since it’s on the ice, but you should be fine if you’re careful and wear clean, rubber-soled sneakers or specialized curling shoes. Canadian Kristie Moore even competed in the Olympics while she was five months pregnant! The biggest worry is balance, so you may want to forgo curling in your third trimester. If you want to try it out during those early months, get some instruction from the Curling Club in Northwest Arkansas. They meet every week at The Jones Center in downtown Springdale.

Make Like a Fish
Speaking of The Jones Center, they’ve got a fabulous indoor pool that’s perfect for leisurely laps (or more vigorous swims). Nonmembers pay just $3 per session to use the pool, so you have no excuse not to go. Swimming is one of the best and safest exercises you can do while pregnant; the water helps to support your weight, which decreases the burden on your spine and limbs. You’re unlikely to overheat in the pool, and you can tone your muscles without stressing your joints. The Jones Center also offers a water movement class, which is perfect for moms who want a workout that won’t strain their bodies.

Bike Ride Your Worries Away
We don’t have much snow in Northwest Arkansas, so you can do almost any outdoor exercise in winter or summer, as long as you dress appropriately. Biking isn’t usually seen as a winter fitness activity, but it can be very invigorating! The fresh air, chilly weather, and bright sunshine could put a smile on anyone’s face. As with other balance-related exercises (including ice skating, a perennial winter favorite), you should be especially cautious in your third trimester, when that belly bump can throw you off. There are some gorgeous greenways in Northwest Arkansas – check out the Cambridge Trail at North 37th Street or the Horsebarn Trail at Horsebarn Trailhead Park. It’s part of the Razorback Greenway in Rogers. Just don’t forget your helmet!

Although it’s often tempting to hibernate in winter, you’ll feel much better once you get moving. In fact, outdoor winter fitness burns more calories and helps to stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder. The sunshine releases serotonin in the brain, which regulates your mood – especially important for pregnant women. Just keep in mind these safety tips:

  • Stay hydrated. Pregnant women should be drinking at least ten cups of water a day, plus an extra one or two cups during exercise. It can be hard to tell if you’re sweating when you’re exercising in the cold, so drink more water just to be safe.
  • Don’t try something new. If you’ve never gone ice skating, now is not the time to venture out on a slippery surface. If you’ve never ridden a bike, don’t try to teach yourself in the middle of winter while you’re pregnant. Stick to activities you’re comfortable with.
  • Have a buddy. Exercise is always more fun when someone else is suffering enjoying it with you. If you can’t find a friend to join, make sure you tell someone where you’re going and have your cell phone on you at all times.

At the Birth Center of Northwest Arkansas, we promote a healthy, hopeful approach to life, pregnancy, and fitness. Exercise is scientifically proven to improve the health of the mind and body. It reduces stress, improves the quality of your sleep, and can even help treat depression. Don’t skip out on exercise this winter – especially since there are so many fun things to do in Northwest Arkansas!