An outdoor fitness class has seen Midlothian mums using their buggies and their babies to help get back in shape following childbirth.
Mother of three Fiona Carpenter from Bonnyrigg runs ‘buggy strides’ classes in King’s Park, Dalkeith and King George V Park, Bonnyrigg. She set-up her Bumps, Bairns and Beyond group last May, teaching fitness classes designed for every stage of pregnancy and postnatal fitness.
Explaining her buggy strides class, Fiona said: “Basically mums come to train with their buggies and babies. We use mats, benches, basically anything we can use in the park for exercises we use.
“We work on core, and restoring the pelvic floor. It’s an all body and mind work-out while meeting other people and enjoying the fresh air.
“The most we do with the babies in the buggies is interval running on the paths where there is no chance of babies falling out of the buggies. It’s about trying to adapt everything around being a new mum, with the bonus of not having to get childcare.”
Fiona has been teaching buggy strides for four years. She is so keen to help new mums get fit she has introduced a pay what you can scheme. She said: “I think the class is worth £5, which is what I normally charge. But I understand sometimes people can’t pay that.
“I want to get as many mums out to the classes as possible. So pay what you can. If you can’t pay that’s fine. I just want to get mums fit and healthy and out socialising.”
Fiona, who suffered postnatal depression after the birth of her third child in 2015, spoke of the mental benefits as well as the physical benefits of her classes – which she holds three mornings a week, fitting them around being a mum herself. She said: “I’m not going to become a millionaire from teaching these classes. I do it because I really enjoy it.
“I love seeing the change in mums. They arrive and say ‘I’m so tired I have had a terrible night, I can’t believe I have come’. And they leave smiling and happy, talking to people, making new friends.
“That’s when I know I have made a difference to their day.
“We are also open to dads. Although it’s normally mums who come to the class, as they are more likely to be on maternity leave. Anyone is welcome. But they do have to put up with me talking about the pelvic floor!
“It’s about making sure parents are getting the benefit of being fit and, for mums, restoring the muscles used in child birth. The ‘mummy muscles’ we call them.”
Fiona hopes to see as many new mums at her classes as possible, but admitted that attendance for these outdoor classes can be weather dependent. She said: “It varies. Obviously in the summer we had up to ten at a time. Yesterday we had four because people don’t like coming out in the cold which is fair enough.”
Fiona also teachers baby massage and yoga classes. To find out more go to @bumpsbairnsandbeyond on Facebook.