A group of young mums are enjoying this Mother’s Day feeling fitter and better equipped to cope with whatever life delivers after getting some help from Turanga Health.
Mums and Bubs is a weekly work out for mothers of young children who’d normally find it difficult to find a way to exercise. Participants bring their pēpi (infants) in to the YMCA Gisborne and while they work up a sweat their toddlers beetle around the floor and play with supplied toys at the back of the room. At the edge of the class Turanga Health support staff cuddle babies while keeping an eye on fast-moving toddlers.
Mums and Bubs is part of Turanga Health’s Māmā and Pēpi wraparound service for Māori and non-Māori mothers and includes antenatal classes, help with breastfeeding, and social services support.
Turanga Health staff member Grace Donald says finding time to look after themselves can be a low priority for young busy mums. “We wanted to create a positive experience with exercise while eliminating any barriers such as transport, cost, confidence and childcare.”
Grace says sometimes the hardest thing about getting fit while looking after a baby is getting started and having to be separated from your baby. “But if baby is part of the class half of the problem is fixed - the only thing left is to push yourself to start. Just like Mother’s Day we want this programme to be all about the mums!"
While she talks Grace is rocking five-month-old Swayze Boyd-Kitai to sleep. His mother Cheev Boyd-Kitai thinks today’s class, SH’BAM is the ultimate way to exercise. The simple but seriously hot dance moves are set to a soundtrack of popular hits and everyone is having a blast.
“I came because I wanted to get fit and be healthy for my baby. I love exercising like this, I wouldn’t want to exercise in front of other people right now, so this is the bomb. It’s time to work on you.”
Cimarron Apiata is mum to Te Aotaihi. Her five-month old daughter Erana is being held by a Turanga Health staff member. Cimarron says she comes back every week because childcare isn’t a problem and it’s good to get out. “I like coming back. It’s a good work out, on the bike especially, good for my legs.”
As well as SH’BAM, fitness instructors have created spin classes (on stationary bikes) and light weights classes. YMCA Gisborne fitness coordinator Frauke Nieschmidt says she works with a lot of mothers and they are always telling her how hard it is to get back into exercise after you have just had a baby.
“These classes are getting mums back into fitness and giving them a chance to socialise with other mothers.”
She says the 30 minute workouts are created with young, busy, mothers in mind. The dance moves aren’t complex, the weights aren’t loaded up, and the overall aim is to have fun. “Often they have been up for baby at night, they might be breastfeeding, so we take all that into consideration. All day they give themselves to their kids and so this is a treat for them. They deserve this.”
For more information about the Mums and Bubs fitness classes contact Grace Donald.
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