|It’s something in the water
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Pregnant women and new mums can still get a work-out, make new friends and have a bit of pampering “me time” – according to fitness instructor Julie Foster.
The 43-year-old from Thornton is inviting mums-to-be and those who have recently given birth to her classes – aqua aerobics with a bit of difference – they are specially for women like them. Julie said: “We start with a warm-up, then do some gentle aerobics, with them being pregnant or having recently given birth – before moving on to some toning exercises and then relaxation at the end.
“As part of the class, we do something I call ‘circle time’, when we get into a circle with the floats and it’s about bonding and the social aspect. One of the things about the class is it gives mums-to-be and new mums a chance to meet others. They can have a chat about the same sort of issues. “And of course, because the ladies are all in the same situation – they all have a bump. They don’t have to feel self-conscious like they might do in a normal aqua aerobics class.
“The pool is very private and not overlooked, so again, the ladies feel less self-conscious – they don’t feel like they are being watched by anyone like they might do in a leisure centre. The water is great for pregnant women. It is very supportive and they feel weightless in water.
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“Aqua helps to burn fat and has less stress on the bones and joints. The pool here is great because it is all one depth, which makes it easier if there’s anyone who doesn’t feel particularly confident in the water – there’s no deep end.
“There’s a lot of benefits to pre and post natal aqua. Research has shown that when women are pregnant, with the music and the water, when they start to move, the foetus also becomes more active. This means the baby is likely to be leaner and longer.
“Women who do gentle exercise while pregnant are more likely to have an easier labour. It will be a less traumatic birth and quicker.
“It helps keep muscles toned, and means that women lose the extra weight more quickly after they have given birth. It helps boost circulation and get more oxygen into the body.
“It also helps from a emotional point of view as well. It helps increase self-esteem – especially exercising in water because the women don’t feel pregnant in the water.”
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Another aspect that makes Julie’s aqua-natal class different from other aqua aerobic classes is the fact that she climbs into the water with the participants. She said: “I like to get into the water at different points of the class. It means I can get round people individually. It can be quite hard to hear with all the water splashing and everything so it’s good to get in and have a chat to the ladies. Sometimes they may find a particular exercise hurts or they can’t do it very well and they don’t want to shout out in front of everyone about their aches and pains. “So if I’m in the water, I can talk to them.”
Julie said the classes were fine for anyone who was pregnant and for anyone who had given birth, once they had their six-week all clear from their doctor – eight weeks if they have a caesarean.
Carrie Rooney, 33, who is nine months pregnant and due to give birth anytime, said she really enjoyed the classes. Carrie, from Hambleton, said: “I have been trying to keep fit throughout the pregnancy, I have been walking two miles every day with the dog. I usually swim at the De Vere, but have been feeling a bit self-conscious at the moment so this classes is great. It’s nice that everyone in the class is in the same boat.
“The good thing about the class is just being able to do exercise without the fear of doing any damage to the baby or to yourself. “The exercise makes you feel great and the pool is lovely and private and always nice and clean. I also like meeting other women and people that you wouldn’t always meet in your day-to-day life, but because you come to the class you get to meet them.”
Vicci Figgins, from Thornton, is a post-natal member of the class. She has been coming to the class for about eight weeks, ever since she got the all-clear from her GP. Her daughter Molly is now three months old and she has a son, Ben, who is two. The 32-year-old said: “I have found the class really good and been really enjoying it. It’s nice to meet other mums and get chatting. I really like the social side of the class.”
“It’s also great because it helps tone your tummy muscles and after you’ve had a baby that’s what you need to work on. I have lost weight because of coming to the classes since I had my baby. I have lost a stone now. And since I started doing the class, I have been eating more healthily as well. It has helped build my confidence and my self-esteem. It’s nice that the pool is a bit more intimate and there’s no one watching you. The relaxation part is nice as well.”
To find out more call Julie on 07786 022980.