By Sarah Leeves - Marketing Manager at EMD UK (National Governing Body for Group Exercise)
We’re going to be very straight up with you; we’re an exercise class. To be more specific, we’re Buggy Bounce – a dance fitness class aimed at post-natal mums and their children, giving them a safe space to meet new friends and have some guilt-free ‘me time’. It’s possible that you’re immediately thinking about all the horrific exercise that we Buggy Bouncers will make you do; burpees, sprints, pull-ups, all that sweat, the shouting, the intensity and, right now, you don’t want to come to our class. Stop; we’re not like that. Buggy Bounce takes a very different approach to exercise. We want mums to feel good about themselves and do exercise not to look good, but to make their everyday life easier. But, what is Buggy Bounce?
And why are we doing this?
First and foremost, we believe mothers deserve a break. If someone’s not tutting at you for your child crying at the supermarket, they’re complaining about you breastfeeding in Costa. You don’t have to look beyond a standard magazine display to see the pressure women are under to have ‘the perfect body’. Somehow, despite the miraculous and natural wonder of giving birth, mums are now in the firing line to conform to what’s deemed beautiful. In fact, so widely noted is this problem that the Government Equalities Office released a report in the issue in 2014, entitled ‘Two for the Price of One: The impact of body image during pregnancy and after birth’.
The most notable part of the report for us was as follows: “Media images that laud celebrity mothers who achieve a state of emaciation six weeks after delivery are switching the focus … away from the mother and baby getting to know each other and finding a rhythm together. Instead there is a cultural insinuation that a mother’s job is to present herself physically as though nothing as momentously life-changing or body-changing as having a baby has occurred. This critical moment, in which new life and the new mother weave together a delicate and precious bond, needs supporting in order to ensure the best possibilities for both.”
In short, if someone is telling you to strip your baby weight, they are just
wrong, wrong, wrong.
What’s important is that mum has her focus on baby, and they do mutually beneficial activities together. That’s where Buggy Bounce comes in.
Buggy Bounce is a low-impact dance fitness class, aimed at mums who’ve had their six week sign off from their GP. The class emphasis is on fun and making sure exercises benefit women in their day-to-day life. The aim is not to lose weight. We repeat, the aim is not to lose weight. We really don’t care about how you look or your current fitness level, what we care about is giving you a safe space to exercise in and bring baby to; after all, it’s called Buggy Bounce for a reason.
Post-natal exercise has a plethora of benefits and not for ‘the body beautiful’. Buggy Bounce was developed by Lucy Carpenter, Level 3 instructor in pre- and post-natal exercise, so all exercises are devised around one key question: what does this exercise do for mum?
“The more I researched and learnt about post-natal exercise, the more I realised how much pressure mums were under outside of all the regular mum duties,” explains Lucy. “It’s outrageous to even entertain the idea that mums should be focused on losing the baby weight or putting themselves through vigorous exercise just to be like celebrity magazine cover models. Buggy Bounce may be an exercise class, but it’s an empowering way to get mums together and doing exercises that are benefiting both them and their baby. If you’re coming to Buggy Bounce, prepare to make friends.”
As you may expect, there is a slight element of sweat to a Buggy Bounce class. Instructors will guide women through a range of exercises, each designed to strengthen the body. Giving birth puts a huge amount of stress on a woman’s abdominal muscles, so there are exercises to aid that recovery. There are exercises to strengthen the back and shoulders because, let’s face it, that little bundle won’t be staying small forever. There’s a dance fitness bit too, aimed at getting the blood pumping and improving stamina; those 3.00am feeds seem less difficult after a few classes. Dancing also releases endorphins, giving mums a natural high and smiles all round. Who doesn’t like dancing, right? Buggy Bounce don’t even mind if you have two left feet or you can’t move to the beat.
Just smile and do what you can.
So, that’s Buggy Bounce; a class that wants you to be you. Not a better version of you or a superwoman version of you.
Just you and any lumps and bumps that come with you.
You’ll be with like-minded mums of all shapes and sizes, all of whom want to support you and have your support in return. All you have to do is turn up. Bring your buggy, your baby and your body.
Written By Sarah Leeves - Marketing Manager - EMD UK