New mums, exercise and Babi Actif
(Pic: Babi Actif group session before lockdown)
Come rain or shine, its Buggy Active sessions, Natur Actif (Active Nature) walks (which involve wildlife spotting) or its outdoor messy play sessions are proving popular for those wanting to move more and enjoy the great outdoors.
However, lockdown and social distancing regulations have forced those behind the project to adapt - and to adapt quickly.
Jeanette Wooden coordinates the project and explains: “It’s really important that pregnant Mums and new parents can continue to exercise during lockdown. We’re now streaming postnatal fitness and Pilates sessions four times a week, live on our Facebook page. And if people want to do that in their garden or doorstep, even better!”
Led by Postnatal fitness specialists, exercises focus on posture, pelvic floor, core movements and increasing your heart rate. Adaptations are made to account for where women are on their ante or postnatal journey.
“We have found that sometimes parents think they can no longer do the things they always used to do, once they have a baby,” continues Jeanette. “Or people come to us who perhaps haven’t been very active in the past but see having a baby as a fresh start.
"Having children actually gives us the perfect excuse to have fun doing the things you wouldn’t normally"
(Pic: Virtual Babi Actif session)
The team are firm believers that activity and appreciating the world around us go hand in hand:
“If you walk through a field or a park, you can enjoy the fresh air and the scenery. But when you start identifying nature and wildlife, it really brings it to life. And you don’t have to be in the heart of Snowdonia to do that – even our biggest cities have beautiful, green spaces.”
Jeanette also believes that lockdown presents an unrivalled opportunity: “There are less cars on the road so we can actually hear birdsong in our towns and cities again. We have been forced to stop rushing around which has given us time to look and listen. With more people walking or cycling, we are reconnecting with natural habitats. It gives us breathing space and we can get off our mobile phones and plug ourselves back into what’s important.”
Encouraging an appreciation for our hedgerows, coastlines and woodlands, Babi Actif is pausing its messy play sessions during lockdown and creating regular, online content: “We are busy posting simple Forest School type activities to keep children entertained at home and we are encouraging people to go on nature walks. Each week, we identify wildflowers or leaves to spot.”
The project aims to encourage a lifelong habit of being active from “the get go” and Jeanette is a first-hand advocate of the transformative powers of exercise: “A couple of years ago, my GP suggested that I start running for both my physical and mental health and it has completely changed my outlook on life. Running won’t be for everyone, but I think the key to creating a successful habit with physical activity is to find something you can really enjoy.
“Babi Actif hopes to offer a number of different activities so that parents and carers can experience various types of exercise. Doing that with their babies and toddlers means that they’re not only getting fitter and healthier themselves, but also helping to create a habit for a lifetime for their children.”