I joined Zumba classes in September 2007 at Writhlington Sports Centre. I had been an aerobics fan since being introduced to it in PE classes at secondary school and Zumba seemed worth a try. Zumba fitness was founded in 2001 and involves dance and aerobic elements. No partner is required and you can enjoy learning a variety of dance styles such as Hip-hop, Soca, Samba, Salsa, Merengue and Mambo. It is so much fun that it really doesn’t feel like exercise. I was hooked from the beginning and have never become bored with it as we are learning new dance routines on a regular basis.
In November 2013 I happily discovered I was expecting my first child and my thoughts turned to whether I could continue attending classes or not. It is important to check with a GP or Midwife first but as I was fit and well and used to regular exercise it was considered safe for me to continue my usual programme of Zumba and swimming but to make modifications as my pregnancy progressed. I informed my Zumba instructor Bev and we discussed how it was important to listen to my body and only do what I felt capable of doing and not to jump or twist my abdomen.
I’ll be honest I did find it difficult in those early weeks to not jump around like I was used to as it was so easy to get lost in the music and forget I was pregnant! Bev’s help and encouragement throughout my pregnancy was fantastic. She would demonstrate ‘low impact’ alternatives during the routines and always remind me when I needed to ‘tone down’ what I was doing. I was lucky to have a healthy and straight-forward pregnancy but having an experienced, caring and supportive instructor meant that I could continue to enjoy exercise knowing myself and unborn baby were ok.
I continued Zumba classes until I was 36 weeks and was still swimming 2 days before I went into labour. The only reason I stopped Zumba when I did was because it was becoming too uncomfortable to squeeze my swollen feet and ankles into a pair of trainers. Otherwise I think my baby would have been born doing Zumba moves!
I was very proud of myself for continuing my exercise regime as long as I did and not to use pregnancy as an excuse to become lazy and ‘eat for two’. I hope this will encourage other expectant mums to stay fit and healthy during pregnancy. My beautiful baby girl was born in July and I truly believe that keeping fit not only helped me though pregnancy and labour but meant that I recovered quicker and am able to meet the physical demands of looking after a newborn. I can’t wait to get back to Zumba!