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It seems that being a mom can mean permanently doing something while thinking that you should be doing something else. You are at work and feel like you should be at home, you’re at home and feel like you should be at work, you’re playing with your children and think you should be cleaning and so on. You know the feeling? I was looking for something to combine working out and spending precious time with my baby. I love carrying my baby about in her carrier and thankfully she enjoys it too, so when I was told about doing a sport with her in her carrier called Kangatraining, I was curious.
So, what is Kangatraining? It’s an aerobic form of exercise which uses your baby either as weight or has them in their carrier while you do your moves. It was started by Nicole Pascher in Vienna, Austria, in 2008 and is now offered in 25 countries around the world, including Australia, the UK and the US.
What does a Kangatraining lesson look like? In my lesson, we started out in a circle with a yoga mat in front of us and held our babies in our arms. We did some warmup moves — swaying with them, toe tapping — all pretty gentle and fun. Then we got into planking (and giving kisses), Russian twists (holding them and making them giggle), and reaching up whilst holding them and more. This was not just a walk in the park! Our qualified Kangatraining instructor really kept us moving, and the ever-heavier babies served well as our weights. After 30 minutes, we got the babies into their carriers, swung them onto our backs and got into some aerobic choreography. The babies found this fun, too (some fell asleep, though my baby seemed to be dancing along with me)! Anyone who has done a few aerobics or Zumba classes would recognize the moves. We both worked up a sweat by the end of the class and my instructor calculates about 600 calories burned per class if you really put effort in.
Who is Kangatraining for? These classes are for moms with babies looking for a new way to work out. My instructor recommends waiting at least six weeks postpartum for a spontaneous birth and twelve weeks postpartum after a c-section. She also said you should wait for the all-clear from your physician. You can “Kanga” this early, but I waited a little longer so that my baby was able to cope with the wiggling and jiggling (she is seven months old).
What do you need to do Kangatraining? You definitely need a reliable baby carrier. You can always use one of their carriers or bring your own (I use a Manduca). You need to have sports clothes on, including a good sports bra to keep the ladies happy. Breathable material is best as the babies also give off some heat. You need a towel for the baby to lie on and a towel for you, a drink, hair tie, change of clothes for you and the baby, and shower items. They also have really cute leg-warmers for the babies that you can borrow, too.
My experience was wonderful. The moms in the course were lovely with mixed levels of ability, though all were full of humor and ready to get sweaty! The instructor pushed us hard, but watched out that we were doing OK. Of course the babies loved it! They watched, giggled, slept and jiggled along with us. It really was a workout and not just a relaxing playtime and I know I felt it the next day. Most of all, it was “us” time, not just “me” time and I didn’t feel like I could/should/wanted to be anywhere else.