Kangatraining for new mums and bubs

Using Kangatraining to get back in shape after childbirth are Mary Calleja, with Rory; Kimberly Cottom, with Quinn; Shelley Cottom, with Samuel; Courtney Edwards, with Sebastian; and Sarah Rippingill, with Ollie. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

Using Kangatraining to get back in shape after childbirth are Mary Calleja, with Rory; Kimberly Cottom, with Quinn; Shelley Cottom, with Samuel; Courtney Edwards, with Sebastian; and Sarah Rippingill, with Ollie. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

Australia's national icon, the kangaroo, is the inspiration for the latest training craze to hit the Gong.

Kangatraining is a dance-based postnatal workout that lets mums exercise with their bubs attached in a sturdy pouch, sling or baby carrier.

Despite its Aussie connection, the training program was the brainchild of an Austrian fitness trainer who coined the name from the character Kanga in the classic British children's book Winnie the Pooh.

It is now being practised in 16 countries including Australia, and Illawarra trainer Sarah Rippingill has recently started classes at Wollongong's DanceSpace 383.

"Kangatraining is a postnatal exercise program designed for mums from six weeks post-partum," she said.

"It's a baby-wearing exercise that encourages mums to wear their babies in either soft, structured carriers or woven wraps. As a trained baby-wearing consultant I can help mums wear their babies in the optimum position."

Babies can be worn on the front or the back, but their legs have to be in an M position with their knees splayed out and facing towards their mothers.

For mums, it's a chance to tone those abdominal and pelvic floor muscles that have lost some tone and strength during pregnancy and delivery. For babies, it's a chance to enjoy some closeness with mum.

"I decided to get trained as a Kangatrainer because I wanted to exercise with my child, and I knew other mums would want that too," Ms Rippingill said.

"Ollie, 22 months, would never tolerate being left in a gym creche.

"This means mums don't have to worry about having to leave kids in a creche or with a babysitter, and they don't have to feel uncomfortable if their baby is unsettled or crying either."

The class is a mixture of strength training and cardio - the added 10 or so kilograms the mums carry is great for resistance training.

The classes, which run in Wollongong twice a week, are also a good social outlet.

"Mums get to meet other new mums and it's a lot of fun," Ms Rippingill said.

Dapto mother Kimberly Cottom is enjoying the classes, which started a month ago, and plans to keep bringing along five-month-old Quinn until she gets too heavy.

"I love that I have her with me and can get cuddles while I exercise," Ms Cottom said.

"It gets me out of the house, we all have fun and Quinn enjoys it too - she loves looking in the mirror while we train."

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