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Friday, 26 May 2017

Nine-month stretch: The rise of prenatal exercise classes

As a growing number of pregnant women are joining prenatal exercises classes, the BBC's Sarah Porter - 34 weeks into her pregnancy - attends a boot camp in Singapore.
It's 8.45am on a Saturday and Singapore's Botanic Gardens are alive with people and activity.
Local walking groups chat furiously in Mandarin, while gaggles of women push prams, coffees in hand. No-one seems particularly deterred by the rising heat.
I'm here to join a brand new exercise group called Mom In Balance. It's a franchise business founded in the Netherlands that specialises in outdoor exercise programmes for pregnant women and new mothers.
As I sit and wait for others to arrive, a group of five or six women run by me, overtaking everyone in sight. They are being led by a tall blonde woman wearing a t-shirt that says Mom in Balance. I start to panic a little.
I've done a reasonable amount of exercise throughout my pregnancy, including some swimming and a (very little) bit of running. But there is absolutely no way I'll be able to keep up with the group I've just seen sprint past.
Thankfully, a heavily pregnant woman decked out in running gear comes and sits next to me. I'm at the right spot, she tells me, at the right time. The 8am class I've just seen run past is for mothers getting back into shape soon after childbirth.
The tall blonde instructor returns to take the 9am class - a group which is now made up of three or four quite visibly pregnant women, together with some others.
As we set off on our warm-up, we are already dripping with sweat. As it is far from usual to see groups of pregnant women exercising outside in Singapore, passers-by stop and stare.
"Don't worry, we're famous here," one woman says to me. "Some people even stop to take photos of us."

'Powerful growth'

Despite well-documented studies that show the benefits of exercise during all stages of pregnancy, globally the prenatal exercise industry is relatively new.
In fact, while a mass of data is readily available on the $542bn (£418bn) world fitness industry, it is very difficult to find any about prenatal classes.
For example, the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) reports extensively on the fitness industry, but has no statistics whatsoever on the prenatal sector. Nor could they find any for me, from any country.
Source By BBC.COM


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