Alison Brewerton is mum to 7-month-old Oriana. A professional dancer, Alison has set up a walking group for new parents in Kent and South East London and is carving out a new career in fitness supporting new and expectant mums. Here she tells us about her plans, what’s inspired her – and the difference that babywearing can make.
SO ALISON, WHAT TAKES UP MOST OF YOUR TIME AT THE MOMENT?
I’m just enjoying being a mum at the moment with my bubba, Oriana. I’m starting to explore getting back into my wedding dance and hen party business, The Love of Dance, and I’m about to start a Pilates instructor course, which looks pretty intensive… nothing like biting off more I can chew!
WHY DID YOU START YOUR WALKING GROUP FOR MUMS?
My body had gone through such huge changes in the last eighteen months. I stopped dancing around 3 months into my pregnancy, so it had been long time since I’d done any exercise, except for gentle lunchtime strolls whilst I was working. Now my body feels more mobile, I feel I’m ready to work on my strength, so I can get back to dancing.
I recently moved to Kent so I figured some country walks were the best way to get started. My partner isn’t a keen walker so I decided to find some other parents to walk with. I posted the call out for ‘Taking A Weekly Walk on the Wild Side of Kent and SE London(!)’ on a couple of Facebook mums’ groups and a few people responded with interest. It’s grown from there really.
There’s no commitment, no cost – people can drop in and out each week, and we’ve always got someone to walk with now. It’s not just for women – dads are welcome too! So whilst we’re exploring the dramatic Kent scenery we’re getting fresh air, the therapeutic benefits of exercise, nature, and all of the social feels. Love it.
WHAT DIFFERENCE HAS BABYWEARING MADE TO YOU AND THE MUMS YOU WALK WITH?
Babywearing means we can be more adventurous with the terrain, giving a more powerful, strengthening and toning workout as we walk up and down dale. If we’re using buggies we either get stuck in the mud or have to stick to the more even terrain.
Of course, the weight of the babies and toddlers in a carrier means additional calories are burnt and we build extra strength and muscle tone. We’ve had a few walks with steep inclines, and we really feel the difference in our cores. It’s a good feeling!
WHAT’S YOUR BABY CARRIER OF CHOICE?
I use the Ergobaby 360. I love it because it’s robust, practical, comfortable, is adapting to my baby’s growing body. She’ll be able to face different directions as she grows, and – a biggy with the UK’s unpredictable weather – I like the hood which protects from the odd shower, and keeps the wind off baby’s little cheeks.
My next step is to get an all weather cover, or even a babywearing raincoat to cover us both when the weather gets too severe. At the moment my rain mac seems to be big enough to cover us both, but that won’t grow with the baby of course!
WHAT DOES 2018 HOLD FOR YOU?
I’ve started a blog, Dancing Mama, hoping to inspire other pregnant and new mums, who want to adopt a high impact fitness regime to better fit the changes in their pre and postnatal bodies. I’m inviting other women to share their stories and offering advice from other fitness and health experts. Once I’ve done my Pilates course I’m hoping to help more mums like me by setting up some local classes.
I’m also working with a walking expert to develop walking, fitness and activity weekends for parents. The parents who have joined my walks are getting so much out of them. It’s quite empowering to walk together and feel like we’re pushing the boundaries of what our amazing bodies can achieve.
I’m hoping short breaks with baby/ toddler-friendly activities built in will enable us to push the boundaries even further! Ultimately the aim is to get a bit of parent-baby bonding along with the amazing sense of achievement of strong confident bodies and memories of adventure! Watch this space!
If you’re interested in joining a walk, follow Alison on her Facebook page
You can follow Alison on Twitter and Instagram @ftloveofdance