Staying Healthy and keeping fit with BuggyGym and DUO

Community reporter Sindy Santos has sent us an article about her experience of attending BuggyGym and DUO from Fitness Instructor and Nutritionist, Alicja Wypasek who is helping keep South West Edinburgh families in shape through Broomhouse Health Strategy Group and events like ‘How to Have a Flatter Tummy’ which will be taking place next Tuesday 29 January 2019.


My passion for aerobics goes back to when I was at university. I’m the type of person where when I join a class, I feel guilty if I miss any. I find fitness and aerobics the best addiction ever. It is healthy, it is sexy, it is fun and fulfilling. “Mens sana in corpore sano”- A healthy mind in a healthy body.

Once becoming a mum, I had the impression lots of doors were closing regarding having a hobby. The thought of going back to the gym was postponed for when I am retired.

 But you know what? I proved myself wrong. And want to know more? It is possible, it is happening, and the kids and partner should join in too. What a clever, sensational, healthy and joyful way to spend family time! I am actually short for words to describe the Fitness classes I rediscovered! 

It has been 3 years since Alicja Wypasek started a journey as BuggyGym and DUO instructor in Edinburgh as part of Broomhouse Health Strategy Group (BHSG). A Community Health Project serving South West Edinburgh with a range of free health promotion activities including (but not limited to) fitness classes (Buggygym, Chair Exercise, Walking Group and DUO) regular terms of cooking classes for adults and children, Mindfullness sessions, health drop ins, a volunteer run fruit and vegetable shop, and community events.

Alicja discribes herself as a mum of two boys, Nutritionist, Personal Trainer and Fitness Specialist with advanced skills and specific knowledge in pre and postnatal exercise. 

What is Buggygym?

BuggyGym is a fitness activity designed for pushchair owning parents run every Tuesday and Thursday 9.30 – 10.30 at Gate 55.

The aim is to burn calories, to lose weight gained during pregnancy, enhance your figure and improve your mood. I would add to turn a possible post-natal depression into a pre-exciting adventure with your little one. 

It is physical activity that benefits the mother and child. Abdominal and pelvic muscle weakness are common for women, especially after childbirth. These exercises will strengthen the muscles and relax the body and mind. 

Also there is the social aspect, encouraging parents to get out of the house, to not feel isolated and to share experiences with others in the same boat. All helps to become a healthier role model for your child. 

Classes take place mostly outdoors, enjoying the fresh air and surroundings of the area like green spaces by the Canal, different playgrounds etc. In case of extreme weather during the winter time it will be indoors. But there are so many benefits of exercising outdoors during the winter. 

As Alicja says:

You work harder to regulate the core temperature. You will burn a few more calories during your wintry workout compared to one conducted indoors. Cold weather also makes the heart work harder to distribute blood through the body. 

I was at Sighthill Library one day when she passed by and invited me to join them. Even a bit aware of it was sounding a wee rude I said “No, thanks. I’m fit enough” I don’t know if she remembers that!? 

However my inner voice was backing me up “You’ve got 3 kids under the age of 4, you spend the mornings going back and forth from one nursery to the other, plus  breastfeeding the newborn. That clearly keeps you in shape. No time for explanations. Borrow the book and go or you’ll be late.” Fair enough. 

Since then I have seen them exercising with their prams at different outdoors spaces in the area, even I watched them from my window in the playground. 

Circumstances have now changed. Now I find myself with my littlest one spending all morning together as he starts nursery in the afternoon. 
That will leave me with hardly any time for myself. On the bright side, it’s a chance to spend quality time with the youngest. They are not babies for long. 

I checked what’s on offer in the area, Bookbug library sessions have always been a good choice. But I still have mornings to fill and that is how I came across Buggy Gym.  Perfect timing, just before he grows out of the buggy, and I am reaching an age where I better start looking after myself, sooner rather than later. 

But what if he does? Well, we can still go to DUO classes. Just after the school pick up. I have to say this is by far the best family activity enjoyed by each and every member of my family. 30 minutes, no more no less, but very intense. No wonder it is called High Impact Interval Training (HIIT).

You can find out more about Alicja and her work as a nutritionist here or on Facebook here.

What is Duo?

DUO is a friendly active fun class for parents and children of any age that takes place at Xercise4Less Gym every Monday, 4.00pm – 4.30pm. 

It encourages people to work in pairs, so everyone is welcome to bring a friend, exercise with another adult from the class or what is best, to involve your partner. Kids love that the most. 

There is plenty equipment to keep the little ones entertained, plus there are always some volunteers from BHSG helping out. 

To me there is a big difference between moving and exercising. I am always on the move and that may lead me to lose weight. But I do feel I need to do a proper workout in order to keep not only fit, but most importantly, healthy. 

And that’s why we need an instructor like Alicja. She will guide you through the class, explaining bit by bit, the dos and dont’s, correcting and encouraging. She will tell you when to inhale and exhale. Which muscles you should contract and at what point. That is all. Once you get used to it, it is almost mechanical. You go with the flow. You will want to go back and your body will thank you for that. 

Imagine yourself in a big space surrounded by mirrors, gym equipment and loud rhythmic music. In fact you don’t need to imagine it, come by and see for yourself!

I couldn’t help but create a Poem about it

Poem to Alicja

I have no words 
To describe such a joy. 
If there was an award
in the industry of Health 
I will give it to Her. 
Fitness class for new mums
Kids allowed to run around
Bring your partners she says
Workout or Work-it-out 
Do it loud, jump high
Make yourself proud
Come join in, now! 
What else could you ask for?
Tummy flat
Pelvic Floor? 
Warming up
Then she says Don’t stop! 
I hear the girls Oh-my-God! 
And at the end 
we meet our body again. 
That was good, it says 
That was the aim
Bring me back in 2 days
I can’t wait! 
To me is not about the shape
But let the body express. 
Doesn’t it sound like a dream
belong to this Gym? 

From the Journalist to the Nutritionist

How to Have a Flatter Tummy?

Last but not least there is an interesting upcoming event taking place next Tuesday 29th January 2019 9.30 – 11.30 at Gate 55 Edinburgh. 

Although the title says it all it’s not only about the tummy. It will encourage those who don’t feel confident in attending fitness classes, but very keen on absorbing all the information to put it into practice. 

It will answer questions like “Do you want to have a flatter tummy and you don’t know how to start working out?, or maybe you are working so hard and don’t see any results? Sugar cravings, healthy habits, and many more in this two hours workshop. 

Book your space and creche here

Everything above is free, but donations are always welcome. 

If you are interested in volunteering or seeking any other information, please contact Broomhouse Healthy Strategy Groupon:

volunteering@healthstrategygroup.org.uk,
Jocelyn Lockhart 01314677678
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Article submitted by
Sindy Santos

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