NEW exercise classes for new mothers wanting to get back to fitness are going strong in Skipton, Barnoldswick and Sutton in Craven - and mums are encouraged to take their babies along.

The classes are run by Sarah Schofield Lord as part of the burgeoning ‘Sweaty Mama’ franchise - she says that youngsters and their mums will both benefit by having the chance to bond in shared activity with others.

As well as the obvious benefits for new mothers, exercise is also recognised as being a factor in guarding against possible post-natal depression.

Sarah said: “Having had two children and facing my own challenges of adapting to a new lifestyle as a parent and including fitness with a small child or baby, I can say that Sweaty Mama was a revelation to me, being able to focus on myself whilst still spending time with my son.

“Having children and trying to balance work and home has also led me to re-training and taking on a Sweaty Mama franchise.

“It is a breast-feeding friendly class that mums can stop at any point and see to the needs of their child without feeling they are causing a distraction - there are also the additional benefits of positive mental well-being.”

Classes are held at Sandylands, Skipton, on Mondays, 9.45-10.45am, and on Tuesdays, 10-11am; at Sutton Village Hall on Mondays at 11.30am-12.30pm; and on Wednesdays at West Craven Sports Centre, Barnoldswick, 1-2pm.

Sarah, 42, of Clitheroe, has two sons, aged five and three, and decided to re-train as a fitness instructor after working as an operations manager for a firm in Manchester. She said: “Sweaty Mama sessions are all about offering support to mums - it is very non-judgmental and everything is structured to make it easy to take part. The exercises are great for getting fit again as well as re-strengthening core muscles and realigning posture. And everyone is encouraged to find a level that suits them.

“But some mums just need to regain confidence as well - everything we do is about supporting and helping each other.

“Children can benefit from social interaction with the other children as well as the feeling of security and closeness to their mum.”