Chatting with Hayley Higham, Double European Cross Country Champion, who runs Buggy Fit Bournemouth

This week we caught up with Hayley. Now there are runners and there are RUNNERS and Hayley is definitely the latter. She has some serious running achievements under her belt and is now encouraging mums to get active and back into exercise, after having a baby. Hayley has young twin boys and knows all about the challenges of finding time to exercise as a parent. Buggy Fit Bournemouth is a great way to workout with baby in tow and is really motivating as you are exercising with other lovely ladies. Hayley is so full of enthusiasm and comes up with a host of fun ways to raise your heart rate and work your muscles.

We found out about why Hayley loves running, how she fits in exercise as a parent, what Buggy Fit can offer and where she recommends for a post run breakfast!

Q) Can you start by telling us how you got into running?

I spent time watching my brother run, who is 2 years older than me, but I mostly just ate sweets in the stand! When I went to University, during fresher week, I joined all the clubs possible and one of those was the athletics club — I have not looked back since!

Q) What is your greatest running achievement?

Being double European cross country champion (2004 and 2009)

Q) As a sport, what do you think running offers?

You can compete as an individual but also as part of a team. Running can make you push yourself as hard as you can both physically and mentally. If you get serious about running, you can travel and see the world via different races.

Q) Since having children, have you found getting out running challenging and how have you overcome those challenges?

Yes I have, however, running is part of my life and since having children plays a totally different part. Instead of pushing myself to be the best I can be I now use it as thinking time, de-stressing from the ‘whinge days’ and having a bit of me time. I made sure I got a buggy I could run with (the Out and About Nipper) and made it part of the routine to go for a run with the boys in the buggy. They loved it and this was the only way I could get them to sleep at the same time. I still run with them now, normally to swimming or an activity but I often take the long way home so I can get a longer run in.

Q) You run Buggy Fit in Bournemouth, can you tell us about what we could expect from a Buggy Fit session, is it all running?

It is a one hour social, active, effective and safe postnatal workout with a qualified postnatal instructor. We start with a little walk warm-up with stretches and other exercises. We make our way along the prom stopping to do exercises that work on posture, stamina, toning and strengthening core muscles. It’s a complimentary mix of cardio-vascular and strength training. Great for fat burning and stress relief! Every mum can work at their own level and stop to feed or comfort baby and there is no babysitting needed. We meet on Tuesday’s at 9.30am at Bistro on the Beach, where you can buy a tea or coffee after the session.

Q) How does exercising help our bodies after pregnancy and birth?

It is recommended that new mums should only do moderate walking and pelvic floor exercise until a minimum of 6 weeks after delivery (8–10 after a c-section). During pregnancy it is inevitable that an increased curve will develop in the spine, abdominal muscles begin to part and the back muscles tighten. The weight bearing on the pelvic floor muscles increase and they become over stretched and weakened. The most common problem is incontinence. Buggyfit classes are designed to work on safe exercises that help engage your core muscles and bring back those tummy muscle safely. (It is very important not to do sit ups as this will only part your tummy muscles more). The class helps with weight loss, makes you feel more energised and you have fun!

Q) What do you think is the key to getting kids interested in being outside and being active?

If your children see you having fun and being active they will want to join in to. Make it part of your day to day routine. Exercise is meant to be enjoyable and we all know it has amazing health benefits.

Quick fire questions

Q) Your favourite place to run in Bournemouth?

Hengistbury Head

Q) Your favourite place to have a post run breakfast in Bournemouth?

Urban Reef

Q) Best place to buy running kit locally?

It’s difficult to get out shopping as a new mum so try start fitness online

Q) Your toughest running race?

Mentally & Physically the 10000m on the track. Most painful race was missing out on the Olympics by 0.14 of a second!

Q) What do you love about running in three words?

Freedom, energising, me-time

You can find out more about Buggy Fit Bournemouth on the Buggy Fit website or the Buggy Fit Bournemouth facebook page. Sessions are every Tuesday at 9.30am from Bistro on the Beach on Bournemouth promenade at the Christchurch end.

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