JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va.

Women line up in front of their weights to continue their workout, sweat running down their faces from the exercises already performed. Participants push through as the instructor yells out encouragements after barking out the time remaining. The sounds of the weights hitting the ground echo in the gymnasium, but that sound is broken by an infant’s cry. A mother stops her workout to soothe her child before returning to the exercise.

Thanks to a new fitness program on JBLE, mothers can now participate in a workout specifically designed with them in mind.

The 633rd Force Support Squadron is now offering the Fit for Two Prenatal & Postpartum Fitness Program at the Shellbank Fitness Center.

This program is open to active duty personnel, as well as civilians and is intended to help boost the physical fitness of mothers at the prenatal or postpartum stages of their pregnancy.

“The concept of that class is to keep expecting mothers consistent with physical activity because research shows that it will make their delivery a whole lot better,” said Tony Arroyo, 633d FSS fitness center director.

Classes are led by certified instructors who help ensure workouts are done in a safe manner for the mothers and their unborn child.

“For active duty, this is an ideal program because they have a specific fitness standard that they have to meet 12 months after the delivery of their child, so the more consistent they can stay with some type of movement, the better it is when they transition to taking their official PT test,” said Arroyo.

For Staff Sgt. Hannah Walker, a program participant who was previously injured after giving birth to her first child, finding a workout that was effective and safe for her was a priority.

“I was trying to condition myself and get ready for my future, but I really didn’t know what to do and ultimately that led to my failure because I didn’t ask the questions,” said Walker. “This time around, it’s my first week back from having my baby and I’m in the class, and I don’t feel intimidated or like I’m hurting myself.”

The Fit for Two program not only provides its attendees with a safe physical fitness regimen, it also provides them with a mental and emotional support system.

“I just spoke with a mom that said the mental and social aspect that the program brings for her is ideal,” Arroyo said. “This gives an opportunity to interact with other moms and create that small group atmosphere that is really important for your social health.”

Whether a civilian or active duty, Walker encourages mothers to take the steps to help improve their fitness.

“Nothing changes if nothing changes,” said Walker. “You have to get to the point where the worst thing that can happen to you is you don’t do as well as you thought, but then you keep going because we are all here to encourage each other.”

Prenatal classes are offered Monday and Wednesday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., and postpartum classes are offered Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., at the Shellbank Fitness Center.

Fitness and nutrition briefings are also offered the fourth Friday of every month from 3 to 3:45 p.m. at the Shellbank Fitness Center.

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