Woman First

Stroller Fitness
It’s not just a walk in the park.

by Suzanne Koup-Larsen

For More Info

Baby Boot Camp
Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, & Phila. Counties in PA & Burlington County, NJ

One Fit Mama
Bucks, Montgomery & Phila. Counties, PA

Wilmington, DE,
302-379-2779 www.strollerfit.com/wilmingtonde

West Chester, PA &
South Jersey

Ever been to a jeans party? For the uninitiated, a jeans party is a celebration akin to a graduation party for new moms who have lost their baby weight, and can again fit into their pre-pregnancy jeans.

The moms at Baby Boot Camp in Huntington Valley, PA, who recently organized a party to model their new slim-fitting jeans and others throughout the area have reason to celebrate thanks to the latest nationwide exercise trend for new moms: stroller fitness classes.

These classes make getting back in shape after childbirth fun and easy, as long as there’s no fear of a little exercise. Stroller fitness classes allow moms to work out with their babies riding along in their strollers.

Targeted Exercise
Most stroller fitness classes take place at a local park, weather permitting, and incorporate light
exercises aids such as park equipment or elastic resistance bands for the strollers or even the babies themselves.

Exercises might include triceps dips on the picnic benches or lunges across the soccer fields or lifting the baby for a little weight resistance. The clases involve no complicated equipment or difficult exercises.

“Most exercises concentrate on the muscle groups that are used and abused during pregnancy, and while caring for your little one,” says Tricia Streit Perez, owner of One Fit Mama in Oreland, PA. They can include cardio drills or core strengthening.

Melissa Zimmerman, area manager of Baby Boot Camp on the Main Line concurs with that approach for her classes. “We emphasize what new moms need to think about in terms of what’s happened and what is happening to their bodies, and tie the exercises to that.”

The classes are structured to be baby friendly. If a baby is fussy, moms are encouraged to stop to change or feed their infants, then jump back in the class as soon as they can.

Most classes include spontaneous nursery rhymes and songs to help entertain the kids, who are sometimes as old as 4 years. Most babies are so happy to see the outdoors and some new faces that they cooperate for their mothers.

Instant Network
In addition to the obvious fitness benefits of exercising, stroller fitness classes also provide a social network where moms can find play dates for their babies, and perhaps even a friend or two for themselves.

Attending stroller classes is like finding “an instant network of mommies who are sharing the same experiences you are,” says One Fit Mama’s Tricia Perez.

Kristi Flitcraft of Stroller Strides in West Chester, PA concurs. Stroller classes “give new moms their village,” she says. Stroller workouts provide an important chance to be with other moms who are experiencing around-the-clock baby care and post-baby body frustrations. This is especially important when combating the baby blues, or the more serious post-partum depression.

Most stroller fitness classes are organized so beginners can work out alongside more advanced fitness types.

“It’s a fantastic workout for all fitness levels and will help melt away those baby pounds,” says Sandy Coulter, instructor and owner of StrollerFit in Wilmington, DE.

According to Melanie Schatz, MD, an OB/GYN at Paoli Hospital in Paoli, PA, women can safely begin exercising four weeks after their baby is born, assuming an uncomplicated delivery.

Women who have had C-sections can jump into a fitness program after six to eight weeks. In terms of frequency, Dr. Schatz says that a new mom can exercise “as frequently as she is able or desires.”

She recommends stroller fitness classes to new mothers because “they are a good way for a new mother to get exercise and spend time with her child at the same time, which takes some of the ‘logistics’ out of exercising.”

Stroller classes offer the chance to do something great for yourself in a non-intimidating environment, while getting some fresh air and going for a walk with a few friendly moms and their kids. And you earn the chance to model your new slim-fitting jeans afterward — what could be more rewarding than that!

Suzanne Koup-Larsen is a local freelance writer.