As the mother of 4-month-old twins, Colleen Steward of Vernon Hills didn’t have a lot of time to work out unless she hired a babysitter for Ed and Ian—until she found her stroller exercise class.
The 50-minute StrollerStrides class allows mothers to workout with their kids. Mothers walk around the mall before the stores open, stopping at each end for a series of strength training exercises that include singing and counting with the kids.
The result is: Mom gets a cardio walking workout, stretching and strength training and the kids have fun with mom. "It gets me out with other moms; it’s a good workout," Steward says. "And it gets [the boys] interacting with other kids."
Kimberly Peterson, mother to 9-month-old Owen, opened the StrollerStrides franchise in January.
"I wanted to get back in shape, find activities to engage and stimulate [Owen], and get in touch with other moms," Peterson says.
No special strollers are required and the instructor provides exercise bands. Moms are monitored by the instructors. Classes are for mothers with children up to age 4.
StrollerStrides is one of two franchises in the area. StrollerFit is the other—at least one athletic club has stroller exercise classes on its summer schedule.
Both franchises operate on a similar model: No advance registration required; just show up for class and pay a per-class fee of $15. Discounts are available if you pre-pay for groups of classes.
Check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. Both the directors of stroller classes recommend moms wait until after their six-week post-partum check-up to join a class.
StrollerStrides meets at 9 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday outside of Marshall Fields in the Westfield Hawthorn mall, 122 Hawthorn Center, Vernon Hills. And at 9 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday at entrance A of the Gurnee Mills Mall, 6170 W. Grand Ave., Gurnee. Visit www.strollerstrides.com for details.
StrollerFit meets at 9 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the Provena St. Mary’s Community Connection in the Northfield Square Mall, 1600 N. State Road 50, Bourbonnais. And at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday in the Player’s Choice Academy, 12060 Raymond Ct., Huntley. Visit www.strollerfit.com for more information.
Also, the Lakeshore Athletic Club, 1320 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago, offers Stroller Strength each summer, which is open to the public. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.