*Stroller Strides is kindly offering all HipsterHenry.com readers a FREE WEEK!!! I mean I know it is cold out but I think after you read Amanda’s review you will totally be motivated. To get a free week just let them know you are a HipsterHenry.com reader! Easy. Simple. A Gift just for you! Now I am going to turn it over to Amanda….
For me, Stroller Strides happened at exactly the right time. How had I not already heard of this? It’s exactly what I needed, although I honestly never would’ve thought I’d enjoy it as much as I did. I’m seriously so glad I gave it a shot.
If you too are unfamiliar, Stroller Strides is a fitness program, a national franchise actually, for moms and moms-to-be alike. It includes power walking and intervals of strength and body-toning exercises using resistance bands, the stroller, and the environment. The 60-minute workout includes cardiovascular endurance, strength and flexibility development. It’s a fantastic way to do something good for yourself and your little one. Enjoy a morning outside, exercise with your child, and in the company of other moms, children, and nature. The instructors weave songs through the workout and incorporate activities for the babies. Honestly, they do. And it’s perfectly executed.
After having my daughter 15 months ago, and deciding to stay home full-time with her, I wasn’t sure if or how any cardio exercise would ever fit into my new lifestyle. I would ﬁnd myself making excuses as to why I couldn’t exercise; I was too tired,” “I had to work around the baby’s schedule,” “ I didn’t have time.” I could still steal away for a couple of yoga classes a week if my husband is home from work early, but what are the chances of me getting out there to jog or do any heart-pumping exercise during the day? First I’d have to get a sitter or enroll her in (gasp!) daycare, and that’s not even something I’ve ever considered. Even then, I’d never push myself the way I did with an instructor in front of me and the support of a group of like-minded mamas all around.
So I decided to get out there and give it a shot. I met with Carolyn Kaufmann, owner and certified instructor, on a sunny Friday morning at 9:30 AM, which was admittedly early for me to be at 25th and Locust, but I did make it happen. There are a few locations around the city, which I’ll cover later.
I’m a yoga devotee for life, but I had not done any other cardiovascular exercise in years. I used to be a runner, but a knee injury 5 years ago had me thinking those days were over. Even the day of my class, I only intended on doing a bit of power walking, but once we got out there I couldn’t resist jogging. And let me tell you, it felt amazing. It’s far too easy to forget how wonderful it feels to get your heart rate up. It’s important to remember that when we take that time to exercise, we’re better spiritually, we’re better mentally, we’re better physically. And when we take the time to take care of ourselves, we become better parents. It’s a really simple equation, but it’s easy to forget.
To my surprise, I had worked up a sweat not even 10 minutes into the class. We didn’t waste any time, which I’m confidant any parent can appreciate.
Carolyn integrated just enough silliness to keep the babies entertained and stimulated while us mommas could stay focused on our workout. Never taking ourselves too seriously but making every minute count gave the class a down-to-earth quality I found essential. The workouts are non-judgmental and encouraging, as even the most advanced mommy exerciser can relate to what it’s like getting back into shape.
My daughter completely enjoyed herself too. I expected her to sleep because it was her nap time, but she stayed awake for the entire class. I’m guessing seeing mama working out was too entertaining a site to sleep through. I was afraid she would get fussy after a few minutes, but she actually had a great time! Even if she didn’t, it would not have been an issue. If you need to change a diaper or stop to pick your baby up out of the stroller it’s never a problem.
Carolyn is a natural leader, patient and friendly. Not a drill sergeant, but she inspired me to make every minute count, and was not afraid to push us. You can either walk, jog, or run, and no one is left behind. The workout is personally tailored to every fitness level from pregnancy to postpartum to mamas training for their next race. You get some cardio mixed with in with squats, resistance bands, lunges, and an ab workout. All this with realistic modifications that truly make it appropriate for everyone.
One of the women in our class was pregnant, and it was inspiring to not only see her exercising, but visibly enjoying it as well. It has been proven that exercising during pregnancy can improve baby’s heart health as well as mama’s, and I think it’s incredibly important to stay active during pregnancy. I recently learned that a research done in the last couple of years has revealed that exercising when pregnant at least 30 minutes three times a week boosted babies’ cardiovascular heart up to one month after birth, which indicates that mothers’ efforts to stay active have lasting effects.
There was an appropriate lightheartedness kept to our workout. We giggled to ourselves as we sang the abc’s and did our lunges under Carolyn’s direction. This totally tickled my daughter, as this is her favorite song and she was fully intrigued by this new thing that I was doing. And this worked for me too, because singing the abc’s while you do lunges is funny.
As we jogged along the Skhuylkill River, we shared the path with local students training for the NY marathon – and they were snapping photos of us jogging along side of them with our strollers. This is a really pretty jog, by the way. I honestly didn’t expect it to be so quaint.
The workout isn’t just exercise, but also a social network for moms and their babies to interact and have a good time. And I totally lucked out, because the other mamas in the class were really nice. All Stroller Strides class locations offer a free Mom’s Club. Each Club hosts play dates for mom and baby, moms’ nights out and activities for you and your family.
At the end of our hour, I happily found myself perfectly exhausted and exhilarated. The amount of energy I have after a workout, the way my body feels and looks and the fact that my daughter gets to see me exercise and know it’s a regular part of life is what will keep me motivated to exercise regularly. I’m happy to have the opportunity to lead by example. When she’s old enough to make exercising an integral part of her life, I’ll know I’ve done more than just have told her to exercise.
I would highly recommend this to any mom with brand new babies or toddlers or even ones with older children that want to get in a workout. It is a great way to get in shape, meet other moms, and have fun with your child at the same time. I think it’s fairly priced too. I only wish I had found this class sooner!
Do give yourself an honest stretch after class. I was (happily) sore for two solid days.
- Schuylkill River Trail, at the 25th/Locust Street Entrance: Monday 11:00 AM, Wednesday 9:30 AM, Friday 9:30 AM, and Saturday at 9:30 AM
- Headhouse Square, at Front and South Streets: Tuesday 9:30 AM
- Azalea Garden, (behind the Art Museum): Tuesday 11:00 AM
*With more times coming soon on Tuesday and Thursday at Fit4Baby, 22nd and Chestnut at the Unitarian Church.
How can I sign up?:
Register for class by clicking here and see all the different classes offered here in Philly. Once you click on, “More Info,” there’s a link to sign up for that particular class. You can sign up for any class package when you show up for class, with your instructor.
Stay connected with Stroller Strides Philadelphia and learn about new classes & updates by liking them on Facebook here.
How do you start?
Arrive at all classes at least 15 minutes before start time. They begin promptly and some classes leave the warm-up area.
What should you bring?
Bring a towel or yoga mat for our ground exercises and plenty of water. For outdoor classes, bring a hat and/or sunblock. Dress in layers, wear a hat and/or sunglasses for you and baby, toys and snacks for baby, a wind cover for your stroller if you have one, you, your baby and the stroller. Just about any stroller will do, so long as it’s not prone to tipping. You do not have to have a jogger.
What do you do if my baby gets fussy during class?
Their first priority is the happiness of your baby. Tend to your baby first. They stop every few minutes for body toning, so you can always catch up with us if you get behind.
How old does your baby have to be?
They recommend waiting until your baby is at least 6 weeks of age to begin class. They can take classes up to any age so long as they still enjoy a ride in the stroller. Always get your doctor’s permission before starting this or any other kind of exercise program.
How long are the workouts?
The workouts are 1-hour unless otherwise noted. The class is set up with a 5-minute warm up followed by a 45-minute Power Walk with the stroller that includes body toning stations. The last 10 minutes is for abs and stretching.
How much does it cost?
First Class Free
New to Stroller Strides? First class is always free for first time participants. To speed up class registration, use the online registration before you come to class!
Single Class Pass-$15
Good for one class. Great for friends or spouses who can only make it periodically.
Unlimited Monthly Membership-$55/month
If you can attend at least 6 classes a month; this package is for you. This package gives you unlimited classes at all Philadelphia locations. The membership is month to month; dues are on a monthly EFT, must complete cancellation paperwork 30 days prior to terminate membership, and the one-time $60 registration fee applies. Initial 3-month commitment required. You may request a leave of absence for a maximum of 4 months in any 12 month period. Fee includes; registration, 2 resistance tubing bands, Stroller Strides T-shirt, and other goodies.
Ten Class Pass-$110
Good for any 10 classes in Philadelphia; must be used within 6 months. Great for a flexible schedule and weekend classes. No registration fee, but a one time $20 equipment fee is required; which gives you your own set of resistance bands. A $130 total; initially.