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Amy Umble writes about family issues and kid-friendly events.

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A workout made for mom AND baby

If you’re ever driving on Washington Avenue in Fredericksburg and see a group of women doing lunges as they push strollers, or attaching big rubber resistance bands to the fence posts around Kenmore Park, you’re probably witnessing a Stroller Strides workout.

Alison Neal, a teacher and mother to a 2-year-old, started running these workouts last year. I can personally attest that they’re pretty strenuous and include some good resistance and core work. They’re focused on the needs of women who have had kids, and they provide the added bonus of getting you out of the house with your baby (no childcare required) and providing some social interaction with other moms.

I caught up with Alison last week for a Q&A about the program, and about how it’s helped her answer that ever-elusive question about what her ideal work/family balance is. If you’re interested, you can find more information about Stroller Strides in Fredericksburg, including a class schedule, here.

Why did you start Stroller Strides in Fredericksburg?

Alison Neal and son, Cooper

I read about Stroller Strides and was interested in the program and wanted to join to get a great workout.  When I looked into the program, I saw that the Fredericksburg franchise was for sale.  I love working out and I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to purchase the franchise and it would allow me to stay at home with my son, Cooper.

What do you like about the workouts?

Each workout we do is different and can be modified to any fitness level.  We use resistance bands and the environment to get a full-body workout.  The workouts go by very quickly; as we are working out we are talking to each other and interacting with our babies.

What do people need to participate?

All you need is a towel or yoga mat for abdominal work and stretches, water and a toy for baby.  Any type of stroller can be used for the class.

Moms are busy. Why is making time for exercise important?

All exercise is important but postnatal exercise is extremely important for moms.  Exercise helps reduce postnatal depression, allows for a quicker recovery to your pre-pregnancy body, increases your energy and is a stress release.  When working out alongside your child you are great role model for kids to experience fitness right from the start.  Participating in Stroller Strides promotes family fitness  and will allow your child to be active early.

How well do most of the babies tolerate the classes?

The babies really enjoy class.  We incorporate songs, games and bubbles to keep the babies entertained.  At the end of class the babies get on the mats with us when we do our abdominal exercises and cool down.

Why would I choose Stroller Strides rather than exercising on my own or joining a gym?

Stroller Strides is taught by instructors who are nationally certified in pre- and postnatal fitness and group fitness.  Instructors are trained in CPR and are able to modify the workouts for all fitness levels.  Stroller Strides allows moms to work out alongside their children instead of leaving them in a gym daycare.  Participating in Stroller Strides is a bonding opportunity with your child and allows you to meet other moms in the area all while getting a great workout.

Does Stroller Strides offer any other activities?

We offer a weekly playgroup where the babies and moms can participate in fun activities and also get to know and form relationships with other babies and moms in the area.  Once a month we have a Moms’ Night Out, which gives the moms a chance to get out of the house and enjoy some much needed adult time!

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