Stroller Strides founder Lisa Druxman shares tips on losing the baby weight and making fitness a family affair.
What is Stroller Strides and why did you create it?
Being a mom is the best job in the whole world; but it's also the hardest job. Babies don't come with directions. In 2001 I had my first child, a boy, and I wanted to get back in shape and spend time with him. I also wanted advice: I knew nothing about motherhood.
Because he was too young to leave at my gym's daycare, and as someone who had worked in the fitness industry for more than a decade, I created a workout that would help me lose weight and that I could do by pushing my son in a stroller. For that one hour, I was happy and he was happy.
Working out was a great way to get back in shape, but I really wanted to connect with other moms, too. So, I started a small class in my neighborhood in San Diego, and the concept took off. In the first year, we opened 12 Stroller Strides locations. Now, we have more than 1,000 franchises around the U.S.
How does the class work?
Led by a specially trained pre- and post-natal certified fitness instructor, the one-hour classes are stroller-based, interval workouts that build strength, flexibility and aerobic conditioning and help moms get back in shape post-pregnancy. A woman can start the program six weeks after giving birth (with her doctor's approval and a newborn attachment seat for the stroller), and we have many participants who stay involved until their kids start kindergarten.
In between intervals of power walking, we do exercises like wall sits or tricep dips. Instructors also provide enrichment activities for the kids--while a mom might be performing squats, an instructor uses puppets, bubbles or music to entertain the kids.
The program is designed not just to help women get back in shape, but also to help them build a community and share information about motherhood. For example, during a warm-up the instructor might ask, "Who got the least amount of sleep last night?" or "Who had the longest period of time between feedings yesterday?" to start conversations about topics like sleep habits and breast-feeding.