When my daughter was 10 months old, I signed up for a stroller aerobics class taught by a fellow member of the local Mom's Club.
Eager to engage in conversation and cardio with other moms, I arrived at The Gardens mall on a quiet weekday morning and prepared to zip around the mall's lower level. My daughter, meanwhile, would be safely tucked inside her stroller, clapping and shouting with glee.
- Unfortunately, it didn't happen that way. At least for me.
- My daughter, a new crawler, wasn't interested in sitting in her stroller while there was new territory to explore.
- After one class, I dropped out.
- But my friends continued for quite awhile.
- Stroller aerobics, they told me, gave them the opportunity to exercise, socialize and spend quality time with their children.
"It's a fitness class that moms can do where they can bring their children and not have to worry," said Cindy Martling, a Jupiter Farms mother of two who teaches a similar class at the Jupiter Community Center. "We don't have much time as moms to exercise, and we always tend to put our children first. We need to change that."
With Stroller Power, Martling hopes to do just that.
A certified group fitness instructor, Martling, 35, created the class this fall after discovering that Jupiter didn't offer the program. "I have been walking ever since my children (Kaylie, almost 3, and Ella, 1) were born," she said. "I would walk with them, and then I would come home and do some strength training. So it was just a matter of putting the two components together to create the class."
- On Aug. 21, Stroller Power made its debut in the Jupiter Community Center gymnasium.
- The class, which runs for an hour three mornings a week, begins with a variety of warmup exercises.
- Moms then move on to power walking, strength training, abdominal exercises and stretching.
The workout, which Martling designed, is intended to help women build strength and endurance, increase their flexibility and reduce their risk of osteoporosis. "Once you hit 30, your bone density decreases, so they're learning that they've really got to take care of their bodies now and all those other ailments that come with age," Martling said. "So I'm just trying to teach everybody the health benefits of this class."
She also champions its social component. "(Participants) are meeting other moms that are going through the same things they are, especially if they're a new mom," Martling said. "They can talk with other moms about feeding and sleeping and all those issues that moms have."
After class, they continue sharing their stories on the playground. Following each Stroller Power session, Martling and the other moms engage in a play group with their kids. "That's a nice reward for the children for sitting in the stroller during class," she said.