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Rec class for moms pushing strollers

POSTED: April 7, 2013 10:30 p.m.
Photo by Karissa Carlson/

Jessica Benton, an American College of Sports Medicine certified health-fitness specialist, will lead the class.

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For many mothers, the prospect of getting out of the house and getting in a good workout with the kids in tow is a dream at best. A new “Stroller Fit Moms” class, provided by the Liberty County Recreation Department, will give Liberty County parents a new outlet for exercise. It starts in May and meets from 10-11 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at Liberty Independent Troop Park.
The innovative, total-body workout is specially designed for mothers with stroller-age children; as long as a little one fits in a stroller, the tot can come to class.
“The stroller is included in the entire hour-long workout. Your children never leave your side,” Stroller Fit Moms instructor Jessica Benton said. “I don’t know of too many classes where you can bring your child with you into a class.”
She said most children take well to the class since they are moving much of the time. Younger babies typically sleep through the workout, and older children usually are content to take in their surroundings.
A mother herself, Benton has a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports medicine from East Carolina University and is certified through the American College of Sports Medicine as a health-fitness specialist. She has been a certified group-fitness instructor for nine years and said she is excited to bring a new class to the area.
In addition to the convenience of incorporating children into a workout, the class offers another benefit for moms — a change of pace from traditional classes at gyms or fitness or many mothers, the prospect of getting out of the house and getting in a good workout with the kids in tow is a dream at best. A new “Stroller Fit Moms” class, provided by the Liberty County Recreation Department, will give Liberty County parents a new outlet for exercise. It starts in May and meets from 10-11 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at Liberty Independent Troop Park.
The innovative, total-body workout is specially designed for mothers with stroller-age children; as long as a little one fits in a stroller, the tot can come to class.
“The stroller is included in the entire hour-long workout. Your children never leave your side,” Stroller Fit Moms instructor Jessica Benton said. “I don’t know of too many classes where you can bring your child with you into a class.”
She said most children take well to the class since they are moving much of the time. Younger babies typically sleep through the workout, and older children usually are content to take in their surroundings.
A mother herself, Benton has a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports medicine from East Carolina University and is certified through the American College of Sports Medicine as a health-fitness specialist. She has been a certified group-fitness instructor for nine years and said she is excited to bring a new class to the area.
In addition to the convenience of incorporating children into a workout, the class offers another benefit for moms — a change of pace from traditional classes at gyms or fitness
centers. All sessions will be outside in the fresh air.
Even though the class is called “Stroller Fit Moms” and a majority of participants are mothers, Benton wants dads to know that they are more than welcome to join in the fun.
Participants should expect to be up and moving throughout the class. Along with intervals of running and walking, Benton said the class includes fitness stops that focus on strength-and-balance exercises. Sessions also occasionally will incorporate the use of hand weights.
“Segments of the class focus on core strengthening and stretching. We will specifically hone in on the muscles that are weakened during pregnancy and childbirth and then aren’t used and neglected while caring for our children,” Benton said.
Mothers-to-be also can join the group to get in a great prenatal workout, although the instructor suggests that pregnant women check with their health-care providers before starting Stroller Fit Moms.  
Benton said studies show that exercise during pregnancy has many benefits for mothers and babies, such as more energy during pregnancy, shorter and less complicated labors, returning to pre-pregnancy weight sooner, less discomfort and faster recovery after pregnancy, and improved body image. Benton provides appropriate modifications to the exercises for pregnant mothers so they can safely take part.
Benton stresses that Stroller Fit Moms is open to participants of all fitness levels and abilities. She teaches the class to all skill levels so everyone is adequately challenged. Participants can choose to do one class per week or all three.
“The great thing about the classes is that they will promote improved overall wellness even if they only attend one class per week  ... Of course, they will get the best results — and the most for their money — if they come to all three classes each week,” she said.
Benton added that after a few classes, participants can expect to feel better about themselves, their bodies and their overall wellness. After a few weeks in the class, they will notice improved muscle tone, increased flexibility and — with time — loss of body fat.
Moms and dads who are interested don’t have to make a big commitment. There is a $35 monthly class fee that can be paid month-to-month, which gives parents flexibility to try the class without worrying about locking into an expensive contract.  
Class participants will need athletic shoes, a towel or mat, plenty of water and a set of 3-, 5- or 8-pound hand weights. Although a jogging stroller is not required to participate, a sturdy stroller is. Steer clear of the “umbrella” variety. A hat and/or sunblock and a stroller cover are recommended to protect moms and children from the sun.
Classes begin May 6 and will be held three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10-11 a.m. at the Liberty Independent Troop Park Track. Registration is required in advance through the LCRD office, located at 607 E. Oglethorpe Highway in Hinesville. For more information about the class or to register, call the LCRD office at 876-5359.

 

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