Stroller Boot Camp benefits moms and babies

An old wives’ tale says that it takes nine months to make a baby and nine months for a woman to get her body back afterword. Anyone who’s had to live with a post-pregnancy tummy can tell you she’s waxed nostalgic about her pre-baby body long before that. Throw in a celeb-driven culture and you’ve got instantly, suspiciously, thin famous new moms staring back from the newsstand with every diaper or formula run to Publix to up the irritation factor.

Medical research shows that starting a regular exercise program soon after giving birth could help prevent postpartum depression. And the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends walking as an easy way for new moms to work fitness back into their lives.

Luckily for Island moms, the weather is on our side, and now offered at Mackle Park, stroller boot camp classes can help kick-start a new workout plan, no baby-sitter or personal trainer needed.

Three mornings a week, instructor Debbie Grodman leads all fitness levels through a workout of stroller walking and jogging, abdominal work, resistance bands, biceps, triceps and more.

Grodman, who also leads the Marco Island Moms group on Facebook, says her personal experience as a new mom seeking fitness and friendship opportunities led her to stroller fitness.

She began walking with her daughter, Amanda, when she was a baby, and fell in love with her stroller classes.

“You meet other moms and you really feel like you’re working out, but there’s also a support component. Years down the road we’re still friends.”

Grodman learned the skills before moving to Marco Island, and early on she didn’t see many fitness opportunities for new moms here and wants to fill the void. “It’s just so important. It’s for your head too, you have a chance to be social and feel better about yourself overall.”

She adds that toddlers and babies have fun during the class and are often entertained at the sight of other children as well as the action going on with their mothers.

The class works its way around the park path, stopping at different points for different fitness work. Grodman then leads an abs section at the end.

A recent participate, Missy Williams moved to Marco Island in August from Naples. Her son, Joey, is 7 months old and Williams is looking forward to not just a workout, but the chance to meet other moms and kids.

“For seven months, I haven’t done much exercise. I’m hoping to get fit and meet some moms and kids.”

Williams had serious fitness goals before becoming pregnant: she was in training for the 10K Marine Corps marathon in Washington, D.C.

“It was going to be my gift to myself for turning 40,” she explains.

Now Williams is getting back on track with Joey on board.

Stroller boot camp is held from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday and is open to all fitness levels. The cost is just $5 per class. Info: (239) 642-0575.

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