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Monday, Jun 18, 2018
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Four-year-old exercise group targets mom muscles

A fitness group called Stroller Strides can be a new mom’s best friend as it provides group exercise and socialization for moms and babies. Instructors, under the umbrella of the national group’s local franchise, Fit4Mom Tampa Bay, teach exercise classes at area malls, including Westfield Brandon.

Fit4Mom Tampa Bay just reached its fourth birthday March 31.

The Brandon Stroller Strides group meets inside the mall near Panera Bread and starts with warm-ups, followed by a speed walk to a quiet corner of the mall. There they do wall sits, sprints, burpees, trabata training, stretch-band exercises and sing songs to their babies, who are securely strapped in their strollers. Then they all head outside for step ups and lunges by the fountain.

“Children must stay in their strollers for their safety,” said Kelsey Lack, instructor. “They stay happy and entertained with songs, bubbles and the visual stimulation of moving to different places in the mall and Mom sprinting away from them and back to them.”

Lack, who lives in Riverview, is a professional dancer who has been an avid fitness buff for most of her life. She also has a young son, Wyatt, and enjoys being with the moms she teaches.

“I came about three months ago,” said student Kerri Higbee of Ruskin. “This is the closest Stroller Strides group to me. I’ve always been active, and with this I can work out without leaving my daughter (9-month-old Lily). As a new mom, it’s nice to make friends with other moms, share ideas and have play dates. Plus, I’ve lost 10 pounds since I started.”

Karen Harter of Brandon serendipitously ran across the Stroller Strides group last year when she came to walk around the mall with her 2-year-old daughter, Hadley, and infant son, Dexter, in a double stroller.

“I asked what the women were doing. They explained it and said the first class is free if I wanted to try it right then, so I did,” said Harter. “I wanted to see how the kids liked it. They have to be happy, too. I’ve been coming for seven months.”

Hadley, now almost 3, is more interested in life outside the stroller, so she can no longer accompany Harter in her workouts. Instead, Harter attends Stroller Strides weekly with 1-year-old Dexter, while her husband, Micah Harter, walks the mall with their daughter.

The Brandon Stroller Strides classes meet at 9 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays for a one-hour workout inside Westfield Brandon near Panera Bread.

In addition to Stroller Strides, Fit4Mom Tampa Bay offers Body Back exercise programs for any mother of any age who wants to get her body back.

For schedules, pricing and other class locations, visit Fit4Mom.com.

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