Moms With Strollers Stride Into Fitness


Regaining one's shape after giving birth can be a challenge. Roxanne Lyons wants to make getting into shape easier by bringing Stroller Strides to Payson.

"Stroller Strides is a unique, total-fitness program created specifically for new parents who bring their children in strollers," Lyons said.

Lyons first heard about the program on the Today Show, and was so excited by the company -- created by new mom Lisa Druxman -- she attended a class and flew to Virginia for training. Lyons' certification is through Stroller Strides, nationally recognized by the American Council on Exercise.

Making time for personal fitness in a daily routine that requires diaper changes, frequent feedings and lullabies can seem impossible.

"It's going to be good exercise for me, and fun for my kids (Alex, 4, Emmy, 2, and Maggie, 2 months) to get to play with other kids," said Kerry Whaley. Whaley said Stroller Striders makes working out easier because she can bring her children along.

Stroller Strides weaves songs and activities into the routine to keep babies happy too.

Becky Sopeland plans to attend Stroller Strides several times a week after seeing how Lyons has been able to get and stay in shape after pregnancy.

"She looked so good that I asked her what she was doing," Sopeland said.

The grand opening event will take place at 9:30 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 27 at Green Valley Park.

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:30 a.m. are Lyon's starting point for her classes, but she is open to other times as mothers are interested.

Single, 45- to 60-minute classes are $12, but class prices can be as low as $4.69 a class with the purchase of a three-month package.


Stroller Striders' routines include warm-ups, strength training and jogging between the strollers. Roxanne Lyons, Kerry Whaley, Stephanie Roberson and Becky Sopeland incorporate knee bends into their workouts.

"The first class is always free," Lyons said.

Lyons wants to organize certain days for playtimes after the workout. She has an idea for a family exercise day, too, that would be free of charge to fathers.

So far, she has arranged for mothers to meet on Fridays at Roadrunner Espresso, because of the play area.

Mothers being able to talk about parenting with other mothers is an added benefit.

"Certainly we know that physical exercise raises some of the brain chemicals (like endorphins) that make us feel OK," said Betty Leon, staff therapist at Rim Guidance Center. "Physical exercise done with other people may decrease that sense of isolation, ‘Oh my gosh, I'm home with a new baby that keeps me awake.'"

According to Leon, the feeling of isolation can be part of postpartum depression or "baby blues." Other symptoms of baby blues may be depression, fatigue, a sense of sadness, guilt about not feeling joyous enough and not feeling up to the task of parenting.

"The spectrum of postpartum depression goes from the baby blues to full blown psychosis," Leon said. "(For some) -- especially if they are predisposed or have a history of depression -- pregnancy, delivery and then the discomfort and the additional responsibilities of a new baby could trigger a depression that might already be there."

Indications that a new mom with the blues should seek professional help are worsening depression, thoughts of harm to baby or self, or thoughts of being unable to nurture and care for a baby.

Payson gynecologist Cynthia Booth said she sees many women dealing with postpartum depression. She cautioned that "progesterone does not work."

"If depression lasts more than two weeks, see their doctor, seek counseling, talk to people," she said.

In addition to the natural camaraderie that forms in classes, Stroller Strides aims to "help moms achieve their ultimate potential, both physically and emotionally."

Stroller Strides does not require a doctor's release for exercise, but Lyons said it's a good idea.

Booth said that pregnant and postpartum women need to be evaluated for contra-indications to exercise prior to starting an exercise program.

Women who are interested in taking part in Stroller Strides may contact Roxanne Lyons toll free at (888) 443-2042.

For more information about postpartum depression or to seek counseling, contact your doctor or Rim Guidance Center at (928) 474-3303.

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