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Taking fitness in strides

Local Stroller Strides offers exercise opportunities for kid-carrying mothers
By: Natalie Otis, Journal correspondent
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New moms are faced with thousands of choices when it comes to caring for their babies. Nevertheless, one choice that is often made unconsciously is to put their own needs on the back burner in the name of being a good mother. So, while their new babies thrive and mommy can take solace in knowing that they are “doing right” by their child, many times mom begins to wonder — after the post-baby weight won’t come off and there is no time to fit in a workout at the gym — “What happened to taking care of myself?” A group of Auburn mothers gathered on a recent Wednesday morning to fix that dilemma through a fitness program called Stroller Strides. Stroller Strides is for mothers that want to get out and get fit but also include their children in the activity. Jaime Nattrass is instructor and owner of the Auburn and Meadow Vista franchises. She said there is nothing else like this offered in the foothills. Nattrass is a certified instructor, who just so happens to be a mom, and she says she was a student first who was inspired to open the business after getting involved with a program in Folsom. “I started taking Stroller Strides classes in Folsom when I was about 22 weeks pregnant with my second child. I immediately fell in love with it. I was working out in a safe environment that was also a great support group,” Nattrass said. “I had finally found a group of friends and moms that I had so much in common with. There was nothing like it in our area, so I told my husband that I needed to start one in Auburn and bring this wonderful program to the moms up here.” Nattrass holds her classes in the open air at Regional Park and a typical class she said has about six moms who power walk, jog and tone all while using the stroller and entertaining their munchkins. Abbee Fischer has two children — Bennett, 2 and Miles, 4 months — and has been taking the class for nearly a year. She said she has benefited as much from the social aspect as the physical component of Stroller Strides. “I like the fitness part of it but it is also a way to get out of the house and not leave my kids with someone else,” she said. “We exercise, but we also talk about everything from our kids to relationships.” Nattrass said that being a new mom can be overwhelming and very isolating, and that Stroller Strides addresses a mother’s need to interact outside of the home. “Some get the baby blues and even post-partum depression. But getting out and meeting other moms who have either been through a similar experience, from a rough delivery to a fussy baby, can make them realize they are not alone,” Nattrass said. It is all about creating a balance between baby, home, husband and health. “We need to take time for ourselves because if we are not healthy and happy, how can our babies thrive? It is easy to get ‘swallowed up’ in the daily household chores with never-ending piles of laundry, cleaning up the kitchen, cleaning up the house, grocery shopping and taking care of the little bundles of joy,” Nattrass said. “Exercising can actually relieve the ‘swallowed’ feeling by releasing endorphins in the brain, resulting in a natural high.” Stroller Strides has more than 300 locations nationwide. Classes are held 9 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at Regional Park. A new Meadow Vista class is held at 9 a.m. Tuesdays. The workouts are 60 minutes and Nattrass offers a free trial class to let moms check out the program. A single Stroller Strides class costs $15; however, memberships are available starting at $55 a month. For more information about Stroller Strides, contact Nattrass at (916) 759-5950 or go to www.strollerstrides.net/auburn. Reach Journal correspondent Natalie Otis at natalieotis@gmail.com.