TAMPA - Moms need to be in good shape to raise a toddler - or two or three.
Finding time to exercise is tough, but a bunch of moms have found a way. They gather Monday through Saturday at the Westfield Citrus Park Mall before it opens and they have fun while their toddlers just sit back and relax. It's a good tradeoff.
Regina Hord runs the Stroller Strides program and said it is a great way for parents to stay in shape while spending some valuable time with their kids.
There are more than 50 members enrolled in the program that includes several malls in the Tampa Bay area and more than 200 toddlers have participated.
"We start every morning with a warm-up and it goes from there," Hord said. "There's lots of running, stretching, jogging, and exercise. The moms and the kids have a great time."
Children between the ages of 2 months and 3 years are able to attend. Since they walk the mall before opening, most groups meet around 9 a.m. Hord herself isn't just an instructor, she owns Stroller Strides too.
The program focuses on total fitness while allowing moms and kids to bond. Some of the younger kids use it as a naptime, but some of them stay awake and are wide-eyed at the action. The moms are expected to power walk, but some jog. Before and after the route around the mall, which is a little more than a mile, there are body toning and strength activities. Songs and other activities are weaved into the routine to make sure the toddlers are happy while the moms are starting to sweat. There is also a free Plum Mom's Club that includes weekly play dates, monthly mom's night out and family events.
Hord also offers Fit4Baby, a pre-natal program, and Body Back, a results-based fitness program for mothers of all stages of motherhood.
Regina Hord can be reached at (478) 442-3677. Full class schedules can be found at www.fit4mom.com.