By John Schaffner
Drive along Chastain Park on Lake Forrest Drive around 10 a.m. any Tuesday or Thursday and the sight of more than a dozen baby strollers lined up facing toward the golf course is bound to catch anyone’s attention.
It is no coincidence that so many baby strollers and moms in workout clothes are all there at the same place and at the same time. It is a Stroller Strides class.
According to Buckhead resident Kyle Pointer, who has the only franchise for north Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Dunwoody and Midtown, Stroller Strides “is all about fitness, fun and friendship.”
Moms bring their children in their strollers and do a one-hour strength and cardio training workout — some of it using the stroller and some without. It is sort of a boot camp for new moms.
It affords a way for moms to get their exercise routines in while having some fun with their children and meeting some other moms at the same time. Pointer said the group of moms who are presently participating have children that range from six weeks to three-and-a-half years old.
Sandy Springs resident Nichole Boemanns has been actively involved with Stroller Strides for three years, from the time her first child, Adrian, was about six months old. “I really like Stroller Strides,” she said. “It gives me a good time to get out of the house with the kids. At the end of the class, the kids get out and run around, and then they are ready for a nap and lunch when we get done.” She said she plans to continue with the program as long as the kids will let her.
Boemanns said she participated in Stroller Strides as much as four times a week when she just had one child. Since 18-month-old Ian came along, however, she now attends the class twice a week, either at Chastain Park or Perimeter Mall, because both children are in school some days during the week.
This particular franchise of Stroller Strides has been operating in Atlanta for three years, but Peachtree Park resident Pointer has only owned it for the past year.
The group classes begin at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Chastain Park and on Wednesdays and Fridays at Piedmont Park. There also are sessions at Perimeter Mall on Mondays and Fridays starting at 9 a.m. Moms are urged to show up 15 minutes early so that no one is left behind.
For those sessions, mothers can just show up with their child and stroller. But there are Saturday classes at Piedmont Park the first Saturday of the month and at Chastain Park the other Saturdays during the month which require pre-registration.
Classes are only cancelled when weather conditions appear to cause a hazard, not for light rain or drizzle.
The first class is free, and moms can either pay each time they participate, pay a monthly fee or buy a package of classes. The prices range from $5 to $15.
As well as being the franchise owner, Pointer is one of the instructors and often shows up with her two-year-old son Gavin in the stroller. And, it is not uncommon for moms to show up with one child in the stroller and another on the way.
For the moms, it is all about fitness and a fun outing with their child or children. For passersby, it is a sight to behold.