The workout is what drew her, but Melanie Truschinski says she gets so much more from her four-days-aweek StrollerFit habit. “I just really like the camaraderie,” she said one cool morning last week as she and other moms lined up their strollers on a basketball court at Sedgwick County Park. “This is so nice.”
StrollerFit classes are a mix of cardio and strength work, much like any boot camp class.
The difference is that babies and children who will stay in strollers are part of it.
The little ones don’t exercise, but they definitely get involved:
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Instructor Tonya Wells had moms march up to their strollers, give their babies a tickle, then march back. They repeated the moves with kisses for the kids.
Switching from the music typical of an aerobics class, Wells asked, “Hey, Noah, what animal can we do?”
“Pig,” suggested Noah Truschinski, 3.
So moms sang “Old MacDonald had a pig” as they moved through lunges and squats.
“I’m a Little Teapot” was a stretching song. And as moms power-skipped around a circle of strollers, they chanted, “Four little monkeys, jumping on the bed.”
“You don’t have to be able to sing for this,” Wells said, joking about her own vocal abilities. “But I have to say, the animals at the zoo love our singing.”
So do the children. Noah and some of the other toddlers joined in on “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” as their moms worked in pairs with resistance bands.
“He sings all the time,” Truschinski said. “I think it’s because of this. Everyone comments all the time about how much he sings.”
Wells moved the group — 15 moms and 21 children — to a picnic area. The moms used tables for step-ups and bicep dips as
Wells blew bubbles to entertain the little ones.
In an average 45-minute class, Wells said, the moms will jog or skip 2½ to 3½ miles along with their strength work. The movement helps keep the youngsters happy.
As of Monday, the classes have moved inside for the winter. They’ll go back out in May, Wells said.
Wells, 33, started the StrollerFit classes about a year ago, not long after returning to Wichita after living elsewhere. It’s a franchise she got interested in a decade ago, but this time the timing was right:
“I have a family, I have a little girl, I’m a personal trainer. And here I am,” she said. Her daughter attends the class, too.
She offers the boot camp classes five days a week and core and sculpt classes three days a week, at locations all over town.
The moms sign up for a variety of reasons. Many are like Ashley Herman, mother of 6-month-old twins, who has been attending a couple of months.
“It gets me outside, and they like to be outside,” she said. The session calms the babies, and she gets a chance to talk to other adults.
Truschinski likes that StrollerFit involves exercise and her children — she also has a 9-month-old daughter — without the expense of day care. Classes also allow her to make community connections: She is a military wife, and frequent moves make it difficult to find friends. “You can get pretty lonely,” she said.
Even Noah has found a connection. As their moms did strength moves in front of them, he leaned forward in the stroller and looked to his right.
“Jayden. Jaaaayyy-den,” he called to a toddler a couple of strollers away.