Mothers with young children, particularly those with newborns, often have postnatal concerns that include shedding extra pounds gained during pregnancy and postpartum depression. Stroller Strides, a national franchise with a Las Vegas chapter at Town Square Las Vegas, 6605 Las Vegas Blvd. South, aims to tackle these concerns with a fitness program designed specifically for mothers and babies.
Jessica Peralta, founder of Stroller Strides' Las Vegas chapter, said the program provides additions to an exercise regimen.
"Stroller Strides is about more than creating a fitness program," Peralta said. "It's about empowering moms and providing that sense of community."
Stroller Strides offers a series of one-hour classes for moms that incorporate stroller use in various exercises. At Town Square, moms meet at 8:30 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the park. Participants power walk or jog with their children in strollers to set stopping points where they do strength and toning exercises.
Peralta started the local chapter July 16 and has since experienced more growth among participants than she anticipated.
She plans to expand the program to Summerlin starting Sept. 4 with classes at 9:30 a.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in The Trails Park, 9550 Trails Center Drive. Henderson classes are anticipated in the coming months.
"It's exceeded my expectations," Peralta said. "Las Vegas has been so amazingly receptive. Families, businesses and everyone have been really accepting. The majority of (my class) is the first 10 moms who signed up."
A former nurse at Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center, Peralta decided to become a stay-at-home mom after giving birth to the first of her two young children. Still yearning to use her nursing skills, Peralta set out to find a program that would combine her love for the field with exercise and being with her children. She discovered Stroller Strides, which was founded in San Diego in 2001, and decided to establish a Las Vegas chapter.
One reason Peralta chose to create a program under the national franchise is because of its focus on more than losing post-birth weight.
"With postpartum depression, 85 percent of women will get the baby blues, and one in 10 will get postpartum depression," Peralta said. "There are two key components in overcoming postpartum depression, which are socialization and exercise. Stroller Strides has these (components)."
Rebecca Meier, a participant in Peralta's class, suffered postpartum depression and turned to Stroller Strides for help. She started taking the classes in San Diego four years ago and said the program has since provided a wealth of support.
"After I had (my daughter) four years ago, I had postpartum depression," Meier said. "I asked my doctor, 'What do I do?' and he told me to exercise. That's when I came across Stroller Strides, and it's absolutely helped."
Meier said the support of other mothers in the classes, especially those who have or had postpartum depression, is one of the reasons why she continues attending Stroller Strides classes. Other reasons, she said, include being a role model to her 4-year-old daughter.
"Stroller Strides helps mentally and physically," Meier said. "We get to exercise with our kids and show them what a healthy mom and lifestyle looks like."
Peralta said membership packages for Stroller Strides, which include unlimited classes, exercise equipment and other trinkets, range from $50 to $75 a month. Peralta also offers a $199 three-month package designed for moms on maternity leave or ideal for teachers on summer break. Membership also includes a spot in the Plum Moms Club, which gives opportunities for mothers to get together for night events, schedule play dates for children and work with area charity outreach. Peralta said the next Plum Moms Club charity event is set to consist of trick-or-treating for canned goods in October for local food banks.
Combining Stroller Strides classes and Plum Moms Club events, Peralta said, allows moms to connect in ways they might not be able to through other fitness programs.
"We're creating a family," Peralta said. "It's so rewarding to see moms who have never met each other getting healthy and creating a great relationship at the same time."
For more information on Stroller Strides, call 882-1795 or visit classes. strollerstrides.net/lasvegas.
Contact Paradise/Downtown View reporter Lisa Carter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 383-4686.