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Stroller Classes Keep Moms Fit

By: Diane Standberg
The Tri-City New July 2, 2005

House-bound moms with babies can get exercise, enjoy nature and make friends in a new fitness program aimed at them.

Port Moody mom Lara Leontowich runs an outdoor exercise program at Lafarge Lake in Town Centre Park, which gets moms walking and talking, while babies relax in a stroller.

This is really taking off in the States, but we’re just getting it going here,” said Leontowich, who recently moved here from Calgary, where she took fitness classes after her son, Ayden, was born.

There weren’t many fitness classes geared to mom and baby in the Tri-Cities, so she saw some potential for a small business. Leontowich got certified as a fitness trainer who can teach pre and post natal classes. She started the program at Town Centre in May, which has the advantage of being outdoors. It’s visual stimulation for baby, too. They get to watch the geese and see nature,” said Leontowich.
The classes are an hour long and run almost every day. Moms circle around Lafarge Lake twice, pushing the stroller, and doing different steps to work different muscles. There are pushups and ab crunches and resistance exercises using tubes. Moms can bring a towel to lay on the ground while they do stretches and other exercises on the grass. Instead of counting, the exercises are done to baby songs and rhymes.

It’s a very relaxed atmosphere,” said Leontowich. Baby always comes first. If a mom has to attend to her baby we all just make do,” she said.
Participants can also vary the intensity of the workout to match their fitness level.
The program will run all summer, and Leontowich plans to start stroller fitness classes indoors this fall in recreation centres in Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam and Port Moody.

Lougheed TC offers new fitness program for new moms

By: Wanda Chow
NewsLeader Staff Nov 30 2005

A group of new moms can be seen pushing their baby-laden strollers with purpose at Lougheed Town Centre on Tuesday mornings
Window-shoppers, maybe, but power-shoppers they’re not. At least not while they’re partaking in Shop ‘n’ Stroll, a fitness program that helps bring moms and babies together to socialize and work up a sweat. Despite the name, it’s hardly a leisurely walk around the mall. Participants stride along at a brisk clip, with babes enjoying the ride, judging by the smiles on their faces.

During the 45-minute fitness class, there are stops for strength and toning exercises, some using elastic resistance bands, with songs, rhymes and movements designed to interact with the kids and keep them interested. Shop n’ Stroll is funded by Lougheed Town Centre and is run by Lara Leontowich, owner of Runners and Booties Fitness Leontowich’s own 15-month-old son Ayden is one of the participating babies. In fact, the company started as a way for Leontowich, 27, to work and be with her son. She was employed in sales and marketing before becoming a mom and was always into fitness, so it seemed a natural fit.
After Ayden was born, she earned her certification as an aerobics instructor, with a specialty in teaching pre- and post-natal moms, and started Runners and Booties Fitness, which also offers classes in the Tri-Cities area. Leontowich developed a series of classes that combine cardio and toning regimens, with an eye to improving posture and balance, all in a program with songs and nursery rhymes to keep the little ones entertained.

“It’s basically exercises to get moms back into shape in a fun way to keep them coming back,” Leontowich said.

The class is open to all moms after they’ve had their six-week, post-partum medical checkup.

Following the 45-minute workout, there’s 15 minutes of socializing where the babies get to marvel at new faces and the moms share war stories.

Alexis Neufeld, 29, stressed the importance of getting out of the house and being with others in the same boat. “It’s good for babies, good for moms.” As a first-time mom to eight-month-old Cole, “it’s all new.

She said Cole “likes all the music and moving and hopping around his stroller” and he’s made new baby friends and play dates as a result.

Susan Clarke, 31, said most of her other friends don’t have kids yet so there’s no other outlet for the part of her life that is a new mom to eight-month-old Lauren. Socializing with other moms at such groups lets her meet others at the same stage in their lives. “There’s understanding. It makes you want to do more when you see other moms doing it. You’re not isolated.

Sandra Mankoo, mom of 14-month-old Zach, agreed. “The fitness part is great but the social part, I think, is the best part.

Typical topics of conversation include the challenges of teething, who’s got teeth and who hasn’t yet, and which baby stores have sales on.

“Other moms are the best resource,” said Mankoo, 33. “Books can only tell you so much.

Leontowich added the shopping centre’s investment in the program is a win-win for the mall too. “We get to shop when the mall’s not too busy.

Shop n’ Stroll Fitness runs Tuesdays, 9:15 to 10:15 a.m. at Lougheed Town Centre. For more information or to register, call 778-285-6265

Health: New moms and tots mix exercise with socializing

Willowbrook Shopping Centre will host work-outs for
new mothers and their children

by John Kurucz – Langely Advance Jan 31, 2007

Part workout, part shopping trip, all in the name of good health.

As of Feb. 2, Willowbrook Shopping Centre will play host to weekly instalments of Shop n’ Stroll, an exercise program geared towards mothers wanting to include their young children in their workout routine.

“It’s an innovative new indoor workout class tailored to mothers with babies who want to stay in shape,” said Lara Leontowich, a certified fitness instructor and founder of Runners and Booties Fitness.

The way Shop n’ Stroll works is simple: babies anywhere from six weeks to three years of age are pushed around the mall by their mothers, and the setting provides children with stimulating visual and audio surroundings.

Scheduled for Friday mornings at 9:30 a.m., each workout will see moms put through a 45-minute class of power walking though the shopping centre. Participants will take breaks throughout the routine for strength, toning and flexibility training, and the last 15 minutes will be devoted to socializing for mothers and babies.

“People don’t realize how isolating it is to be in the house alone with a new baby,” Leontowich said. “Many women stay at home with their children but find it hard to stay in shape and keep connected with the outside world.”

Established in 2005, the program underwent a trial run in Burnaby’s Lougheed Town Centre to see if the idea would work.

>”After that it just exploded,” Leontowich said. “A lot of moms really enjoy it especially because it’s in a safe and warm environment.”

Similar classes are now offered in Coquitlam Centre, North Vancouver’s Park Royal Mall, and Haney Place in Maple Ridge.

And should your child become restless during the class, all the support you need can be found right then and there.

“If your baby is crying, there are eight other mothers whose babies are crying and you can stop and take care of them,” said Leontowich, who is also a pre-postnatal fitness specialist. “So there’s time for getting fit, bonding with baby, making new friends and even doing a little shopping.”

Weekly Shop n’ Stroll workouts will get underway every Friday as of Feb. 2, starting at 9:30 a.m.

Classes will meet in front of SportChek and participants are encouraged to show up 10 minutes early.

All classes are taught by a certified fitness instructor who specializes in pre and post natal fitness.

Instructors are also trained in First Aid and CPR.

Leontowich recommends that moms wear a good pair of running shoes and bring a bottle of water, on top of any needs that their children may require.

To register for Shop n’ Stroll call 778-285-6265 or