Stroller Strides program delivers workout for moms, fun for kids

Sunny Nunogawa, Emily Blend, Julie Martins and Shelly Combs perform aerobic exercises at Celebration Park during a Stroller Strides workout. - Photo by Alexander Tran/UW Newslab
Sunny Nunogawa, Emily Blend, Julie Martins and Shelly Combs perform aerobic exercises at Celebration Park during a Stroller Strides workout.
— image credit: Photo by Alexander Tran/UW Newslab

Finding time and motivation to workout is tough when you’re raising young children.

Julie Martin, a mother of two from Federal Way, knows this feeling all too well.

“I had a baby then gained a lot of weight,” said Martin, “so [recently] I decided it was time to get back on the horse.”

Martin joined a fitness program called Stroller Strides in January. Like most of the program’s participants, Martin thinks of Stroller Strides as much more than a typical workout group.

Stroller Strides, a program under the FIT4MOM franchise, is a nationwide fitness program that moms perform while their children are in strollers. The program came to Federal Way last September and meets at Celebration Park three mornings a week.

“We do our very best to make sure that kids are entertained in their strollers while the moms get a great workout,” says Kristy Fassio, who owns FIT4MOM of Southeast King County.

The hour-long workout consists of strength and cardio training in stations throughout Celebration Park. Moms utilize the park’s environment, resistance bands and strollers as tools to perform exercises, such as squats and power-walking.

To keep the children engaged and entertained during the workout, the instructor also leads the group in activities such as singing nursery rhymes.

“It’s like a mobile preschool,” said Fassio.

During one class, Stroller Strides instructor Shelly Combs had the group perform a wall-sit exercise while singing the entirety of the song “Bingo.”

“You’ll feel this tomorrow morning,” said Combs, enthusiastically. Despite holding the wall sit position for nearly three minutes, the laughter and movement from the children in response to the singing kept the moms smiling.

Martin, a regular Stroller Strides participant, is convinced of the program’s benefits for both moms and their children.

“I’ve lost 10 pounds since I started in January, and the program has been a huge part of that,” said Martin. “It’s a great way to get exercise and still have your kids along.”

Fassio believes Stroller Strides goes beyond being just a workout that moms do with their kids.

“It’s a very nurturing place for moms who need their ‘mom questions’ answered in a non-judgmental environment,” says Fassio. “We do exercise, but we’re really more about taking care of moms and making a safe village for a mom and her children to be in.”

Currently, the program has a small group of four regulars. That said, Fassio is optimistic that the numbers will grow.

“[Although] we’re small, right now is a great chance to get into a fabulous small community," Fassio said.

For more information on Stroller Strides, visit

(This story was contributed to The Mirror by Alexander Tran, a student at the University of Washington's News Lab program.)

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