Workouts have become a family affair this year for Debbie Bauer of St. Charles.
Bauer used to exercise by herself at home using fitness videos she found on YouTube. That was before she discovered a Fit4Mom class in December called Stroller Strides, a one-hour interval training course held four mornings a week at The Quad St. Charles, 3800 E. Main St., St. Charles.
The class format allows participants to bring their children in strollers and interact with them while they break a sweat. Bauer usually brings her two children, Liam, 4, and Aiden, 2.
“The first class was a lot of fun, and I’ve been going ever since,” Bauer said.
Bauer is one of many residents in the area who find a workout is better when it’s done with loved ones. Along with St. Charles, there are a variety of other offerings in the Tri-Cities for wellness-minded families.
The Geneva Park District offers up to 80 classes each season and has programming for toddlers through seniors, said Traci Wicks, the district’s director of marketing and public relations.
The district typically sees mother-daughter pairings in classes, such as hoop dancing, indoor cycling, Zumba and yoga, Wicks said.
For unstructured activity, Wicks said families ride bikes or jog on district trails, and in the summer months head to Sunset Pool, at 710 Western Ave., Geneva, or Mill Creek Pool, at 39W125 S. Mill Creek Drive near Geneva.
RiverWest Family Fitness, at 108 First St., Batavia, has offered a Friday Night Family Night since it opened in April 2003, said its owner, Chris Hylton.
The family night is more popular during the colder months and allows members to bring their children to exercise if they are ages 8 and older, Hylton said.
Some of the children who used to come to family night currently have their own memberships, and the same has happened with some who used to get baby-sat in the fitness center’s playroom, Hylton said. The playroom is open every morning except for Sunday and later in the afternoons on weekdays.
Hylton said he most often sees couples or parents working out together. Parents set the example for their children to lead a healthy lifestyle, Hylton said.
“They realize it should be part of their life,” Hylton said of children and fitness. “There’s definitely a learned behavior going on.”
One of the core values for Fit4Mom Geneva/St. Charles is inspiring children to emulate their mothers and make fitness a part of their lives, said its franchisee, Becca Barto.
Although the Fit4Mom brand offers different classes nationwide, Stroller Strides has proven the most popular, and it’s the only one that involves children, Barto said.
Children are entertained during the class by their mothers, who sing songs during the classes and also get a book read to them by the instructor.
Coming to the class has allowed Bauer and her boys to make friends with other fitness-minded moms who bring their children. Fit4Mom also arranges play groups and social outings for participants, Barto said.
Bauer said she wants Liam and Aiden to grow up eating right and knowing how to take care of themselves. Stroller Strides is a good start to that, she said.
“I hope that I’m helping to instill healthy habits in them at a young age,” Bauer said.