- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) - On a chilly Friday morning, Ivy Burdick leads a group of women in an outdoor exercise routine at Jarvis Creek Park on Hilton Head Island. They move along the path at the park and stop when they come to an “exercise station,” a spot where Burdick instructs the women to grab their resistance bands. They move their arms in a circular motion and then side to side — all in time to music: “The wheels on the bus go ‘round and ‘round … the wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish.”

The women are moms. Their children are seated next to them in parked strollers, where they sing along. Stroller Strides, a workout group of area mothers, meets at Jarvis Creek six days a week, where they jog or walk around the park’s trail and stop for specific exercises along the way.

Burdick became a Stroller Strides instructor in May when she found out she was pregnant with her first child. She had been active in CrossFit for the past three years and wanted a workout program in which she could bring her baby along with her.

“Fitness had gotten to be pretty important to me,” she said.

A friend owned a franchise of Stroller Strides in Virginia and referred Burdick to the program.

Hilton Head Island resident Amber Caswell has been attending the class for the past month. She pushes a double stroller with her sons Hayden, 2, and Colten, 5.

“I get an extra workout,” she said of bringing both kids to the class. “When I have both, my arms are a lot more sore the next day.”

Colten jumps out of his stroller and does leg kicks with the group. When the exercise station is over, he gets back into his stroller, and Caswell jogs to the next station.

“Before, I had to arrange child care or do workouts at home, which doesn’t always work out,” Caswell said. “It’s nice because we’re getting time outside. We can make a morning out of it.”

Hilton Head resident Nikki Wright has been attending Stroller Strides classes for about four months, with her 16-month-old son, Liam, in tow.

As Liam grows restless and fussy, Wright tosses a ball into his stroller in between leg kicks. But the ball doesn’t satisfy, so Wright has to hold the toddler. Burdick modifies the workout for Wright, who does squats while the others work with stretch bands.

“I still want her to get a workout in, so while she’s holding her baby, I’ll give her an exercise she can do,” Burdick said.

When Wright puts Liam down, he grabs her green stretch band and runs through the group, squealing and laughing. He has found a toy he likes.

“Something happens when you become a mom. All of a sudden you become a part of this motherhood community,” Burdick said. “If anything, Stroller Strides is a great opportunity for moms to have a support group in addition to a place to work out.”

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