By Sgt. Terence EwingsMarch 19, 2013
EL PASO, Texas - Some female military community members and spouses can say it is difficult to juggle a consistent physical training regimen with performing the duties of a wife and mother.
In an effort to help those community members and spouses stay in shape, the Fort Bliss Morale, Welfare and Recreation program offers the Stroller off Stress class, available 10-11 a.m every Monday and Friday from Sept. 10 - Dec. 6 at the Soto Physical Fitness Facility on East Fort Bliss.
While the class is open to all community members to attend, it was primarily designed for parents to have the opportunity to get a great workout, without having to hire a babysitter. Parents are encouraged to bring their "little ones" with them while they participate in the physical training sessions.
"This class is more than just another physical training session," said Rebecca Stewart, a MWR physical trainer and instructor for the S.o.S. class. "We're helping the students get the most out of this class by teaching them the correct way to perform the exercises and explaining how it improves their overall physical fitness."
Much like a circular military physical training formation, Stewart leads the group of students through a variety of muscle stretches and conditioning activities; such as lifts, lunges, squats and abdominal crunches.
In addition to primarily instructing the class, Stewart also coaches her students one on one in case they have trouble performing an exercise or need further guidance and assistance with forming a regular workout schedule.
"It's really rewarding to be able to watch them grow, get stronger and healthier while being a part of this program," said Stewart. "It feels good knowing that I've helped them do that."
With baby strollers and car seats populating the spaces outside the exercise area, the circular formation looked anything but militant from up close. The workouts for the class were designed this way to allow the participants to keep a close eye on their children, while safely keeping them out of the way.
On most days the participants would warm-up for their exercise sessions by having a brisk walk with their children in strollers, which is how the MWR sponsored class initially received its name "Stroller off Stress".
"When I first signed-up for the class I thought it was just going to just be a lot of walking around with the stroller and maybe some more exercises like that," said Angela Vanputte, a military spouse who resides on Fort Bliss. "But it's so much more than that. It's really a hard workout."
Vanputte believes one of the best parts about the program is that it's free and it does not come with any membership obligations like most off-post gym associations.
"It's a program that's truly in place to help parents and spouses get in shape and stay that way," said Vanputte, a native of Chicago, Ill.
For more information on future classes or events you can visit http://blissmwr.com or the Fort Bliss ACS center, Bldg. 2494 Ricker Road.