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Moms Get Fit with Stroller Striders

Leana Murdoch wanted an exercise buddy, so she went online to search for other moms in her community.

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We’ve all heard about online dating, but what about meeting fitness buddies on the Internet? Leana Murdoch started an online group to meet other mothers who shared her fitness goals. Now the moms are not only helping each other stay in shape, they’re also becoming great friends. “I knew that I was going to need to lose some weight after being pregnant so I decided to start a group,” Leana says. “I wanted an active group.” Leana wanted an exercise buddy, but she didn’t know any other mothers in her community. She started an online group called Stroller Striders. “Anybody can start it. It’s a free service through Yahoo,” she says. It turns out she wasn’t the only mother looking online for exercise partners. “It was kind of like mommy dating online,” says Veronica, a member of Stroller Striders. Stroller Striders now has more than twenty members. Some joined to meet new people. “We don’t have family down here,” Veronica says. “A lot of people don’t (because) a lot of people have relocated. It’s a good support system.” Others wanted to make friends in the same stage of life. “Most of my friends didn’t have children yet, so I had people I could exercise with, but no one for my kids to socialize with,” says Alicia, another group member. Some of the members are stay-at-home moms who just like to get out of the house. Kim says, “I wanted to become active. If it wasn’t for the group I’m afraid we might just stay in all the time.” But for all, the group provides an atmosphere of encouragement and accountability. “Instead of just saying you’re going to the gym at two,” Alicia says, “you’re actually meeting somebody, so you’re going to get up and go instead of just saying, ‘I’ll do it tomorrow.’” Stroller Striders also provides a social network. “We have moms’ nights out when we go out without the kids, and we enjoy that,” says Leana. “We talk to one another about parenting issues or wife and husband issues, or whatever it is. We’ve become a great group of friends.” Of course there are benefits for the children too. They’re also making new friends and learning valuable lessons. “We want to show our kids that we’re interested in exercising,” Leana says. Alicia’s son has followed her example by taking up running. “I can run faster than momma,” he says. Perhaps one of the greatest things about a group like this is that it is easy to form. A quick online search and registration is all it takes to start. It doesn’t cost a thing, but the payout is big! “It has the benefits of friendship and also exercise,” Veronica says.

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