At a popular local park this morning, Michael and I saw the most astonishing thing we've ever seen on one of our walks: stroller aerobics.
Michael noticed it first, when we were a little ways away. "Look at that," he said. "Push ups."
Sure enough, there were a bunch of brightly-dressed people in the grass up ahead of us, doing push-ups.
As we got closer, they stood up, and each woman walked to a stroller. One woman was directing the group, sounding more like a drill sergeant than an aerobics teacher. As we watched in shock, they each pushed their strollers a few steps; and then, while holding on with one hand, each woman turned sideways, stood with their legs spread and their knees bent, stuck their butts out, and made some jerky, bouncy movements as they shuffled forward.
"It's the [Name] Park baby moms," Michael said.
"What is this, the 1950s?" I responded.
After a few feet they walked facing forward for a short while, and then turned and did the same thing on the other side.
We reached the cluster of park benches where we normally take a break, and continued watching the women as our dogs rested. After doing their Sir Mix-A-Lot shuffles on the other side, they stopped and parked the strollers. A grade-school-age child counted out ten push-ups.
"It's like something you film and post on YouTube," Michael said, sounding slightly shocked.
To put this into context, I guess I should mention that this is park is located in a rather yuppy, urban neighborhood. These are the types of women who, before they got pregnant, were probably seen jogging in designer exercise clothing or sipping lattes on a coffee break while wearing an Armani suit.
When we got home, I Googled "stroller aerobics." And what do you know, this is actually a big deal! Unbelievable. One site I clicked onto talked about how difficult the extra weight is to lose post-pregnancy, yadda yadda.
The extreme focus on image just blows me away. First off, these women were NOT overweight, not even close. And don't tell me it's because of the stroller aerobics, because I have never seen a more useless collection of "exercises" in my life. I mean, seriously, what exactly is sticking your butt out and shuffling along sideways going to do for your figure? Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned jogging, swimming, or cycling? (All of which are popular in this area, I might add.)
Second, the fact that they are holding these sessions at the park -- and that all of the women were dressed in stylish aerobics clothing -- tells me something. They are not doing it for their health. It's all about status and appearance, which I find mildly disgusting but also a little confusing. I'm not sure what exactly their intended message is to the others in the park -- is it, "I'm a mom, I'm rich, and I look good in a leotard"?
Don't get me wrong -- I enjoy eating healthy and dressing attractively as much as the next person, but this seems rather obsessive and superficial to me. It's amazing how we have backslid, going from discussing a woman's right to earn equal wages to exercising (no pun intended) her right to wear spandex.