Power Hour designed to benefit mothers and children
One of the challenges facing mothers of young children is fitness.
After a day of taking care of their kids, the last thing they often feel like doing is working out.
Fitness instructor Whitney Kozlowski has solved that problem for Park City-area mothers.
She established a high-intensity Power Hour class for moms four years ago and has seen it grow into a three-day-a-week program with Basin Recreation.
The sessions are held Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in the Matt Knoop Memorial Park during the summer season. In the fall and winter, the classes are moved into the Basin Rec field house at Kimball Junction.
"When I moved to Park City from California four years ago, I was pregnant with my second child," Kozlowski said during an interview with The Park Record. "These classes were very popular in California, but there wasn’t anything here at that time, so I started it in summer of 2009."
Five mothers attended the first session.
"It was a great way for me to meet new people in town, but also a great way for these moms to get back into shape," Kozlowski said. "Since then, it has grown and grown, and Basin Recreation believed in it and took it in."
Now, there are usually up to 50 participants of all abilities and stages of their motherhood that attend the classes regularly, Kozlowski said.
"I counted and I think I’ve taught maybe 500 classes over the years, and I’ve loved them all," she said.
One of the things Kozlowski tries to do is make every session a unique experience.
"I change things up a bit with different exercises and music," she said. "It’s a way to introduce some variety in the workout.
"The moms who participate in the class range from new mothers, who want to get their bodies back in shape with a scheduled workout after having a baby, to triathletes and marathon runners," Kozlowski said.
While many of the women enjoy the classes’ physical challenges, many come for what Kozlowski calls the "momraderie."
"These mothers share so much of themselves within this hour," she said. "They can socialize and get fit, and their kids get to run around and play with each other. It’s like an instant playdate."
The children that come to the class are of all ages.
"We see newborns, toddlers and elementary-school-aged kids who accompany their moms," Kozlowski said. "There are more kids in the summer because they aren’t in school, but when we hold the classes in the fall and winter, we see mostly toddlers."
Although the classes may seem chaotic to onlookers because of the kids running around, the sessions are pretty regulated.
"We don’t just let the kids run wild," Kozlowski said. "During the fall and winter, we have bounce houses for the kids and toys that are available for them to play with.
"Also, the mothers are always watching their children and, if the need arises, they can step away from the workout to take care of emergencies or other needs," she said. "It’s nice for moms to know that they don’t have to schedule a playdate because there are usually up to 30 kids running around and ready to have fun."
One of the rewards for Kozlowski is to see the kids learning about fitness at such a young age.
"The workout is for the moms, but the kids like to participate and do jumping jacks and planks as well," she said. "There is something charming about the class."
Furthermore, the Power Hours aren’t just for women with children.
"We have women who come who don’t have kids, and we also have men who participate as well," Kozlowski said.
Since her background as a personal trainer is about focusing on body weight and interval training, Kozlowski uses those principles in the class.
"However, since the class is so large and there are kids running around, we limit the amount of equipment we use," she explained. "But that’s OK, because we craft these workouts by using body-weight exercises such as push-ups, planks and intervals of quick movements, and if the mothers can’t make it to a class or two because their kids are sick, they can still do these exercises at home or wherever they can find the space."
Kozlowski said fitness is important for mothers on a variety of levels.
"First, they want to get back into a routine and getting your body back into shape is important," she said. "But there is a bigger picture. When these women start getting into motherhood, it’s important for them to know that there is a community of support, that ‘momraderie.’
"There is something to be said about strength in numbers," Kozlowski said. "There is something about having 30 to 50 other moms working out with you and knowing that they’re going through similar experiences — including sleepless nights and things like that."
Kozlowski, who just had her third baby, is taking a few weeks off to spend time with her newborn. So her husband, Stan, will coach the class.
"He, along with Necia Emery, who is a fitness coordinator with Basin Rec and a big believer in the program, will work together," Kozlowski said. "Stan knows how much I love this class and has been able to see what I’ve done and will continue without a glitch.
"I’m going to miss it when I’m gone, because it’s one of my favorite things of the day," she said.
The Mother’s Power Hour Class is Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9:30 a.m. The classes will be held in Matt Knoop Memorial Park until the late fall, when they will be moved into the Basin Recreation field house at Kimball Junction. For more information, visit basinrecreation.org/fitness.html.
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