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HEALTH & FITNESS : Putting a Spin on Getting Into Shape

March 26, 1992|JENNIFER LEVITZ

In pursuit of a fit and healthy lifestyle, North County residents have pursued all the usual routes--walking, cycling, running--and quite a few of the unusual routes, too. They climb rocks, chase trails marked with flour and ride their bicycles in circles.

For every variation in taste, schedule and physique, there seems to be a route to fitness out there. Some folks have charted their own way, others have connected with an established program. Whatever your own program or lack thereof, fitness starts--or ends--with a good night's sleep. And whether you exercise occasionally or often you'll feel a whole lot better if you do it without injury.

If you're ready to get up and get going, still just thinking about it, or looking for new ways to put yourself through your paces, we offer these suggestions for getting the lead out:

Tailoring fitness programs to individual needs has, over the years, spawned numerous variations on some basic themes. Here are some current twists on jogging, bicycling, aerobic dance and yoga:

Have wheels, will jog

Unlike most well-meaning exercisers, Del Mar resident Alice Brown rarely skips her daily trip to a neighborhood health club. But then most people don't wake up to a child whose first word every morning is "gym."

Two-year-old Benjamin is not referring to the standard "jungle-gym." He means Del Mar Workout's "Sride-n-Stroll" class: He knows that an hour each day will be spent in his racing stroller, while his mother strides along with other parents who are trying to combine raising children and regular exercise.

Club directors started the class last April as an outlet for parents juggling to fit exercise into their day, said Jennifer Linzmeyer, director of the walking program, and herself the mother to two sons.

"We wanted to do something where parents could exercise, without having to worry about hiring a baby-sitter," said the fitness instructor, strapping platinum-haired sons Cole, 3, and Dillon, 1, into a double racing stroller. "We thought, why not incorporate exercise with strollers?"

Parents pushing a stroller along on their daily walk or jog is not new, but Stride-n-Stroll classes are unusual in that they offer the activity as an organized group program, Linzmeyer said.

On a warm morning recently, the eight participants--all women--gathered in a circle to start class with a series of overhead and hamstring stretches. Bright-eyed toddlers eyed each other. One toddler played with his yellow plastic pickup truck; Cole and Dillon debated over a bag of Ritz crackers.

Sunscreen applied, strollers lined up, the walk began. A leisurely stroll along the ocean? Not quite.

Stride-n-Stroll is not for the occasional weekend walker. In fact, the routine would be challenging to most empty-handed walkers. Linzmeyer leads the groups on 7-mile treks at a swift 5 m.p.h. pace that includes the hills of Del Mar and along Solana Beach--few trails are deemed un-walkable.

"The group has gotten so strong, we're thinking of about starting a class for beginners," Linzmeyer said.

On this day, the mothers maneuvered strollers across a rocky ditch and on to a trail running parallel to the train tracks. Some walked alone, chatting with their children or just enjoying the quiet time. Others formed small groups.

"My son doesn't like day care, so this is a great arrangement for me," said Brown, swiftly pushing Benjamin.

"It was always my intent to exercise regularly, but it was hard to find the time alone," added Del Mar resident Margo Hillman, guiding sons Joshua, 20 months, and Aryeh, 3, in a hot-pink double stroller. "And it's hard to exercise at home with a child pulling at your leg."

Classes are held Monday through Thursday, 9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., at Del Mar Workout, and are open to non-members of the club. Fees are $5 for one walk, $25 for one month, and $99 for 5 months. For more information call 481-6226.

Drums and Dance

Court dates, depositions, motions and motions. If there's one thing attorney Karen Hartley does not want, it's a routine fitness class.

Hartley's own answer to fitness nonconformity came in the shape of a weekly Encinitas class known by the funky name of "Expression Sessions." No grapevine and touch-your-toe maneuvers here. This class offers two hours of "Djimbe" drum-banging and traditional African harvest dancing.

Former Encinitas resident Paulo Mattioli started "Expression Sessions" three years ago, with the hopes of drawing African drum enthusiasts. After hiring dancer Charmaine Hubbard, the group changed to a combination drumming-body movement class.

"Drumming and dancing is an ancient and natural source for inner strength, joy, health, and social interaction," said a cheerful Hubbard, adjusting a colorful sarong over her leotard. "It's not some strange class, people from all walks of life attend: doctors, engineers, artists, and students."

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