Roosevelt Island Moms on the Move (RI MoM) is an initiative of the RI Parents’ Network (RIPN), a social network and community organization of over 500 families on Roosevelt Island. Our group is free of charge thanks to the fact that the RI Parents’ Network is 100% volunteer-based.
Every week since June 2014, our walking-and-exercise group has been meeting at the Visitor Center Kiosk. Pregnant women, parents, grandparents, and other caregivers with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers meet and walk together, usually to Southpoint Park. We take strollers, baby carriers, and scooters along, and children often run around us. After the walk, we continue with voluntary exercise for the parents and free play for the children.
As a new mom or dad, one often wishes to get out of the house and meet other parents, start losing the baby weight, enjoy a walk and some fresh air, and get together on a regular basis with parents in the same situation to move and have some fun. This is how RI MoM was born.
Now we are celebrating two years of “Let’s meet and get going!” The specific activities and location depend both on the weather and the volunteers who guide the walk and exercise that week. Island moms Dawn Price and Renate Narr often lead the walks. The exercise part had been started by a fitness coach and Island mom of two, Paulina Mansz, who has now moved to Washington, D.C.
Last year, Theodora Ntaidou, Amy Namdar, Cecilia Chen, and I were taking turns leading the workouts based on our favorite routines. Now, Saskia Düx, a physical therapist, and Maiko Akiba, a Japanese Yoga teacher, lead the exercises.
Due to popular demand, we have been meeting twice a week for several months. There is no RSVP or commitment, and everyone can join on a drop-in basis: just for one part, at the last minute, or even late—whatever works. We enjoy up to one hour of a mix of strengthening and stretching exercises one day a week and Yoga on the other, both suitable for pregnant moms and parents of children of all ages.
If the weather is nice, we exercise outside, typically at Four Freedoms Park, where it is calm and relaxing and the children are surprisingly contained (likely an effect of the surrounding trees).
You may have also seen us by the Octagon soccer field or at Rivercross lawn. For these outside gatherings, everyone brings picnic blankets and toys to share. After the exercise, we usually stay together a bit longer exchanging parenting and community information. If it is too cold or rainy, we shorten or skip the walk and meet directly for exercise in one of the playrooms. There, toys are provided and moms can focus on doing something for themselves. They can exercise if they wish, or just spend some time together with other moms.
Thank you to all the parent volunteers who have made RI MoM a reality every week for 2 years as walk leaders, exercise coaches, yoga instructors, and participants!