While many Shakopee residents may be readying to spend more time indoors toward the end of the year, a local fitness program is encouraging more women to take their physical activity outdoors.

“Shakopee Moms on the Run” is a fitness program providing several cardio and strength training classes for women. Established in 2015 by Shakopee resident Angie Burgess, the Shakopee chapter of Moms on the Run is one of dozens found throughout the state and nationwide.

Near Shakopee, the organization also has groups in Burnsville, Chanhassen, Chaska, Eden Prairie and Prior Lake.

Shakopee Moms on the Run has recently entered its fall session of classes, an eight-week program that allows women to participate in a strength and cardio “boot camp” as well as endurance runs.

These workout sessions take place outdoors, weather permitting, at local spots like Scenic Heights Park and Huber Park.

Burgess said she recognizes the benefits of getting outside around this time of year.

“Mental health-wise, I think it’s huge,” she said. “People start to, as the weather gets colder, kind of just head indoors. Just getting that fresh air being outside — I think everyone will agree just how much better you feel afterwards.”

With fall runs and “polar runs” set for winter, she added that many who have participated in Shakopee Moms on the Run classes have developed an appreciation for outdoor exercise in dropping temperatures.

“I think people have in their mind like, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s no way I would do that. It’s freezing.’ But what we find is as soon as you start moving, you warm up and you’re great,” Burgess said.

Having these fall runs and exercises also gives Burgess the opportunity to educate others on how to safely navigate outdoor exercise during fall and winter seasons. She often teaches the importance of proper layering and knowing what to wear on outdoor runs.

Toward the latter half of fall, Shakopee Moms on the Run picks a fall race to run. Next month, Burgess said she and her fellow members will participate in the Hot Cider Hustle, a half marathon and 5K run/walk taking place in Bloomington.

The group recently wrapped up its summer season participating in the Moms on the Run 5K/10K/Kids Run Aug. 28 at Lake Phalen in St. Paul.

Beyond staying active, Burgess said Shakopee Moms on the Run has become a great way to meet other women in the community and join a group promoting a welcoming atmosphere.

“There’s definitely friendship and camaraderie among the group,” she said. “We’ve done outings together … I’ve had everybody over at my house for a potluck. Prior to COVID, we would do monthly social gatherings … and we’ve done happy hours and races together outside of class.”

The group has also rallied together for more serious causes, with members having visited each other in the hospital, checking in after surgeries or just catching up on life during classes.

“It’s even an outlet just to vent — if you had a hard day at work or you’re having a rough time with your kids. It’s other women who understand, and everybody is just so open and welcoming and understanding and always willing to listen or offer advice. Sometimes that’s all they need,” she said.

Despite the name, the program is open to any woman — mom or not. The group also prides itself on welcoming everyone from avid running enthusiasts to those trying out running and fitness classes for the first time.

“My biggest thing is just really encouraging people that want to do something but are scared or hesitant or anxious about trying something new to just put themselves out there and give it a shot,” Burgess said. “I think what’s different from a gym is that you do have that support from other women and encouragement to help you along the way.”