Whether you want to get back into your prebaby shape or just need an exercise option that accommodates your kid, a jogging stroller may prove the perfect addition to your workout regimen. Unlike aerobics or kickboxing classes, running or walking can occur with kids in tow. When you make your baby part of the workout, you never need to find a sitter, and you don't risk using the children as an excuse for not exercising. You just need to consider—as is the case with any piece of large, expensive exercise equipment—what you require from the jogging stroller in order to make the best, most cost-effective purchase. So, before you run out and buy the first jogging stroller you see, check out these handy tips.
By Lynne Rominger
When you step into a store or navigate online to purchase a baby jogging stroller, you'll need to consider many things. Perhaps the first consideration is critically thinking about where you plan to run, walk, meander, and shop. For every type of terrain—bumpy, muddy, rocky, or smooth—there exists an appropriate stroller. Think about it: Have you ever tried to maneuver a traditional stroller around sharp turns or on a dirt road, thinking that you could substitute your standard apparatus for a real jogger? The dynamics of those cumbersome strollers just don't work like all-terrain vehicles, do they? So, know up front where you'll be getting your exercise. The sales rep can then lead you to the right stroller. Which leads us to wheel size ...
Get your mind—and the wheels of your stroller—out of the gutter. Depending upon the terrain and the type of exercise you'll do, there is a wheel size for you! Generally, the more running you plan to do and the rougher the terrain you plan to travel, the larger the wheel you should use on the front wheel of your three-wheeled wonder. If you plan to walk on smooth surfaces, use a smaller wheel. According to one salesperson at a major bicycle chain, "The size has nothing at all to do with stability ... but everything to do with the road."
- 12"-Although you can jog with a wheel this size, you should buy a stroller with 12? wheels if you plan to walk primarily on smoother, flatter surfaces.
- 16?—Just four more inches on this wheel gives it greater flexibility of use. You won't get stuck in the mud or sand with the larger wheel, and you can go at any pace your spirit moves you on this all-purpose wheel—run your heart out or walk leisurely. This wheel size accommodates everything. Moreover, the larger wheel provides a smoother ride overall for the child, and a smoother run for you.
- 20?—This is the wheel of the consummate runner. If you go the distance over rough roads, consider investing in a 20? wheel.
Just how many tikes do you plan to haul around on your cool trike? So far, you can purchase a jogger for up to three wee ones. The especially cool thing about jogging strollers is this: They are engineered to provide you with a smooth push, regardless of the disparity of weight between children sitting side by side. You won't feel lopsided, and neither will they.
Do you plan to travel with your children and take the jogging stroller along? Will you need to cart the stroller from your home to a jogging area? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you'll need to consider how the stroller folds and whether it fits (when folded) in the area allotted for transportation. In truth, not all jogging strollers are created equal when it comes to fold up and move out. Some are downright tricky to pack up, and require the removal of a wheel—the big front one! Talk with your sales rep about options and your needs.
Baby Walk Talk
Part of the problem with a regular stroller and running is the lack of a brake system if the vehicle goes out of control. Any good jogging stroller incorporates a handle brake—much like a bike—to prevent loss of control.
As with any sort of outdoor recreation, some hazards exist. Even if your little person will enjoy the scenery and the ride, you owe it to your child to accessorize the stroller with safety in mind. Although many jogging strollers come equipped with canopies to shield kids from the sun, some don't. The canopy may cost a little extra. If the stroller you choose does not provide the canopy but offers one as an accessory, go ahead and buy it. You wouldn't want to come home from a healthy run with a sunburned babe.
A wrist strap remains another good addition to your nouveau exercise carriage. Just in case you trip or your hand leaves the handle bar, the strap links you to the stroller so it can't get away.
As with any vehicle, you'll want to test drive the stroller. Many stores do allow customers to run around with a floor model outside for a few minutes, just to get the feel of the thing. Moreover, although many strollers' handle bars adjust to the height of the person pushing them, you'll want to make sure the stroller you like can accommodate any height factors. For instance, if you are 5'2" and your husband is 6'2", and you'll both be using the jogging stroller, you'll want to make sure that you'll both be comfortable.
Equipped with all these tips, you'll be better prepared to purchase the best jogging stroller for your family's needs. Have fun running!