How do I find a good stroller, and how do I use it correctly when running?
It's crucial to choose the right stroller. Because strollers can last for years, it is a major investment, unlike other products that your child will grow out of quickly. Look for a stroller that is very easy to push; can be set-up and folded-up with just one hand; easily fits in the car; and is the right height for you. You don't want to have to lean over to push it. Also look for wheels that rotate, making it easier to navigate around obstacles, but can be locked straight for long runs.
To use a stroller properly, follow these form tips:
- Take inventory of your posture from your head to toes. Stand up straight, with head directly over your shoulders, and your shoulders pulled down and back, not curving forward.
- Lead with your sternum, as if a string was attached to your chest and pulling you forward.
- Keep your abs engaged, without sucking in, and keep your hips square to the stroller.
- Run naturally. The right jogging stroller should allow you to maintain a natural running stride.
- Hold your wrists in neutral alignment. It's easy to bend your wrists while running with a stroller, but that can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Instead, keep your wrists relaxed and straight.
What's the best way to get kids excited about fitness?
Kids model what we do. When they see their mom being active and exercising, they will want to do it too. At the end of each Stroller Strides class, kids are invited out of the strollers during the abs and stretching segment of the workout. Many of the kids mimic the exercises their moms do during this time because they think it's fun.
I run races, from 5Ks to half marathons, and my husband takes my kids to the finish line so they can see me run and be inspired by it. Now my 8-year-old wants to run a race and we're making running fun for him.
But you don't have to use traditional exercises like sit-ups and push-ups to get your kids to be active. Just play with them. The more often we use play as exercise the better. Play tag, hopscotch, hula-hoop or jump rope with them, or make an obstacle course in your backyard. I take my kids to a soccer field and set up games for them. Most important, make it fun. Children are never too young to be encouraged to be active. Just like us, kids need to be active most, if not all, days of the week.
Lisa Druxman is the CEO and founder of Stroller Strides. To take a free introductory class and learn more about the program, visit strollerstrides.com.