By Emily Kulkus
I’ll never forget the first time I put my infant daughter in the jogging stroller. It was probably too soon but I was itching to get outside and I knew the fresh air would be good for us.
She was probably two months old and it was pretty cold outside. Luckily I bundled her up in several layers and a snowsuit. And I say luckily because as soon as I put her in the jogging stroller – a hand-me-down from a relative – it collapsed flat on the ground. I had forgotten to insert the pins that secured the front bars to the front wheel!!! So my tiny daughter was now lying flat on her back on top of the now flattened jogging stroller. (Another Mom of the year moment for me for sure.) She was a little stunned but completely unharmed. And both of my kids have loved the jogging stroller ever since. (I mean, it’s pretty good to be a kid in a stroller: fresh air, you’re in a comfy seat and someone is pushing you around. What’s not to love?)
And I know it’s good for me, too. Being able to get a workout in with one of them is so helpful and it always feels like I’m getting a little bit more of a workout in when I’m pushing a stroller, so that’s a bonus. This morning on a 3-mile run with my little guy I decided it’s time to find out just how much more of a workout I’m actually getting.
After some research, I found a fantastic article on InsideScience.org, quoting two biologists (one of whom also worked in the bio-mechanics lab at Brooks Running) who last year researched “the rigors of stroller running” at the American College of Sports Medicine in Boston. By observing a field of stroller-pushing runners, the biologists observed three styles: “one-handed, two-handed and push-and-chase.” (I’m a pretty regular one-hander, how about you?)
And here’s what they found: “Pushing the stroller with two hands increases the amount of calories burned by about 5 percent, pushing with one hand increases it by about 6 percent, and the push-and-chase method increases it by about 8 percent. Alternatively, runners could lag behind their usual pace, but still burn the same amount of energy as they would when running faster without the stroller.”
I’ll take that percentage! And now that I know the push-and-chase method burns even more, I’m going to work that into my runs more often.
You can read the full article, which includes a calorie calculator, here. And if you’re walking with a stroller, which is still great exercise, you can find more information about how much more you’re burning through this article on Livestrong.com.
Now if I can only figure out how many more calories I burn when I sing "Twinkle, Twinkle" while running…
Emily Kulkus is marketing coordinator at Fleet Feet Sports, Syracuse. Reach her at email@example.com.