Baby on Board: Jogging Strollers

Jogging strollers are a great choice for moms and dads who want to stay active.

“I couldn't always get to the gym, but I was always able to get exercise with our baby jogger,” says Victoria, a mother of two daughters. She jogs with the stroller on weekdays and takes it to the beach or to trails at a nearby state park on the weekends. “The fresh air is great for all of us,” she says.

Fresh air is only one of many benefits of hitting the road. After giving birth, exercise can help raise energy levels while improving overall health and well-being.

Jogging strollers are lightweight and easy to push and guide. Designed for runners, they are built with plenty of leg room, so they will not shorten your stride. You do not need to be a runner to use one, though. Many people who walk enjoy their ease of use as well.

Size

You can find joggers to fit more than one child. Most jogging strollers have a weight limit of about 75 pounds. This means you can bring your child along until about age 4.

Cost

On the downside, jogging strollers are bigger than most strollers. This makes them harder to store and take with you. They are also pricey. Expect to pay $300 or more for a single model. Mini jogging strollers are less expensive, but their smaller size and wheels mean a bumpier ride and less room for baby.

Some stroller companies also offer less expensive 3-wheelers, but they are not often built for jogging. Plastic materials and small wheels keep the price down, but they often do not last long and are not as comfortable for caregivers or babies.

What to Look For

Not all jogging strollers are the same. Here are some tips on what to look for:

  • Look for a 5-point safety harness. A harness secures your child around the shoulders and waist and between the legs.
  • Ask about extras. Things like sun canopies and carrying baskets are not always included. Think about the weather where you live, too. A rain canopy offers wind and sun protection and may be worth the extra money.
  • Check the brakes. A handbrake that works like those on a bicycle is typical of most models. You squeeze the handle and rubber grippers put pressure on the wheels to slow or stop. Because a handbrake is not always effective on inclines, an extra parking brake that stops the front wheel by engaging a sprocket can be nice. Also, look for a stroller that comes with a leash.
  • Test the handlebar height. Look for a bar that meets at or just below your waist. Walk and run with it to make sure the height is right for you. Think about getting a stroller with an adjustable handlebar, especially if you will be sharing the stroller with a partner who is taller or shorter.
  • Determine wheel size. Most companies give you a choice of wheel sizes: 12, 16, and 20 inches. The bigger the wheel, the smoother baby's ride and the easier the stroller will be to push. If you will be sticking to smooth pavement, 16-inch wheels are a good choice. Serious runners and trail walkers should opt for the big ones. They soak up bumps and travel well over all kinds of surfaces—grass, gravel, sand, bark mulch, and even snow. Keep in mind that bigger wheels add bulk and cost.
  • Choose your rim material. Alloy is lighter, but also more costly. It is a good fit for those who are training seriously and going long distances where every ounce counts. Others may prefer steel rims.
  • Put it together. Assembly tools should raise concern as too much work may be involved. The front wheel should have a quick-release mechanism so you do not have to unbolt it, and the back wheels should also come on and off with ease. Before you buy, ask the salesperson to take it apart and put it together for you. Then try it yourself.
  • Look for added value. If you also cycle, you might want to think about getting a convertible jogging stroller/bike trailer. Models with three large-size wheels work better for jogging than those that convert with a smaller front wheel.

Take the stroller for a test drive before you buy. Borrow a stroller from a friend to try it out, or jog around the store to make sure the stroller is a good fit for you and your baby.

Safety

Before you hit the road, there are a few simple safety steps that will help your baby stays safe. Babies can control their head around 6 months of age. This is a good time to go for a jog. Very young babies will like seats that lean back and a rolled towel or car seat neck roll for head support. Use the leash in case the stroller gets away from you. As your child gets bigger, make sure little hands cannot reach the wheels where they could get rubbed or snagged in the spokes.

Look for ASTM International certification to make sure that the stroller meets safety guidelines. Keep in mind that not all manufacturers use ASTM. You can also access safety and recall information from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission website.

After you pick out your stroller, start planning your jogging or walking routes. The activity will be healthy for both you and your baby.

RESOURCES:

American College of Sports Medicine
http://acsm.org

American Council on Exercise
https://www.acefitness.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine
http://casem-acmse.org

Health Canada
http://www.canada.ca

REFERENCES:

ASTM F833-19 standard consumer safety performance specification for carriages and strollers. ASTM International website. Available at: https://www.astm.org/Standards/F833.htm. Accessed June 22, 2021.

Wellness on: new ACE research reveals calorie burn and body benefits of walking with a baby stroller. American Council on Exercise website. Available at: https://www.acefitness.org/getfit/studies/WellnessOnWheels.pdf. Accessed June 22, 2021.

Last reviewed June 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board  Last Updated: 6/22/2021