A jogging stroller is a beautiful thing. It lets you get outside to blow off steam and lulls your little angel to sleep. It can also provide you with a fantastic way to squeeze in some exercise between peeling off your 12th milk-stained shirt of the day and frantically Googling "infant reflux".
But when you're out on the sidewalks trying to convince yourself that working out is better than eating mini-Twix and watching "Teen Mom", are you thinking about your form and good posture? What about your baby's spine? Is it ok for them to bump and thump over uneven ground? Could your efforts actually be compromising your health and maybe even your baby's safety?
Your plate's a bit full when you have a baby. Sleep training, feedings, solids, cloth diapers, baby slings, car seats, tummy time, breast pumps, formula, rash ointment, safe detergent, baby proofing, sunscreen, baby yoga, swimming lessons, fevers, teething, sitting, crawling, pulling up, gurgles, belly laughs, babbling, gummy smiles, and the sweetest kisses you've ever known. Correct posture might be one of the last things on your mind. And I very distinctly remember always having a dull ache in my low back after returning from a run with the baby jogger. I chalked it up to the aches and pains that accompany a post birth body, but could my jogging stroller posture have been the culprit?
I recently spoke to Dr. Christine Anderson, DC, a Los Angeles chiropractor specializing in pediatrics and pregnancy, to get the scoop on improving posture and perfect jogging stroller form. Here are her tips:
- Keep Your Back Straight: "The ideal position for the torso while running is to keep your back straight while stretching yourself up to your full height."
- Lean Slightly Forward: "Your entire body should lean forward slightly from the hips. There is a tendency to lean too far forward and hunch over from the shoulders while pushing a stroller; this tilts the pelvis forward and puts additional pressure on the lower back."
- Don't Hunch: "Hunching over also enhances a kyphotic posture which prevents proper breathing, decreasing oxygen to your working muscles and brain!"
- Adjust to the Proper Height: "Because you can't swing your arms when pushing a stroller, you are more likely to create tension in your neck and shoulders. To help facilitate proper posture, the height of the stroller should be such that your elbows are bent to a 90 degree angle; if the stroller is too short, purchase an extension."
- Buy an Actual Jogging Stroller: "A stroller made for jogging is essential to protect your child's spine from vibration. These strollers typically place children in an upright position; therefore it is important that you do not use this stroller until your child has enough neck and core strength."
- Wait Until Baby is Old Enough: "To be safe, I recommend waiting until your child is four to six months before road running and eight months before off road running."
Now you can safely take your perfect posture, your tall-enough jogging stroller, and your at least 4 month old baby and hit the road!
Find Sarah at thisfitmom.com
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Image: Serge Melki