A lot of runners out there enjoy not only the fitness benefits, but also the time spent in relative solitude while they’re out on a run. However, for a growing number of people there comes a time when running transitions from a solo act to a family affair. With an array of products unheard of a generation ago even the tiniest members of the family are coming along for the ride. While these items can make life easier and more enjoyable for both parent and child, they can be the cause of pain and injury if not used properly.
There is a full spectrum of options in the world of jogging strollers these days. Here are some rules of thumb to consider while finding the best fit for you.
- Make sure the handlebars of the jogger are both large and height-adjustable, so that they fit comfortably into your hands for complete control.
- Handbrakes and a locking mechanism are a necessity for safe maneuvering at jogging speeds.
- Look for a jogger with a good shoulder harness to keep the child secure. Always check with your pediatrician to make sure your child has developed the strength to ride safely in a jogging stroller.
- Large, bicycle-style tires offer more control and stability – learn how to check air pressure and have a pump on hand to keep flat tires rolling.
- A screen over the front of the jogger adds to its safety by deflecting stray flying objects.
It is always a good idea to try out any new jogging stroller a few times before you have your child with you. Getting comfortable adding the stroller to your routine can take a few tries and it is easier to take the time to adjust all of the settings to your liking without the added stress of keeping a little one entertained.
Finally, don’t forget about your own health and comfort. Factor in the added resistance of the stroller & child (or children) when setting your distance & speed goals. If possible, alternating jogging-stroller and solo runs can be a great way to vary to your training and keep you on track.
Kaiser Permanente Centers for Complementary Medicine www.kpcm.org