Your daily stroller habit can do more than keep you sane: It could also be the key to getting in shape. Pushing a jogging stroller burns 5 to 8 percent more calories than regular running does (provided you maintain your typical pace), reports a recent study from Seattle Pacific University. A two-handed grip, as opposed to a one-handed grip or the push-and-chase method, is the most efficient stance. Aim for your stroll to feel a couple of notches harder than a regular jog and you’ll hit your “sweat” spot. Another way to ensure a serious burn (and make some new pals)? Roll on over to a stroller-based workout class, like Fit4Mom’s Stroller Strides class or Baby Boot Camp, both available across the country. If there’s no class near you, search for “stroller fitness” on Meetup. The site lists classes by zip code.
Plus, any stroll can be a prime time for fitting in Pilates strengthening. “When you incorporate the moving stroller, every move you do becomes a deep-core exercise, much like working out on a reformer,” says Jenn Seracuse, director of Pilates at Flex Studios, in New York City, who discovered the firming potential of her stroller when pushing her son, Van. Try Seracuse’s go-to moves to firm major muscles once your doc has cleared you for exercise. (And don’t worry: As long as you use a full-size stroller—not a lightweight or an umbrella style—your baby’s ride won’t tip over while you do these moves.)
For Back, Abs, and Butt. Stand with both hands gripping handlebar. Slowly bring left knee up to chest, then extend left leg back at hip height and press stroller forward until body is parallel to the ground. Pulse left leg upward three times, then sweep it out to the side, keeping hips, spine, and stroller stable, before bringing knee to chest again. Do eight reps. Switch legs and repeat.
For Abs, Hips, and Legs. Stand a few feet behind the handlebar with your back to your baby, and extend left leg behind you to rest top of foot lightly on bottom crossbar. Slowly bend right knee 90 degrees, lowering into lunge position and pressing stroller away from you with left foot. Return to start. Do eight reps. Switch legs and repeat.
For Core and Arms. Start on the ground in modified push-up position (on knees) just to left side of stroller and partially behind it; hold on to lower part of stroller frame with right hand. Maintain your body position as you roll stroller forward and back with right arm (bending and extending right elbow) for 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.