So I have been missing my runs lately. Kids are crazy busy with sports and squeezing in a run is hard. I am missingthe days when I could throw my daughter in the jogging stroller and go. As I watch moms run with their jogging strollers I am filled with jealousy. The feeling of a super hard workout pushing my kid, her 50 pounds of snacks and the stroller.The subsequent freedom of running when I could run without a stroller. I felt faster and a bit stronger. And then….
I suddenly see the list of side effects that jogging with a stroller can create. When you walk, jog or run a lot with a jogging stroller, you are drastically changing the mechanics of how you move. Normally when you walk or run, yourtorso rotates to help balance the rotation of your pelvis with each stride. Rotation of the torso allows for your abdominal wall to freely expand on inhalation and recoil on exhalation. A slight pitch forward of your body helps with propulsion. When you use a jogging stroller you eliminate the slight pitch forward, torso rotation and a true freedom of breath. I watch people either hunched forward pushing the beast of an object in front of them or almost overly upright. Whether you hold the stroller with one arm (or two), you are eliminating the normal trunk and pelvic rotation that occurs with running. Because you are pushing, your abdominal muscles are likely to be actively stabilizing the entire time. Well at least that is a plus, right? Well, not so much. When your abdominal muscles are on overdrive during a run, it is changing the way the body is creating and distributing internal pressure. Hello back pain or pelvic floor dysfunction! Hello altered mechanics when you walk or run without a stroller. And to really fast forward, a lack of trunk rotation is correlated with an increased risk of falls as we age!
So now what?! This is how our generation has and continues to survive the early years of our children’s lives. Clearly giving up running or the jogger is a no go. However, how great would it be if you could really learn how your body should move so that when you aren’t pushing a stroller, you can revert to the pre-jogging stroller way of moving? How great would it be if you had all of the information necessary to make the best choice for your body?
As I write this I want to assure you that you don’t need to give up running with your jogging stroller. Please, if you need the stroller to get out and move, do so. Many of us need it for sanity's sake as much as physical wellness. I write this to educate about the plusses and minuses of the jogging stroller. I write this to educate. Knowing how your body works and why dysfunction occurs is powerful information.
When you can, run without the stroller and be aware of how your body is moving. Pumping your arms is not the same as rotating your torso. When you are using the stroller, be sure to try and allow your belly to expand when you inhale. Be aware of back pain, incontinence or hip pain. Don’t wait to address it! The longer a problem exists, the longer it can take to remedy the situation!
As we finally embark on some good weather, go out and enjoy your runs. Keep your mechanics in mind and breathe!
Until we can run with this form , we will do the best we can!
Is a mom of two, life long exercise & nutrition enthusiast, women's health specialist & physical therapist.