I recently took my jogging stroller out for a spin for the first time. With an April 2010 baby, she was never big enough to go for runs last summer and fall. But when the weather finally broke this spring, my 20-pound daughter was able to join me. So I dusted off the jogger, put an organic graham cracker and sippy of water in her hands, and headed through the neighborhood on my usual three-mile route.
The run was fairly typical – mentally I’m a much stronger runner than I am physically. I know I can, and I tell myself “Just make it to that mailbox. Good job. Now make it to that shrub,” but my legs are always back talking!
However, I wasn’t a full mile in to the run when my upper arms started throbbing. I thought maybe there was something wrong with my circulation, not being used to grasping the stroller handles while running. By the time I made it home by legs and arms were feeling the burn, but I couldn’t figure out why.
The next day I asked our resident fitness expert and blog editor, Kelly Turner, what the heck was going on. It was a double dose of good news – my circulation was fine, and I was getting an upper-body workout.
“Controlling a jogging stroller, plus the weight of a baby, takes a lot of upper body strength,” she said. “While you aren’t working your arms through a full range of motion, like you would while curling a dumbbell, you are isometrically working the muscles. What this means is that the muscles are contracted constantly to steer, exhausting the muscles, even if your arms aren’t visibly moving.”
So a word to all you get-fit mamas out there – push those tots in a jogging stroller to increase your calorie burn! Why just run when you can run and work your forearms, chest, shoulders, and biceps? You’ll increase your physical endurance with each run, and increase your upper body muscular endurance (something we all need to wrestle those babies.)
Kelly advises that you shouldn’t dupe yourself in to thinking such an act replaces your “real upper body workout.” In fact, we’ve got 5 good reasons women should be lifting weights, in addition to a regular running regimen.
Like most moms, my schedule doesn’t have a lot of room for me time; me time that equates to a workout. But I fit them in as often as I possibly can, and when I find out I can get even more burn out of a single workout, then that’s music to my ears.