Running or jogging are great ways to get back to fitness after you’ve given birth, but if you’re planning to run with your baby’s buggy or pushchair, follow these top tips for success.
If you’re a mum of small children it can be difficult to find the time and inclination for exercise, beyond chasing around after the kids.
So why not set yourself a challenge to have something to aim for? Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life is the perfect opportunity to boost your motivation, because by taking part and raising money you will be helping to fund research to beat 200 types of cancer affecting men, women and children.
Preparing for the big day needn’t mean spending hours of precious time and money in the gym. Gentle exercise such as taking your little one for a walk will help you to prepare for Race for Life and has positive benefits for both you and your child.
However, if running with your child’s buggy is going to be part of your training, there are some simple steps you can follow to make sure things go smoothly.
Fitness trainer Nicky Lawson from Kiqplan, Race for Life’s official training partner, offers her advice:
How old should my child be before I run with them?
Advice varies but it is generally recommended that babies should be able to sit up and hold their head properly before you start running with them, so around six to nine months of age.
Should I buy a specialist pushchair?
If you specifically want to run with your baby or toddler buy a specialist running stroller suitable for the terrain that you want to run on with a wheel size of 16 inches or larger. Some are designed for off-road running, while others cater for smooth pavement running, so think about where you live and research the best buggy for where you want to run.
Stability and comfort for you and your child are important, so make sure the buggy has suitable suspension and shock absorption too. Also try to buy one with a handbrake and ideally a sun screen for running on sunny days.
Wear suitable footwear, make sure you drink enough water before and after any physical activity - particularly if you’re still breastfeeding - and remember to warm up and cool down.
How should I run?
Posture when running with a buggy is very important. Have a light grip on the handlebars and use a wrist strap so that the buggy is attached to you. If the front wheel of your buggy swivels you should lock it into a fixed position for stability. Make sure you run with your chest out, shoulder blades back and down and you are in an upright/tall position.
Your buggy’s handle bars should sit at the right height for you so you are not stooping over, which could lead to injuries and lower back pain. Keep your elbows soft, not locked out, and when running, keep your core drawn in to support your lower back.
Park or pavement?
For younger babies, start with running in your local park if it has footpaths, or quieter roads where you might feel most comfortable.
Running through the middle of town on a busy shopping day is not going to be much fun for you or the people trying to get out of your way! If possible try to run in areas that are not ‘traffic heavy’ to avoid pollution and obvious hazards like crossing busy roads.
Is there any evidence to show babies enjoy being in the buggy more if it’s going at speed?
Babies are individuals, some babies are more likely to enjoy ‘running’ in their buggy than others. Most babies enjoy motion and tend to fall asleep during car journeys or out in the pushchair so you could time your runs just before nap time so baby sleeps while you are running.
As they get older (toddler stage) they may enjoy running in the stroller so much they want to be awake and see what is going on.
How long should I run for, before my baby gets bored?
This is down to individual babies and may be subject to their age and how long a nap time they have. Younger babies are more likely to be content in the buggy on a run for longer than an active toddler who wants to get out and play.
Make it social
Having a shared goal can be really motivating and can help to keep you on track, so why not give your social-life a workout too and sign-up for Race for Life with a group of your friends and train together.
Kiqplan’s Race for Life app uses information from your smart phone or activity tracker to create a personalised training plan, send you workouts, step targets, nutritional advice and motivational tips. Free training plans for different levels of ability are also available on the Race for Life website. To enter Race for Life visit raceforlife.org