Getting active with a toddler in tow can be a challenge, but can also have many benefits for both mom and baby. Starting to run after having a baby can be a great way to get back into shape, boost your mental health and improve your toddler’s awareness of the big wide world.
As we all know, toddlers hit the ground running from the minute they wake each day and need a ful time watch to keep them occupied and out of mischief. Let’s jump into how you can start running as a mom of a toddler.
What are the benefits of running with a baby?
Taking your toddler outdoors for a run in the stroller can be a great way to accomplish multiple outcomes for both you and your child.
Running outdoors can tire out your bub
Babies are naturally inquisitive and love a new change of scenery. Letting your child get some fresh air while jogging round the neighbourhood can be a great way tire out baby. Changing up your running route within your neighbourhood can be a great way to show your toddler something different each time you go out.
Another way to help baby burn off some more energy is to stop at the park during or after your run. This will definitely help your child be more ready for their nap when it’s time.
Natural light exposure can help your baby sleep better
Exposure to natural light can help your baby sleep better at night. Sunlight boosts Vitamin D which helps to regulate your baby’s circadian rhythm and in turn, produces melatonin to help your baby sleep at night. So ultimately, as a mom you are able to get your exercise, and the chance of a better
Running can boost your mental health
Mothering a young child is very demanding and challenging. It’s important as a mom to make time for exercise, and this isn’t easy when you have a little one who is constantly depending on you for everything! Taking your baby running in a stroller is a great way to make sure you get a break from
the usual home routine.
Getting out of the house and into natural sunlight is a great way to boost your mental health, reduce stress and help reset your mood.
Running can improve your health and wellbeing
We all know that regular exercise, especially running can improve your physical health. Making time for exercise is important to stay healthy, and for many moms the only way to do this is by taking their baby along for the ride too! Exercise has many benefits, some of which include:
– Aid weight management
Reduce the risk of chronic diseases
– Improve memory and brain function
– Lower blood pressure and improve heart health
– Improve your quality of sleep
What do you need to start running with a toddler?
Let’s not overcomplicate what you need to start pram running, otherwise you may never get going! It is best to start with what you have and slowly build your gear as you need. However, there are a few things we’d recommend:
1. Good quality running shoes
Having a pair of supportive running shoes is essential to having a good run. Make sure your shoes fit well and have good grip for while you are pounding the sidewalk. In today’s market you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a pair of quality running shoes. You also don’t need to have the latest model or flashiest looking pair of sneakers, but you do need to run in more than just your slip-on sandals.
2. A quality stroller or running pram
We don’t recommend going out and buying a specific running stroller unless you are serious about running, and plan to run multiple times a week for extended periods of time. Start with the stroller that you have, and take it slow to start with so you get a feel for how your stroller handles when
running. If you decide running with a stroller is for you, you should do your research on the best strollers for running and pick one that suits your needs and budget.
3. Comfortable clothing
It is common for your body shape to change after having a baby. You may find you need to invest in a few new pieces of clothing to support you while you run.
A good quality sports bra is always a good idea to help you feel your best while out stroller running with your baby. High waisted, supportive compression leggings can also support your pelvic floor and improve your circulation while running.
And let’s admit it, shopping for activewear is everyone’s favourite past time, and a few pieces of clothing can also inspire you to get back into exercising again.
4. Snacks, baby!
If you’re new to motherhood, you will find out pretty fast that snacks are the ultimate key to toddler happiness. Simply put, snacks help you get stuff done! Most toddlers are happy when they are munching, so make sure you are prepared with a load of snacks to keep toddler entertained while
they are sitting in the stroller. Our favourite snacks to take while stroller jogging include:
– Bananas, apples or other fruit that can be held easily!
– Granola bars
– Pouches of yoghurt or pureed fruit
Ok, let’s just put this one on the table. As a mom, you need resilience every day whether you are exercising or not! With a toddler, not too many things go to plan. It’s important to know that your run might turn out differently to what you planned, but having resilience will help you to not get too concerned and know you can always try again tomorrow.
5 steps for success while stroller jogging with your toddler
1. Start small
Like when starting any form of exercise, it’s important to start small and gradually build up. Jogging with a stroller can take a while to get used to. For example, running with one arm holding onto a stroller handle can feel different and also uses different muscles to running solo.
Your first run with a jogging stroller should be short. You could also try intervals such as running for 1 minute and walking for 2 minutes, and repeating. This will help you to gradually build up your base fitness so you can add more mileage to your stroller runs as time progresses.
2. Make a plan for your route
Running with a jogging stroller needs preplanning as you are limited with where you can go. Consider whether your route will include stairs or sharp gutters and try to avoid these! You are best to avoid busy roads and intersections, and while you have a little one onboard it is always safest to
stick to sidewalks and footpaths. Most toddlers want to stop at every park they see, so you may need to avoid parks during your run if this may cause an issue!
Map out a route on paper or in your head, and know the length that it will be before you leave home. This way, you have a plan for your many kilometres you’d like to run and don’t need to think while out and about with a toddler who can distract your thoughts.
3. Take snacks and toys
Snacks or your child’s favourite toy can help you go that little bit further on your run, after your toddler has decided he’s had enough. Taking toys such small cars, doodle pads or books can be a great way to entertain your child once they are tired of watching the scenery.
Remember to keep a watch for any dropped toys, and don’t take anything valuable that could get lost! Some parents like to attach favourite teddies to the pram with a shoelace or bungee strap so it can’t fall out of the stroller.
4. Time your long run during nap time
Another great tip many mums use for stroller running with kids is to run during their toddler’s nap time. With your child asleep, you can usually run interrupted without having to stop for dropped toys, snacks or to answer endless questions. Running while your kid is asleep gives you a longer time
to exercise. The trade off however, is your toddler is raring to go again once you are home, sweaty and ready to rest!
5. Join a support group
Another way to help you get into running is to find yourself a friend or group to motivate you and keep you inspired to run. You could find a running buddy or fellow mom to start your exercise journey with. There may be moms’ groups and running clubs in your local area or on Facebook that you can join. Sharing a passion with like-minded people is a great way to stay inspired and help you to persevere with stroller running.
In conclusion, running with a stroller is a fantastic way to help you reach your exercise goals while being a mother. Start small to begin, and gradually build up as you gain strength. Don’t set your expectations too high and take each run as it comes. And finally, enjoy your journey back to a healthy body with your busy toddler!
Charli is an energetic mother of two high powered kids, who loves the great outdoors. Since having children, Charli has made it her mission to find ways to get active while including the whole family.
Currently her favourites are taking the kids running in their double jogging pram, and bush walks in the mountains. Charli is the founder of OutThereMothers.com and loves sharing her passion and knowledge for exercise to other mums through this platform.