Keeping fit while being a parent is no easy feat. Exercising can be tough to fit into your newly created routine with a baby, and every activity is more fun when you can include your kiddo (and avoid paying for a babysitter). That’s why strollers that let you get healthy exercise with baby on board are so popular! Whether you’re planning long walks in the woods or just signed up for a Stroller Strides class, you need a stroller that’s designed for heavy-duty use. All-terrain strollers and jogging strollers are close cousins in the stroller market, but they’re not quite the same – this guide should help you decide which athletic stroller style is for you!
While you may love using your Snap N Go for daily trips to the grocery store, those little plastic wheels aren’t designed to go anywhere that’s off the beaten path. And isn’t it gorgeous outside right now, with the leaves changing color and the brisk air coming back? October is hiking season, and if you want to hike, you need an all-terrain stroller. These industrious and hardy strollers will take you over every root or dirt path with no problem at all.
How can you tell if a stroller is an “all-terrain” stroller? Just check out the wheels! All-terrain stroller wheels are bigger than regular stroller wheels, often around 10″ or 12″, and often have treads. Some all-terrain strollers have air tires, which provide a beautifully smooth ride but will need periodic maintenance – pumping up tires and occasionall replacing inner tubes. (Never use a gas compressor! Just a bike pump will suffice.) Other all-terrain strollers have rubber-coated foam tires with a deep, tough tread – they also provide a smooth ride with far less work on your part. Either way, these big tires can bounce over bumps and plow through sand, snow, and playground mulch.
And you’ve got quite the selection to choose from: if you want a really stylish stroller that can handle any surface you push it over, you can try out the stunning Bugaboo Buffalo or the unique Bumbleride Indie 4. I’m also a big booster for the Jane Trider Extreme, which combines the smoothest suspension with decades of experience in craftsmanship. No matter what sort of terrain you throw at these beefy strollers, they will hold up to it with ease and you’ll wonder how you ever did without one!
Hiking is fun, but if you’re a busy-busy-busy parent, or just the type of gal who likes to get right back into training for races as soon as your baby can hold her head up, then a jogging stroller is just the thing for you!
You can spot a jogger by the even-more-gigantic wheels: they typically sport 16″ wheels with enclosed ball bearings in the wheels, which give them the smoothest possible push. Some joggers on the market have the front wheel permanently fixed, but we’ve found that they’re not a good fit for how families typically use their jogging stroller: even if jogging is the main activity you’re going to use it for, some days it will wind up at the grocery store with you, and that’s when you need a swiveling front wheel (fellow shoppers and end-cap displays will thank you). A swivel-wheel jogger typically has a method of locking the wheel in place for jogging; the best ones also have a screw that is used to “track” the wheel. That means that if you feel like your jogger is pulling to the right while the wheel is locked forward, you just turn the screw a couple turns and it’ll be all fixed!
A few other features add convenience for athletic parents: for instance, the Baby Jogger Summit X3 Jogging Stroller has a hand brake which is essential in hilly areas, and the BOB Revolution FLEX features an adjustable handlebar so you and your differently-heighted spouse can both enjoy a run around the neighborhood with comfort and ease! Always make sure to check with your pediatrician before running with your child. Usually, a child must be at least 6 months before you even consider running with them in the stroller, but it’s always a good idea to check with the doc first. And while our favorite joggers will allow you to snap on an infant car seat with an adapter, do NOT run with your stroller in that mode – it changes the way the stroller balances, and your baby is unlikely to be ready for jogging at that point.
Of course, ultimately, we can talk endlessly about how smooth the ride is on these strollers and how solid their construction is, but the best way to decide what stroller is for you is to come in and give it a try! Come to any Magic Beans location and chat with our stroller geeks – and if you have any questions, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!