Fitness Articles

How to Choose a Jogging Stroller

Features Worth Paying For

So you've been cleared for exercise after the birth of your baby and you're anxious to get outside and get moving! But who's going to watch your little one? If running or walking is your thing, you can take baby along in a jogging stroller. You'll get the exercise you crave, and baby gets a scenic tour of the neighborhood, with some fresh air to boot.

Jogging strollers have become more popular in recent years, motivating manufacturers to create even more models. This gives the consumer a great variety to choose from, but actually choosing which stroller to purchase can be a daunting task. Here are some features to consider when choosing a jogging stroller:

Wheel Size
In the world of wheels, size matters. A true jogging stroller has three large wheels: one in front and two in the back. The larger wheels mean a smoother ride because there is less rolling resistance. Wheels come in 12-inch, 16-inch, and 20+ sizes. To decide which size is best for you, think about how you will use the stroller.
  • 12-inch wheels are best for walking on smooth surfaces, like sidewalks, bike paths, and indoors.
  • 16-inch wheels are great for frequent outdoor walking or jogging on fairly smooth surfaces, with light off-road use (like cutting across a grassy field).
  • 20-inch (and larger) wheels are made for frequent long-distance running and off-road use.
Alloy or Steel
Look for alloy wheels and hubs, rather than steel. Steel is cheaper but is heavier and has a tendency to rust. If you have to get steel and live in a "salty" place (winter road salt, ocean salt), rinse the wheels and hubs after strolling to prevent rust.

Front Wheel: To Swivel or Not To Swivel?
Most jogging strollers have a fixed front wheel, one that doesn't turn. This is ideal for jogging, because this feature provides the stability and straight tracking that you need. But if you're using the stroller at the mall for example, a fixed wheel may become a nuisance when you have to tilt the stroller back onto its rear wheels to make a turn.

Manufacturers have created a "hybrid" jogging stroller with a swiveling front wheel, which boasts superior maneuverability for those indoor situations. However, a hybrid isn't the best choice for everyone. The swiveling front wheel is usually 12" or smaller, and although the wheel can be locked in position, the small size decreases the stroller's handling abilities—especially outdoors on rough terrain. So, if you plan to do a lot of running (or off-roading), consider buying both a true fixed-wheel jogging stroller and a traditional stroller for trips to the mall. But if you just jog occasionally, a hybrid makes sense. Think about how you will use the stroller when making this decision.
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About The Author

Liza Barnes Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.

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