Can stroller running help me bond with my toddler?

It depends. Get tips on how to lace up and hit the ground running here.

A mother pushes a stroller while jogging


Running is one of the most beneficial forms of exercise. It can improve everything from lung health to bone strength.1

Finding the right moment to go out for a solo run can be challenging as a parent. Balancing personal time and parenting time can feel like a juggling act. Sometimes, you have to get creative.

Many moms, dads, and caretakers choose to take their young children along for the ride. Stroller running can be a great way to get exercise while keeping kids entertained.2 However, this activity comes with compromises.

If you’re thinking about taking up stroller running, here’s what you need to know:

What are the benefits of stroller running?

Stroller running has countless health benefits, including:

  • Increases stamina: Strollers are like pushing a weight in front of you while running. They add extra resistance, which can build up your stamina for solo runs.3
  • Increases VO2 max rates: VO2 max is the maximum rate of oxygen your body uses during exercise. This measure is a common way athletes measure their fitness and heart health.2
  • Increases calorie burn: Since stroller runs take more effort, you can burn more calories. Some researchers report that running with a stroller while pushing with both hands boosts calorie burn by 5%!4

When it comes to mental health and parenting, stroller running can also help you bond with your child. To them, you aren’t just going on a run. You are going on an adventure together. There is also power in leading by example. Prioritizing an active lifestyle from a young age can encourage them to move their bodies, too.

Overall, stroller running can be an ideal addition to your workout if you:

  • Have easy access to safe running spots
  • Have a child that is capable of sitting upright in a stroller for an extended period of time
  • Have a space to store a running stroller, which can be a challenge in NYC
  • Can stroller run safely without physical risks or complications

When looking at the benefits of stroller running, it’s easy to see why so many parents and caretakers choose this form of exercise. However, it’s critical to get cleared by your doctor first, especially if you are a postpartum person. Your body goes through a lot during pregnancy. Many things change. Even your joints become more flexible, which can increase injury risk.5 Before hitting the pavement, your doctor should help you choose the best movement options for your own body.

I’m ready to try out stroller running. What should I keep in mind?

In many ways, stroller running is a unique form of exercise. It can take getting used to, but it isn’t impossible. Keep these tips in mind before you lace up:

  • Start slow: This is a new way of moving the body, even for experienced runners. It’s also considered more challenging than solo running. It’s okay to stop for a breather and walk!
  • Think about your form: Good form prevents injury. Make sure to keep your spine upright, avoid leaning forward, and keep the stroller base close to your body. For most people, the handlebars should sit at elbow height while your arms are bent at a right angle.5
  • Safety first: Always wear the safety gear that comes with running strollers. Runaway strollers can be a dangerous situation for you, the child, and even passersby. Choose routes with well-maintained sidewalks or walking paths and avoid heavy traffic areas.
  • Pack smarter: On a stroller walk, it’s common to want to bring gear for every possible situation. But when you run, all of those items are extra weight you need to push uphill. Carry just the essentials that you and your child need to be comfortable.

There are lots of ways to adapt to stroller running. What works for one person might not be great for another. Above all else, make sure to listen to your body. Only you can know what works best for you!

How can I tell if stroller running is right for me?

There are a lot of factors to consider. As mentioned before, one of the most important steps is to talk to your doctor first. Everyone’s path to fitness is different. Getting an expert’s opinion is essential for safety. It also helps you start your journey with confidence.

Other considerations include your own personal needs and goals:

  • Be realistic: Stroller running can be fun, but it can also be frustrating. Think about what exercise means to you. Is it a way to destress? Connect with others? The only time you get for yourself? If stroller running connects to why you exercise, it could be easier to integrate it into your workout routine. If it doesn’t, it’s okay to consider other workout options.
  • Invest (with a budget in mind): It’s easy to get carried away with all the bells and whistles if you’re just starting out. If this is your first time using a running stroller, look at models that are comfortable and safe above all else. You can always upgrade to a super deluxe version later. Also, make sure you understand the manufacturer’s return policy. Some have a money back guarantee—but could still charge you a pretty penny to ship it back.
  • Safe spaces: Do you have easy access to quieter streets, smooth sidewalks, or parks with trails? When you’re running with a stroller, you take up more space on the road. That can be a big safety concern solo runners don’t need to worry about. Try planning out a stroller running route on your own. Keep an eye out for areas that have family-friendly bathrooms, choose smooth footpaths and sidewalks, and steer clear of heavy traffic.

Movement should be a celebration of what your body is capable of. Examining how this exercise fits into your life is important. This approach can help you achieve long-term success with any health goal you set your mind to.

Moving forward

Stroller running can be a great way to get out and move while having fun with your child. As a parent, it can be hard to find a way to keep your health top of mind while caring for your kid. That’s why this form of exercise can be the best of both worlds.

However, if stroller running is not for you, that’s okay. Health is so much more than one type of exercise. From yoga to swimming to simply walking around the block, there are endless ways to find joy in movement.

Interested in exploring other ways to add movement to your everyday life? Our Health Library has plenty of helpful resources,7,8 including tips on family life and exercise here.


  1. Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, 2019.
  2. BMC Public Health, 2015.
  3. Runner’s World, 2017.
  4. New York Times, 2017.
  5. Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 2019.
  6. Asics, 2022.
  7. Get tips on how to start a running routine here.
  8. Get tips on exercising after pregnancy here.
Any information MetroPlus Health Plan, Inc. (“MetroPlusHealth”) provides herein is for informational purposes only. It is not medical, legal, or professional advice and should not be substituted for regular consultation with your health care provider or other professional. If you have any concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider’s office. This information is not intended to imply that services or treatments described in the information are or are not covered benefits under your plan. Please refer to your Membership Agreement, benefit summary, or other plan documents for specific information about your benefits coverage. While we endeavor to ensure the information presented has been obtained from reliable source(s), MetroPlusHealth is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information.
last updated: May 17, 2023

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