Lately, a mix of limited childcare, closed gyms and cancelled exercise classes has forced many parents to try the unthinkable – exercising with their children. Other than PE with Joe Wicks, getting out and about for a brisk walk or even a jog with your little one in tow is a great way to exercise in the fresh air.
We have found the best way to do this is to strap our youngsters securely into their strollers and set off on an adventure on wheels. This way you can get some decent steps in before you have to let them out to explore which will slow you down. A lot. Or if you have a pre-walker, they may well happily sit and watch the world go by, for a while at least.
To make sure both you and your offspring get the best experience, it is important to use the right stroller for your goals. If you want long country walks, a sturdy all-terrain stroller is for you. If you want to do fast laps of the park, then think about a specific jogging stroller.
It is important to allow your body to recover from childbirth before you start exercising. Pelvic floors and abdominal muscles need time to strengthen and regroup. New mums are also full of the birth hormone relaxin for three months after birth or after they stop breast feeding. Relaxin allows tendons and ligaments to slacken, which can cause injury when doing high impact exercise.
Buggyfit founder, Emma Redding, says: “Walking and low impact exercise is highly recommended, from the early postnatal stages. Walking can be progressed easily increasing speed and distance which in turn will improve fitness levels, increase stamina and massively improve our mood.”
Even though most strollers are designed to be used with newborn babies in them or are compatible with carrycots or car seats, it is advisable not to go for rugged walks or runs with small babies until their neck muscles are strong enough for their heads to bounce about – around six months old.
Mums’ bodies should be well enough recovered by six months too, but they may have changed. Emma says: “It is a good idea to get an up to date gait analysis before you start to run, as your anatomy may well have changed during pregnancy and childbirth and you might require new running footwear.”
It is also important to research which jogging stroller you need. Emma says: “Not all buggies are labelled as suitable to run with so check the manufacturer’s small print. Running buggies must currently have a brake, a wrist strap and a lockable front wheel. It is ideal to be able to adjust the handlebars to ensure good posture is achievable when buggy running.”
We tested stroller’s that would enable us to get out and about on all- terrains, or even try running. We tested them on pavement, grass, country lanes and even on the beach with little cargos aged six months to four-years-old.
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Bumbleride speed stroller
It’s rare to find a stroller that can be used for jogging, and which also handles corners and terrains with style – this is one of them. The Bumbleride speed stroller has three steering setting on the front wheel – locked for running, partially locked for jogging and taking on all-terrains, and swivel for city and everyday use.
This is really useful as it makes it a true all-terrain stroller. The tyres are air filled for an extra smooth ride and it comes with an air pump which can be stowed on board.
Bumbleride has excellent eco credentials, using eco fabrics and ocean-sourced plastics in its designs. It is compatible with several car seat brands and a bassinet can be added for tiny babies. You can also add in a foldable snack pack – excellent news for both children and parents. There are reflective patches and a bell for added safety when you’re on the move.
It comes pretty much fully assembled so we simply added the wheels. As well as loving how expensive it looks, we also appreciate the large sun canopy and shopping basket that will handle long country walks, busy farmers markets or a trip to the beach with all the trappings. The versatility is impressive – the ultimate all round stroller.
Mountain Buggy duet V3 pushchair
This buggy has clearly been designed by someone who likes getting out and about and has multiple children. Not only does it hold twins, siblings or two random, unrelated children, it also still fits through doorways! Genius.
Your chosen selection of infant jogging buddies can be aged newborn to four years and can sit up or lay back totally flat. The chassis can also take two car seats or two carry cots and can face the jogger for added safety.
The 10in air filled tyres give a smooth ride and we love the silent peekaboo flap in the SPF 50+ sun hood which lets you check if your passengers are still sleeping without waking them up.
The reversible seat liners are clever. If the unthinkable happens, simply use a wet wipe, reverse it, and keep going. It has a one hand folding system which is excellent when you have your hands full of multiple kiddies.
We assembled it easily, clicking the wheels, belly bar and sun canopy into place. It looks great – sporty and functional. Our testers loved the one hand folding and doorframe access, as well as the value – you get an excellent double buggy for less than the price of most single buggies.
Cybex balios S lux
The latest addition to the brand's balios S family is smooth and stylish. It is part of Cybex's 4-in-1 travel system, and works with a seat unit, an infant car seat, the cot S or the cocoon S. It reclines fully for newborns or sleepy toddlers up to 22kg. The rubber wheels are puncture proof and the all-wheel suspension suits all terrains.
It makes a lot of one hand promises – one hand folding, one hand recline and one hand adjustable handle bar. Once folded, it stands up by itself, which is a nice touch. The sun canopy and shopping basket are both generously sized, which is always a good thing.
We love how beautiful this stroller is – it's probably the sleekest design on the market with its elegant lines and designer feel. It is amazing quality and feels like it will last for years.
Thule chariot lite single
Apparently there are some parents out there with enough energy to stroll, jog, bike and ski. We don’t know any personally, but if we did, we would definitely recommend this stroller, which will enable them to do all of these things with their little one in tow.
The chassis is cleverly designed to morph into different forms with adapter kits that click into place and wheels that slot away when not needed. For biking, it clips safely to the back wheel of your bike and for skiing it secures to your waist.
To adapt for jogging, the two front wheels stow away on the frame and you add a larger front wheel. We took it for a brisk jog around the park with the jogging adapter kit, which costs an additional £120. This is the lightweight version which is easier to lug about at 11.7kg. It folds down easily, the wheels click on and off with no fuss and it is surprisingly compact once folded.
It looks great – futuristic and sturdy. It is pricey because you have to pay extra for all the adapters, but you get excellent quality and it is must-have for a sporty and outdoorsy family.
Out N About nipper single buggy V4 IR
Suitable from newborn to 20kg, this is handsome buggy and a super smooth ride. It is designed primarily for jogging, so the front wheel is fixed – don’t try to weave in and out of the shops with it. It folds down easily enough to transport in the boot of a car and the front wheel comes off easily. It can tackle tarmac, country lanes and grass with ease and the air filled tyres and suspension take potholes in their stride.
We loved the peekaboo window so we could check our little passenger was ok while we were jogging. The pockets in the canopy and large storage pouch are super useful too. It looks sporty and expensive – we got admiring looks in the park (and it wasn’t because of our running skills).
We tested the carnival red version and loved how the bright colour helped us stay visible on the road. The handlebar brake is perfect for quick stops, the plastic foot rest protects the fabric and it feels sturdy enough to last for many miles. It was super easy to put together – only the wheels and foot rest needs to be attached. We loved how motivated we were to go jogging with it – it is a great way to kill an hour of the day while entertaining the little one and getting fit.
It isn’t an everyday buggy because the fixed front wheel makes it tricky to manoeuvre, but as a running stroller it is perfect. The huge wheels give the smoothest ride for you and your baby.
Hauck runner 3 wheel pushchair
Big, air filled tyres make this the ultimate all-terrain buggy. The front wheel swivels or locks to suit the surface. We like that it is rugged but also has a big basket for all the necessary things you need. Hauck has made it suitable for all users, with an extra 30cm on the adjustable handle, perfect for tall parents. The footrest is plastic so muddy feet don’t touch the fabric. It will carry children up to 25kg, so will last a bit longer than most strollers. It folds down nice and small too.
We watched the online video to help us assemble the buggy. Once built it looked very stylish and it also comes in a range of great colours. We loved how easy it is to steer – but above all we loved the price tag – a great quality, all-terrain buggy for the price of a weekly family shop.
Chicco goody stroller
We were excited about this stroller because it is auto-folding. You simply press a button and the buggy folds itself. It also stands up by itself once folded, which is nice and tidy. It weighs less than 7kg and is compact enough for travelling.
It also looks great, with contrasting stitching and leatherette trim. It is suitable from birth up to 22kg, and is compatible with a carrycot. The wheels are medium sizes, so it’s not for ultimate adventures, but it will do nicely on a country stroll.
After simply adding the wheels, we were off with no problems. The auto fold is a dream and we love that it is compact enough to stow on a plane. It comes in a range of lovely colours and is great value for a compact city stroller.
Ickle Bubba discovery prime
This stroller is a great all-rounder. Weighing 7kg, it's easy to use and fold up, so can come along on all mkinds of adventures. This model is essentially the same as the discovery stroller, but with addd extras. It includes a rain cover, luxury quilted liner and foot muff, buggy organiser, storage bag and the all-important cup holder.
Four medium sized wheels mean you can go pretty much anywhere, but you might not want to climb any mountains or run a marathon with it. It is exceptional value for what you get, especially with all the extras.
It takes a while to assemble, but once together, it looks great – we loved all the colour options. It’s especially great value if you have the ickle bubba travel system and can use your car seat with it.
Mamas & Papas strada
This is Mamas & Papas's newest stroller, and very handsome it is too. It is designed to give the best of all worlds – lightweight, compact, easy to fold with one hand and perfect for both city streets and country lanes.
It suits newborn babies and toddlers up to 15kg, lying flat and sitting up. The wheels are small, which makes steering light and easy, but the rubber has a tough tread and the reflective rims let you stay safe and night if you happen to be out and about. It’s been designed and tested to handle kerb mounts with ease, and at 5Kg, it is easy to sling into the boot of your car.
This is pretty much good to go as soon as it comes out of the box, which we love. It looks super smart and expensive – there is no doubting it is a designer buggy. The faux leather handle gives it the official yummy mummy stamp of approval.
It is compact enough to stow overhead on aeroplanes, so it is perfect for travelling, and works well on all terrains so is ideal for sightseeing or a day at the beach.
The verdict: All-terrain strollers
We love the Bumbleride speed because it is the only stroller we need to own, taking us seamlessly from city streets to country lanes and for a run if we are so inclined.
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