New moms generally have a lot in common but stroller walking is almost a universal similarity. How many hours are spent in those first few months for fresh air, for peace of mind, to lull a baby to sleep, for exercise, for errands, the list goes on… Given all those hours, proper posture is important to avoid aches and pains and maximize the potential exercise benefits!
Here are five tips to help you get the most out of your stroller walks. It really comes back to proper posture – something you tend to lose during pregnancy and have to work a bit to regain. Let’s work from the top down…
5 tips for better stroller posture and better stroller walks
1. Watch your gaze
Keep your neck in line with the rest of your spine, pulling up from the crown of the head and keeping your gaze straight ahead, rather than down at the stroller or ground. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind: where your eyes go, your chest follows. We want to stand tall, not collapse.
2. Create space between your ears and shoulders
Pull your shoulders back and down away from your ears – don’t let them hunch or round forward. Try to hug your shoulder blades together at your bra strap. This will force your back muscles to do more of the work. Strengthening your back muscles does wonders for your posture and will help reduce tightness and aching due to breastfeeding and baby holding.
3. Watch hand and arm position
Keep your hands low, at about waist height and your upper arms close to your rib cage (no chicken wings or straight arms). In addition to point #2, this will help keep the stress out of your shoulders and allow your back muscles to help with the push.
4. Tuck the hips
Keep hips stacked under ribs for proper pressure control and keep stress out of your low back. Try this standing without the stroller first, pulling your pubic bone towards your breastbone using your lower ab muscles, rather than squeezing your butt and tucking.
5. Lean into it
Lean into it (think proper running form), angling from the ankles, creating a forward trajectory. Do this rather than bending at the hips, taking the pressure off of the low back.
Make your walk work for you
We think of stroller walking as a relaxing, leisurely activity (at least I hope you do!). Given the time spent doing this activity over years and multiple kids, it deserves proper consideration. Why slump through a walk when you could have it really WORKING for you. Strengthening your back, creating tall posture, and maybe layering on deep core breathing to create a more engaging exercise.
Physical strength and form is so important for mothers and often overlooked. But let’s be honest, there may come a time when you are pushing said stroller with one arm, completely empty, while holding that child (whether content or crying) in the other arm – that takes actual strength and endurance. Won’t you be glad then that you made a few tweaks to your form when they were sleeping newborns?
About our guest blogger:
Alex Megan of After Baby Fit is a postpartum corrective exercise specialist and has made it her mission to help women rebuild their foundational strength and physical confidence after pregnancy and delivery. Take her free quiz about your exercise readiness and find out more about her 6 week postpartum recovery course.