Trying out jogging strollers
VANCOUVER -- A brisk walk, job or run is great exercise for the whole family, but only if you have the right equipment to bring the young ones along. That could mean getting a specialized stroller for your morning run.
Experienced road racer Jackie Noblett is excited to get back out pounding the pavement with her three new running companions – but she'll have to get creative.
"I think we're getting to the point where I could schedule one loop with one kid, then do a sort of relay race and take one get out, put one in," she says.
If you're ready to try the same routine, you'll need a good stroller that's built for jogging. Consumer Reports' Joan Muratore says the ability to fix the front wheel in place is crucial.
"The reason for using a jogging stroller in fixed-wheel mode when you're jogging (is) when you hit a bump or something like that, you want the wheel to be fixed in place so the stroller doesn't veer off or even tip over," she says.
And while the fixed wheel makes it great for running, it can be challenging for everyday use, since the stroller is harder to maneuver when you're walking or turning corners. A traditional stroller that can be used for jogging is more versatile – you can put the front wheel in the swivel position for everyday use, or lock it straight for jogging.
"If you're going to buy a stroller and spend that kind of money, having multiple functionalities is kind of nice," Noblett says.
Consumer Reports tested jogging strollers, and found the Chicco Activ3 Air, at $400, to be the best. If you have two kids, the Thule Urban Glide 2 for $850 is the pick. While that might seem pricey for a stroller, most double running strollers cost $500 and up.
All of the strollers in Consumer Reports' ratings have a five point harness, similar to a car seat. All strollers come with a parking break – on some it's hand-operated, while on others it's a foot brake. Good brakes are essential and testers said a hand-operated brake offers better control as you jog. If possible, take the stroller for a spin before you buy and see how it fits you. The more comfortable you are, the more likely you'll be able to keep up the habit.
And weight is crucial – running while pushing a 25 lb stroller and a 25 lb toddler may be more of a workout that you bargained for.
With files from Consumer Reports.