Celebrities make getting back into pre-baby shape look so easy! I’m sure you could too with your own team of nutritionist, nannies, personal trainers, and seamlessly infinite amounts of free time. Unfortunately, this is not the way of life for most people and those new moms who are looking to get in shape must utilize their time wisely. Often times this means dual-tasking: squats during trips back and forth to the laundry room, taking the stairs 2 at a time, jogging while pushing a stroller. So if you’re thinking about getting back in shape through some stroller jogging, here a few tips to optimize your workout and prevent injury.
- Good Posture – Good posture applies to more than static positions such as sitting and standing. When walking or jogging, it is important to remember to engage your core muscles to maintain an erect posture. This provides the base for all other muscles to work most effectively. When pushing a stroller, it is important to remember that you are pushing the stroller, not using it as a device to hold you up. A good rule of thumb is if you were to fall over if you let go of the stroller, you are leaning too heavily on it.
- Shoulder and Elbow Alignment – Once your core base is set, the next thing to look at is the angles at which forces are being relayed up to your shoulders and elbows. Ideally, your shoulders should be between 0 and 45 degrees of flexion and at neutral rotation. To find this position start with arms at your side. Bend your elbows to make 90 degree angles and point your thumbs to the sky. You have just now put your arms in 0 degrees of shoulder flexion and neutral rotation! Depending on preference, you can now raise your arms anywhere from at your sides to just below the nipple line for most people. This is the 0 to 45 degrees of shoulder flexion range. When looking at elbow positions, the most important thing to remember is to keep those elbows bent! Once we lock out those elbows into full extension, we dramatically increase the joint compression force dealt to the shoulders, thereby decreasing the amount of overall arm muscle activation. This elbow extended position also tends to lead to leaning on the stroller. And as we previously talked about, this inhibits our ability to maintain a good posture. Ideally you should have between 90-135 degrees of elbow flexion.
- Scapular Stability – If you’re finding it difficult to keep your elbows bent and off your body, even though your posture is great, you may need to look to your shoulder blades to make sure they are providing the stable base needed for arm movement. The scapulae (shoulder blades) provide the bases for muscles further down the chain to work most effectively. Muscle fatigue in shoulders or arm muscles may be attributed to poor scapular strength. By working on scapular stability strength, you may be able to decrease shoulder pain and fatigue, and get more from your work out.
Please seek medical attention if pain persists longer than 2 weeks or inhibits daily function.