Harriet and Rachelle are co-directors of Great Shape Studio at the Jerusalem International YMCA. For more information, see bottom of article.
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Q: I recently had a baby and want to exercise to lose weight. I don't want to have a babysitter watch my baby while I exercise. Does walking with a stroller burn more calories than regular walking?
A: A study carried out by exercise scientists at the University of Wisconsin in conjunction with the American Council on Exercise tested the calorie expenditure of normal walking as opposed to walking while pushing a baby stroller. The stroller was loaded with 16 kgs. of additional weight to match the weight of a one-year-old child plus a diaper bag. The results showed that exercise intensity and calorie burn were 18% and 20% higher when walking with a stroller at 4.8 kilometers per hour and 5.6 kph respectively than when walking without a stroller. On average, the subjects burned 6.2 calories per minute while pushing a stroller at 4.8 kph and 7.4 calories per minute while pushing a stroller at 5.6 kph. That comes to 372 to 444 calories per hour. Walking uphill will result in an even higher calorie burn.
Walking with your baby in a stroller, particularly at a moderate pace, is one of the easiest things you can do to get fit and burn the extra weight you gained during pregnancy. Your baby will be happy being outside in the fresh air (make sure your baby is shielded from the sun) and you can bond with your baby while getting fit.
There are group exercise stroller workouts that combine stroller walking with strength training exercises for additional calorie burn and to tone the muscles that are weakened during pregnancy and birth as well as from holding and feeding the baby. Programs such as Baby Shape take place in many cities around Israel (www.babyshape.co.il). Such programs provide moms with the opportunity to meet other new moms and work out together, minimizing the feelings of isolation that often accompany new motherhood.
So put your baby in a stroller and go for a walk. You will feel good about yourself and it is important that you take the time for your own health and fitness needs. Being fit and healthy is one of the most important things you can do for the health of your baby.
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Rachelle Oseran has 21 years experience as a fitness professional. She is certified by ACE (the American Council on Exercise). She is also a certified prenatal/postnatal exercise instructor. She has presented at international fitness conventions in the U.S., Europe, Africa and the Far East.
Harriet Scher has 30 years experience as a fitness professional in the US and Israel. She is certified by ACE (The American Council on Exercise) and Schwinn as an indoor cycling instructor, and is trained in Pilates.
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Cafe Oleh experts have been chosen for their knowledge and reputation. Cafe Oleh does not take responsibility for any advice they offer.