SEATTLE -- Parents trying to get fit behind a jogging baby stroller might want to change their ways. Local researchers from Seattle Pacific University examined how joggers use the strollers to come up with a best method.
Amy Sepulveda Easley is an alternator. She jogs with with one hand on her son Owen's stroller, then she alternates to the other hand.
"For me it's just being fit and feeling heart healthy and definitely have weight loss goals and all of that," she said.
With weight loss in mind, local researchers say Amy might need to change her method. The team from Seattle Pacific University identified three main ways parents push strollers: alternating hands, two hands at once, or what they call the push and chase, pushing a stroller ahead and running to catch up.
"I do not do the push and chase," Maren Goodwin said. "My husband likes that, and it makes me very nervous."
But what makes her nervous might make him lose more weight. Researchers found the "push and chase" method burns the most calories.
Keeping both hands on the bar helps joggers run as quickly as they did without a stroller.
Maren uses the popular alternating method.
"I push, usually with one hand and kind of switch back and forth, just because you kind of need the momentum of that other arm."
That's the way researchers saw the least benefit.
"When you're holding on to something kind of heavy, you over rotate and that throws your whole gait off," explained Biology Professor Cara Wall-Scheffler. "So they were over rotating, their steps were quite a bit shorter and they had a really hard time maintaining their running speed."
Still, the team found pushing a stroller with any method nudges up the calorie burn. As long as parents keep pushing their pace along with the stroller, they're getting the benefit of both exercise - and time with their child.