The Best Fitness Gear for New Parents
Want to avoid "dad bod"? Here's the top tips, gear, and books that will help you to stay fit and healthy as a new parent—plus to have a very fit and healthy baby. too.
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You’ve seen it before: the dreaded “dad bod.” And ladies, I certainly know that many of you find fear and trepidation in the thought of all that extra body fat and all those stretch marks that come along with a new baby. Then, of course, when it comes to a new baby, there’s the entire phenomenon of shedding your muscles, losing your fitness, and skipping all your workouts because you’re changing diapers, sucking snot out of a little one’s nose, or catching up on lost sleep from middle-of-the-night cryfests.
Frankly, as a father of twin boys who did everything from Ironman triathlons to competitive obstacle course racing while my boys were babies, I can tell you that parenting doesn’t need to be this way. It is 100% possible to stay fit and healthy as a new parent, and to have a very fit and healthy baby too, and in today’s article, I’m going to give you my top tips, gear and books for pulling it off.
Best Health And Fitness Gear For New Parents
Baby Jogging Stroller:
There’s no reason you can’t go on runs when you have a baby, but the problem is that most baby jogging strollers force your body into extremely poor biomechanics and running form, resulting in ankle, knee, hip, and low back injuries, which is not what a new dad or mom wants. For example, in most “conventional jogging strollers,” the kind you usually see getting pushed around running trails, at least one hand needs to be pushing on the jogging stroller’s handlebars at all times, which results in awkward running form, a slower pace and very poor running economy.
To avoid these problems, I’m a huge fan of a jogging stroller called the “KidRunner.” It allows you to pull your baby behind you in a sleek stroller that is attached to a harness that goes around the your waist (think a bicycle trailer for runners).
Baby Bike Trailer:
A bike trailer, just like a jogging stroller, can give you a much-needed new-parent fitness boost and simultaneously give your baby boatloads of fresh air, but it can also allow you to commute and get places much faster than running may allow.
In my opinion, the best baby bike trailers are made by a company called Burley. Not only have I personally used multiple Burley models and found them to work with just about any bicycle, but every Burley trailer also receives third party testing to ensure the safe travel of your precious cargo. They have a great warranty, and you’ll have the peace-of-mind that your bike trailer isn’t going to go flying off the back of your bike, or break halfway through a ride.
Baby Car Seat:
My wife and were parents always “on-the-go,” transferring car seats from car to car, and often carrying our car seats onto airplanes, through malls, and into parks. If you plan on the same active life, I recommend a car seat like the Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat. If you plan to shuffle one seat between multiple cars or take your car seat on trips and travel, this is the car seat to get because of its easy installation, a built-in level that indicates whether the base is correctly positioned, the ability to adapt to strollers if necessary, and a light, portable, yet safe design.
Trust me moms and dads: clutching a baby to your chest is a great test for your grip and biceps, but does get tiring after awhile. Enter a good baby carrier. Baby carriers remove the need for a bouncer or stroller, and allow you to keep your baby pressed up against your body as you’re walking, shopping, cleaning, moving around the house, or doing anything else. I am a fan of a carrier called the “Ergo Baby Carrier”, which also has a newborn insert, and helps to support your baby’s hip to prevent any hip problems a baby can sometimes develop while in a carrier.
Sure, a carrier may work for short walks and general day-to-day activity, but if you plan on hiking or rucking with your baby, something my wife and I did quite often with my twin boys, you’ll want an actual backpack that doubles as a child carrier. A company called “Kelty” is a perfect example of a good baby backpack. They have a built-in suspension system that allows for a snug fit, leg-secure straps and 5-point harness to keep your little one nestled in place, and even a zip-off day pack, diaper changing pad, underseat storage, and hydration ready compartment to let you and your baby experience backcountry hikes together.
OK, you’ve got your stroller, your trailer, your car seat, your carrier and your backpack. What’s next? A few good books!