Calories burned pushing stroller?

I briskly walk every day pushing a double stroller that is definitely, at minimum, 60lbs. There are some days I walk without the stroller on the same path and I actually walk the same pace (so I don’t walk any slower with the stroller). It is definitely HARDER physically to push the stroller and I always assumed I must be burning more calories. But, from what I read, not only is this not so, but you actually burn less calories pushing a stroller (???). Unfortunately I don’t have a HRM to check this but I definitely *feel* the difference between the two exercises. Can someone explain if this is correct... or is it only that you burn the same or less calories if you walk at a slower pace (with the stroller). Honestly I thought I was BLASTING calories pushing that stroller. I don’t record any extra calories burned, but it did feel nice thinking I was benefiting from pushing an extra 60lbs or more LOL.

***Sorry if this is a repeat post - I tried searching for it in the threads and didn’t find it.


  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,763 Member
    When something is on wheels, you can't really assume the same calorie burn that you would get from a completely manual move of the same amount of weight. I don't know if anyone has actually done the analysis of pushing a stroller on calorie burn, but I think I would just log it as straight walking.
  • LoveyChar
    LoveyChar Posts: 4,335 Member
    I won't be much of a help. I push a stroller every day (not double, though) with my two-year-old in it. I do walk at a brisk pace but I don't log it unless I'm running since that's what I consider cardio for me.

    My advice to you would be to either add the pushing stroller option offered or keep doing what you're doing. If weight loss, occurs then stick with what works.

    I'd rather undershoot than overshoot when it comes to exercise caloric loss, meaning that I'd rather have less calories deducted than more. People tend to get a hyped sense of what they believe they may have burner and they're looking for whatever scrap of calorie they can deduct, which is fine for some I suppose. Anyway it works for me. My little boy has been through Marathon training runs several times with me in the past and I'm running another one in 8 1/2 weeks so he'll with me. But no, I don't count the stroller.
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,811 Member
    Thought provoking question.

    Is it harder or maybe just feels different as you are to a degree engaging your core muscles to push it?
    Could see it elevating calories uphill though, not convinced it would on the flat. When I push my granddaughter I tend to walk slower so my guess would be lower calories for the same duration but that would also be different distances covered so comparing apples to oranges.

    The pushing stroller option in the database is pretty useless as it doesn't define speed, without speed entering the time doesn't reflect the distance covered.
    You could be moving at 2mph or 4mph for the same duration and get the same estimate which is clearly wrong.

    HRM might indicate harder or easier effort but the intensity of walking is normally too low for a HRM to be any good at estimating calories.
    Are you a good enough multi-tasker to manually take your pulse while walking just to compare HR with and without the stroller? :smiley:

  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,876 Member
    For things like walking, pace in and of itself doesn't make a tremendous difference in energy's much more mass moved over distance. Pace can make a difference in regards to distance covered over an equivalent walk slower you're going to cover less distance for a given time spent than walking a faster pace...but walking 3 miles at a slower pace is going to be roughly equivalent calorie wise to walking 3 miles at a faster pace. I personally don't think pushing a stroller makes a difference least not one that is significant enough to dive into too much.
  • serapel
    serapel Posts: 502 Member
    Push it up a hill and get those glutes going. I used to purposely push a stroller through snowy trails just to burn extra calories. People used to look at me like I was nuts. lol
  • LoveyChar
    LoveyChar Posts: 4,335 Member
    serapel wrote: »
    Push it up a hill and get those glutes going. I used to purposely push a stroller through snowy trails just to burn extra calories. People used to look at me like I was nuts. lol

    I run up a hill and I do love the looks! Some people huff and puff just to walk up the hills. Yes, it is so great for building nice, strong thighs!
  • penguinmama87
    penguinmama87 Posts: 1,158 Member
    Oh yeah, it's definitely more work pushing a stroller with kids in it than walking by yourself. I don't know how I'd quantify it, but it's real. I have a double stroller I'm regularly pushing up hills, stabilizing to go down hills, etc. etc.

    In theory, walking with a baby in a carrier is more work too because I'm heavier that way, but it still doesn't feel nearly as hard as that stroller, even if I'm carrying a toddler.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,055 Member
    FWIW: According to the Compendium of Physical Activities, "pushing or pulling stroller with child or walking with children, 2.5 to 3.1 mph" is a 4.0 METS activity, whereas "walking, 2.8 to 3.2 mph, level, moderate pace, firm surface" is a 3.5 METS activity. (Both of those are values based on published research.) the implication seems to be something less than about a 0.5 METS bump for the stroller.

    For relativistic comparison purposes, "walking, 2.0 mph, level, slow pace, firm surface" is 2.8 METS, "walking, 2.5 mph, level, firm surface" is 3.0 METS.

    METS-based exercise estimates is how the MFP exercise database does it. Very loosely, multiplying the METS value by your BMR gives a calorie estimate, but there's more to it than that.

    You can learn more and math the whole thing out with info from this site, if you want to go down that rabbit hole:

    Still all estimates, though.