What’s the difference between holding onto a treadmill while walking and pushing a stroller?

Are these two activities one and the same?

When you hold onto a treadmill, this provides support; it subtracts workload from your body.

It relieves your body of the task of balancing. You are not pushing against anything; you are holding on for support.

When you push a stroller, you are pushing an object through space. However, the fact that your hands are on the stroller’s bar means that, to some extent, there’s relief to your body from the task of balancing.

This concept is clearly evident with anyone who needs a cane or walker to get around.

My father requires a walker, yet can get around nearly as fine when pushing a shopping cart — which has very similar mechanics as a stroller.

Though pushing a stroller would make balancing easier for someone with unstable ambulation, it’s nowhere near as “de-balancing” as holding onto a treadmill.

The treadmill is stationary; you are not pushing it from point A to point B. That’s the big difference. There is no pushing, just holding.


Though pushing a stroller subtracts somewhat from the balancing component, it certainly does not compromise your walking (or jogging) workout.

If you believe it would, then try this experiment:

Load a stroller (that’s designed for use while jogging) with your toddler or, if they’re too old or not available, place a weighted backpack in the seat.

Then go for a jog, pushing the weighted stroller. See how you feel after 10 minutes. Pick up the pace if slow jogging is too easy.

Another experiment is to push a weighted stroller up an inclined path or sidewalk for 10 minutes straight  —  at a brisk pace. Or even try this on level ground.

Why briskly walk while pushing a stroller anyway?

Because it’s how women with very young kids or babies can maintain an exercise program, and it can be fun for their kids.

Pushing a stroller is absolutely not the same thing as holding onto a treadmill.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 


Top image: Freepik.com/prostooleh