So the baby is on the way. Or the baby is out and you’ve been stuck inside during the cold, wet months of late winter, aching for some outdoor activity. Lucky you: Hundreds of companies are realizing that many moms (and dads, of course!) have never given up on the idea of staying active before and after mom’s pregnancy.
But between fatigue and body shape changes, it always seemed like the obstacles to fitness and activity were too great. Here are some terrific, simple gear choices that can get you outside and back into your active life. Call these “cabin-fever solutions.”
BornFit ‘Antero’ maternity pantsExpecting moms are almost never the ones who wear the pants in the family. Literally. The fact is, expecting moms have always found it tough to find good workout pants; they were either reduced to buying extra-large sweats to accommodate the baby’s contours (which then meant a waist that fit but legs that were too long) or, often, just giving up on pants altogether. Indeed, nobody made really good clothing for moms with happily expanding tummies. A great Colorado company called BornFit has come to the rescue. They built perhaps the ultimate maternity pants for both before and after the baby’s born. Called the Antero, and named after a mountain near BornFit’s offices in Colorado, they're made of a polyester/spandex blend that wicks moisture quickly and keeps you comfortable as you start to pick up the pace. Best of all, though, and the key to their great fit is the extra-wide, ultra-comfy expandable waistband that hides an interior drawstring pull. The result: total comfort over many pre- and postpregnancy months, with just the right amount of room to grow. Comfortable, easy, well-made; $68; www.livebornfit.com
The BOB Revolution strollerThe first BOB Revolution was created in 1991; the latest version of the Revolution can liberate active, outdoorsy parents who have been feeling a little confined with a new baby. The BOB is a smooth-riding, beautifully engineered running and hiking stroller that doesn’t have the high price of some of the fashionable names out there but is, frankly, much better built.
The “revolution” in the BOB is in its 360-degree swiveling front-wheel design, which allows the parent pushing the thing to make quick turns without tipping the front of the stroller upward. The result is a stable three-point ride for the baby. BOB also made its name with its incredibly smooth feel in off-road or trail environments — hydraulic shocks and widely spread pneumatic (air-filled) wheels keep babies and toddlers insulated from bumps — and its ingenious fold-up design allows quick stowage in trunks, closets and mudrooms.
The Kelty FC3
If you’ve never thought about hiking with your kid, you should strongly consider it — it’s one of the most natural and least expensive ways of rebuilding torso, leg and foot strength there is. But beware: Using an ill-fitting or poorly made baby backpack is also one of the fastest ways you can hurt yourself. Spend a little money on a great pack and you’ll be developing cardiovascular and muscular strength after just a few steps. And your baby will thank you for it.
The Kelty FC3 is possibly the best in the business. Worried about the company’s backpack pedigree? Kelty’s famous “Cloud,” for example, has been to the top of Everest numerous times, and the company’s FC3 is almost as well-equipped as the Everest pack.
The key to the FC3’s quality? Through a beautifully engineered set of chest, waist and shoulder harnesses, your baby’s weight (up to 50 pounds!) is repositioned and transferred over your hips and rests on your pelvis so your back is never strained while using it. Nor are you; it includes a changing pad (for diaper changes on the trail minus the pine needles), diaper bag, storage and a rain hood. It even has a handy see-through netting border that keeps branches from brushing across your child’s face and a sun hood that protects against excessive sun exposure (very important in the early, skin-sensitive years). $200; www.kelty
So now that baby is on the way or, better yet, has just arrived, it’s time to get outside. Enjoy!
Paul Hochman is the gear and technology editor for the TODAY Show and a “Fast Company” magazine contributor. He covered the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Athens and Torino, Italy, for TODAY. He was also a three-year letter winner on the Dartmouth ski team and has a black belt in karate. Paul’s blog can be found at: