With the change of the seasons comes an increased need to get creative when it comes to parenting. We all know that cabin fever and parenthood don’t mix, so what can you do with a new baby when it’s cold outside? For many families, outside stroller walks are difficult with ice, snow, and poorly maintained sidewalks. There are plenty of spots around Indy that are ideal for walking in inclement weather, so grab your sneakers and your FitBit (and your baby!) and get going! If you want to ditch the stroller and get a good walk in, try babywearing. When you’re all done, settle in for a cup of coffee at some of our favorite coffee shops for kids.
Where to Walk Inside
This one is easy, but shopping malls are ideal for walking, especially before your favorite stores are open for the day. Most malls offer mall walking hours, which begin an hour before stores open. Malls offer security, a controlled environment, and predictable hours — perfect for families who are spontaneous as well as those who thrive on routine. Many department stores within local shopping malls contain nicely furnished areas for parents to attend to diaper changes and feeding needs (Von Maur wins in accommodations for families, hands down!) The Fashion Mall is also a hit with families. One down side to mall walking is the difficult task of passing up those great deals and resisting the urge to dress your beautiful baby in adorable accessories while eating your weight in cinnamon rolls. Keep your wallet at home!
While not all libraries may be conducive to stroller walking, the Central Library in downtown Indy is a fantastic location — it’s huge and there are multiple floors to explore.
All paths lead to the cafe, but you can just skip it. Take a leisurely walk through the store, following the zig-zagging path or power walk through that showroom and hit the warehouse for long straightaways. No matter how you do it, you’re sure to get yours steps in after a lap or two.
Most grocery stores are open 24/7, so if you have a new schedule that includes 5am availability, head to the closest Meijer or Kroger. Some of those stores even have a Starbucks cafe inside for some coffee therapy as you walk the aisles. Larger stores tend to have wider aisles in case you end up walking during a busy time of day. If you choose to walk at a grocery story, be sure to bring your stroller or baby carrier as setting infant car seats on top of shopping carts is not safe!
Target or Department Stores
I think this goes without saying, but Target is an all-weather, all-season escape from daily life. Browsing, shopping, walking, exercising, making new friends… Everything happens at Target!
Big Box Stores
Take your indoor walks to the next level. Costco is a huge warehouse with plenty of space to walk (and free samples! Gotta keep up your energy levels!) It’s tough to get out of Costco and spend less than $200, but it can be done! Just remind yourself that you’re there for exercise and not retail therapy (no matter how helpful that floor steamer may appear to be!)
Look for free days and cheap admission opportunities and hit up a local museum. Get some exercise and feed your soul while browsing art galleries. Caring for yourself in such a well rounded way will leave your spirits lifted!
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is a fantastic place to walk, even though admission prices are steep. Have a friend get you in on her membership, or mention it as a gift idea around the holidays. No matter how small your baby is, it’s a great place to spend time. As for exercise, the center of the museum is home to a steep ramp that spans five floors and makes quick work of your leg workout (especially if a stroller is involved.) The newly renovated Playscape is a great place to meet other parents and give your baby a fun and safe place to play. Take note that the Children’s Museum is closed on Mondays during the fall and winter.
No matter where you end up to walk with your baby, remember that you’re doing yourself a huge favor by getting out of your house and getting some exercise! Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to other new parents. You are not alone!