It is one of the simplest things you can incorporate into your schedule, yet the benefits of going for a daily walk are astonishing. Moreover, it is an activity that requires no uniform, training, or professional guidance. So as much as we should prioritize it for ourselves, introducing our children to the benefits of walking is essential.
Everyone should prioritize it, from boosting mental and physical health to building healthy habits through bonding time. So put on those sneakers or boys sandals and get moving.
Before You Set Off
It might feel like common sense, but when rushing out of the door, it is easy to forget some simple and ordinary things you need before you set off. It is not always possible to fully predict what your walk might encounter, so ensure your child is wearing comfortable and supportive shoes, and apply sunscreen and a hat if it is a sunny day outside. Moreover, if you live in an area prone to unpredictable weather, don’t forget a rain jacket or umbrella.
Away from Screens
Probably one of the most apparent benefits of walking is the simple fact you will be outside, away from all the technological lures of indoors. We live in a society that is becoming increasingly dependent on technology throughout the day. Many psychological research studies have proven that prolonged periods in front of screens can negatively affect our physical and mental health.
Detaching from the online world and engaging in the real world can also reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness. Children are in the stage of their lives where learning is a prime feature of their daily activities. And there are many things a computer screen can’t teach you.
If you hold a regular desk job, you will know firsthand how difficult it can be to get movement into your day if you remain sedentary for most of it. The same can happen to your kids if you don’t prioritize time to head outside and get some steps in. Walking has been proven to be one of the best forms of exercise for your heart health and can go a long way to helping prevent weight issues and joint problems later on in life.
So not only will you be spending some quality time with children out in the sun, you will be actively contributing to maintaining the health of your entire family. Additionally, allowing your children to be exposed to the outside world will help to build and maintain their immune systems, further protecting their general health.
Walking is the perfect activity if you are struggling to find time to spend with your kids during the day or are simply looking for another way to bond with them. Children thrive on human interaction, and putting time aside for them is crucial.
The sunshine and fresh air are excellent mood boosters and will allow you to reconnect with minimal distractions. Alternatively, going for walks with friends will give your children the same experiences in a fun and creative environment. Plus, a playdate outside will mean less mess and chaos to clean up at home.
As a parent, you want your children to create healthy habits that will serve them for a lifetime. But approaching this topic constructively and beneficially might be difficult. By revamping an everyday afternoon walk into something fun and an adventure you will do together, you are helping to build healthy routines without them even realizing it.
Children are notorious for being defiant if they feel like they are being forced to do something they don’t want to do. However, if they perceive it as something they want to do, they will be more inclined to stick with it, and soon, it will become second nature.
Mental Health Boost
We have all heard the advice before. When you feel like things are getting overwhelming, the best idea is to go for a walk, to allow yourself a moment to calm down and clear your head. Children feel the same emotions as adults, so using the same techniques will be just as effective for them as it would be for you.
Along with boosting mental health, walking is also known to help fight insomnia amongst adults and children, allowing your little one to get their much-needed sleep at night. It is also an excellent way to burn off any lasting energy that could be preventing them from settling.
As mentioned before, the best way to introduce walking to your children is to present it as something they are allowed to do and not as a chore they have to do. A simple way of doing this is to incorporate playtime into the activity. Going on a walk provides the ideal environment to get out and explore the world around you. Picking different places and environments exposes your children to opportunities that allow for their imaginations to take over.
Additionally, you can use your time out on walks as a way to educate your children on different plants and animals you may encounter while out. Again, adding a visual representation will help your child retain the information better and also make the overall learning experience more enjoyable.