After a recent reintroduction to walking I have decided to make family walks more of a regular activity. This weekend, with the clear weather and an enthusiastic attitude we went on two significant walks (significant by our standards anyhow)!
Despite the occasional tantrum, freezing hands and muddy shoes we came back feeling full up with achievement and satisfaction. We all felt content. Check out my post on one of these walks here.
I was curious to know, why does walking have such a positive effect on us? To answer this question I have done what any decent blogger does; blog it in a list of course!
So here you have it, the top 5 reasons you should walk with your kids
We know we feel better after getting fresh air but It’s actually is scientifically proven to be good for us! To start with thanks to photosynthesis, being out and in amongst the trees allows us to breathe air with increased levels of oxygen. This can counter the effects of air pollution which has an incredibly negative effect on health especially in our children. In fact research undertaken in 2014 concluded that exposure to fresh air actually saved 850 lives over the course of just one year.
Spending time in nature also develops an appreciation for the present moment. As you go on your adventure talk about things you can see, hear, smell and touch. Spending time outside and learning to appreciate the space fosters empathy and gratitude.
Getting outside, away from the hustle and bustle of our hectic lives enables us to reconnect with the world and each other. A professor of phycology from the University of Rochester, Richard Ryan stated that, “Often when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature.”
3.Screen Free Time
I find it difficult sometimes to get the screens off in my house and to be fair half the time it’s me. I love technology; Facebook, Twitter, watching films, heck I even love watching Eastenders in the bath, but what sort of example am I setting my kids? As part of the Contented Family Project I aim to change this and get me and the kids off our screens and out into the big wide world. It’s important that we teach our children that life doesn’t only occur inside 2d images and walking is the perfect opportunity to make life 3d again.
Exercise releases endorphins, the feel good hormone. I want my children to get used this natural high. Modern diets and sedentary lifestyles have led to such high levels of obesity that globally 2.8 million people die every year as a result. There are lots of ways to get yourself and your kids exercising but walking something the whole family can participate in. Get your kids into a healthy lifestyle now and they will grow up with a positive attitude to it, even if it takes some initial persuasion tactics (cake usually works for us)!
What happens if you walk in the rain? Well, you get wet! Teaching our children that regardless of the conditions we can still embrace the situation is a big lesson in resilience which goes hand in hand with happiness.
Resilience is described by mentalhealth.org as “…the ability to cope with life’s challenges and to adapt to adversity.”
A change in weather, a fall, a leaky welly all present potential challenges when on a walk with kids. Let’s teach them to deal with these situations and to physically keep going regardless with the hope that they can take these lessons and apply them to any situation throughout their life.
Oh and one last bonus point… THEY WILL PROBABLY SLEEP BETTER!
(if that doesn’t persuade you nothing will)
Do you enjoy walking with your kids? Or is it something you would like to do more of? Have you got any magic tips? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.