Fitness Friday: Family Walks

You’re getting a little extra daylight starting this weekend.

It could be time to use some of that light to make a family walk a regular thing. It costs nothing, yet time together in nature is as valuable as gold.

As we become more digitally connected, we realize the benefit of time away from a screen; especially for children. Walking can be done in silent, with some talking or lots of talking. There is a shared sense of discovery. “Look at this butterfly. “Wow, what kind of caterpillar is this?” In this over-scheduled society, a walk poses no agenda and no pressure. Walking together can foster wonder, curiosity and connection.

We know the physical benefits of walking. Studies find walking can help lower blood pressure, boost mood, strengthen bones and more. 

 

 

Yet the benefits are far greater than physical.

Other studies show that the gift of an experience creates more lasting happiness, when compared to a store bought item. Think of your family walk as a shared gift. While you are using your body and breathing deeply, you are also feeling part of the planet, connected to nature, connected to yourself, connected to loved ones.

You may get resistance. When one of my nieces was about seven, I took her on a nature walk. It was deep summer, in Washington D.C. a.k.a. muggy and sticky. She was not the athletic type. To be honest with you, she had a rough life up until then. She complained every ten seconds. “It’s hot, I’m sweating, I’m tired.” You know the drill.

Still we ambled on, just walking, resting here and there. I didn’t engage the whining. Instead I kept the tone lighthearted. We got to the top of what was really a big hill. We found some perfectly juicy blackberries, still warm from the sun. We picked them, washed them with some of the water we carried and sat down and ate them. As we walked down, there was less whining. Success! But the real success was not seen until years later when she described that walk as one of her fondest childhood memories.

 

Take a chance; take a walk outside with your people!

 

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– Kelley Colihan Robertson, E-RYT

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