Right now the world is focused on the COVID-19 pandemic. While it is a serious concern, another global pandemic that’s been around for far too long is physical inactivity. An easy way to get outside and get moving is going on family walks. The benefits of walking with your kids involve strengthening your physical and mental health, promoting healthy child development, and improving your quality of sleep.
1. Improves your and your kids’ overall health.
Walking is a light, low-impact exercise that’s great for the entire family. Some of the physical health benefits of walking include:
- Burning calories
- Better circulation
- Reduced chance of diabetes
- Improved heart health (reduced risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack, and stroke)
- Boosting the immune system
- Building muscle strength
- Extending your life.
Walking is something kids of all ages can do, whether you’re walking hand-in-hand around the neighborhood with your preschooler, taking a brisk evening stroll with your teenagers, or carrying your baby in their baby carrier. Pushing a stroller is also a good way for moms to ease back into exercising after having a baby. You’ll even burn more calories pushing a stroller than if you were walking alone. If you plan on crossing busy streets, consider getting a Stroller Controller. It attaches to your stroller handlebar and makes it easier and safer to control your stroller, allowing you to walk beside the stroller so you can spot traffic and drivers can see you.
Going on a walk is also one of the best things you can do for your mental health. As walking increases your circulation and oxygen flow, it also increases the levels of adrenaline and endorphins in your body, which then boost your energy and mood. Studies have shown that green exercise, such as walking outdoors, can improve self-esteem, depression, anger, and tension.
If your children are old enough to walk, this is a good and necessary daily exercise for them as well. Like adults, walking outdoors can help your child’s physical and emotional well-being. A multi-study analysis found that just 5 minutes of outdoor play, including walking, improve a kid’s mental well-being and self-esteem.
2. Aids in child development.
The outdoors provide an all-around sensory experience. From the sun and wind to trees, flowers, rocks, soil, and animals, nature provides tons of sensory information for kids to take in. Talking about and experiencing all that there is to see, hear, smell, and touch in the beautiful outdoors on your walk contributes to more effective learning and healthy child development. As your child learns to process their environment, they can sooner develop their language and gross motor skills.
3. Promotes a good night’s sleep.
What does every parent dream of? A good night’s sleep! Walking with your kids is one way you can finally turn your daydream into a reality. A study found that infants who were more active and exposed to more natural light during the day slept better at night. The head researcher hypothesized that infants who spent more time outdoors with their parents developed their circadian rhythms sooner. Natural light regulates the circadian system and directly affects melatonin secretion.
Walking with your kids also burns energy and stress. When you’re tired and relaxed, you’ll sleep better. Walking outside also exposes you and your kids to more sunlight, which is the No. 1 source of vitamin D. A vitamin D deficiency can negatively affect your sleep.
Reaping all these benefits while also having quality bonding time with your kids just makes walking with them a win-win for everyone involved.
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