Walking For Fitness: Making Your Children Walk
Walking For Fitness
Walking is one of the safest sports available as there is a very low risk of injury. It is fun, doesn’t require any special equipment, subscriptions or training and it is free. All those reasons make it the ideal sport to practice with your children.
However, as a parent of two young children I know how difficult it can be to get them motivated to exercise. Some children are naturally sporty, mine aren’t. So I make them walk under different excuses. I know that if I just say, let’s go for a walk, they will look at me long faced and my hooligan will come up with some excuse to avoid walking. So what do I do to get them to walk a few kilometres without complaints? Below I have collected a few ideas that worked for me and my little ones. I hope they help you too.
Children Walk If They Know It Is Fun
Walking for Health: How to use the Power of Walking to Improve Health
Walk With A Purpose
- Whenever my children want to go to the park I tell them that we will need to walk there. They agree immediately and I take advantage to take them to the farthest away park in town, just to make them walk farther. Because they are walking with the idea of going to the park they don’t complain about it, even when each of them is carrying their lunch packs.
- Last winter we went with friends for a walk in the snow covered woods. The purpose of the walk was to gather mistletoe and moss for the Christmas decorations. We spent a good part of the afternoon walking in the woods and none of the children complained about the cold or being tired.
- During the warm months, I take the children to walk in the woods. The purpose of our walk depends on the time of the year. During July and August, we go out collecting wild berries, in September/October we go out looking for nuts and apples. The children love to go out searching for wild fruits, which makes them walk for hours and the best thing is that they eat what they have collected once we arrive home!
- Walk to a place they like. My children like going to the library and visiting friends. When they have to walk there, they walk without complaining because they know where they are going. For young children, it might be difficult to understand that they have to walk for nothing. Having a set place to go, will make it easier for them to get motivated to walk.
The Day's Challenge. Guess Which Path They Chose...
Walk With Friends
If you walk alone with your child, you run the risk that she will start complaining sooner than expected about being tired, when in reality she is only bored. If you bring one or two of her friends, the children will walk chatting and playing and none of them will notice the distance walked.
Allure them with something they like
Have you seen the dog races, where they have a fake rabbit in front of the dogs to encourage them to run? Well, I try the same with my little ones. As they don’t have a weight problem I encourage them to keep walking with sweeties. That keeps their sugar levels up and gives them an instant burst of energy whenever they are starting to get too tired.
A Walk Around Chateau Guillaume in France. Children love Places With Lots To Look at And Things to Clamber Over Dunes, Trees, Streams, etc
Buy a Pedometer
Children love games and competitions. Let them keep track of how much they are walking and they will push themselves to break their records.
Walk the dog
If you have a dog, walking it is the perfect excuse to get your children out and going. If you don’t have a dog you can always walk a neighbour’s dog!
One of the things that we enjoy as a family is our long dog walks. It doesn’t matter the time of the year it is always nice to engage in a family walk.
Why Should You Walk With Your Children
- Walking helps children build and maintain healthy bones and muscles.
- Walking with your children will help reduce any feelings of stress or sadness for both your children and you. You don’t need to race or walk yourself and your children breathless; a gentle walk in the fresh air and sunshine is relaxing and it makes you feel good.
- Walking helps control body weight
- Walking helps with overall flexibility
- Set the example, if your children see you walking, they will walk too.
- Family walks can be an excellent time to share stories and experiences with your children.
- After a long walk, your children will have a better sleep.
- Walking with your children you can take the opportunity to leisurely teach them things such as road safety.
Some of our walks:Click thumbnail to view full-size
New research suggests that walking to school helps children concentrate in lessons better and may even reduce the need for medication for conditions like ADHD
Walking The Easier Way To Keep Your Children Fit
Remember that it is important to get children into the habit of walking at an early age. The best way to get them walking is to integrate walking into their lifestyles.
Do you walk with your children?
© 2010 Wendy Iturrizaga