So often, it can be easy to occupy the household with something that’s on the T.V, or video games and digital media. Therefore, it can be easy to forget how great it is to get outside and appreciate nature and all it has to offer, not to mention the array of health benefits getting out about with the kids can bring. Whether it’s strolling through the park with the various generations in your family, or doing some more adrenaline pumping activities with the kids, getting outside more is proven to improve both physical and mental health, making it an important element of family life. The following are some ideas, inspiration, and advice for those who are ready to get outside and lead an active, healthy lifestyle with those they love the most doing the one thing that comes naturally to most of us – walking.
Take the whole family for a stroll
When you pick an activity to do with the family, it’s a smart idea not to make it all about the competition. You and your kids may well partake in sports and competitive games elsewhere in your lives, so picking an outdoor pursuit to do together should be about getting outside and appreciating nature with one another (not fighting over who scored a goal). It’s also an excellent chance to involve the older members of your family, and get some serious bonding time between the various generations. Perhaps the residential care homes that your grandparents live in are located in beautiful settings; pack a picnic, a head over for a stroll together. Or pick them up from their home and head out for a family day in the local park. Fresh air and fun is what it’s all about. Going for a walk is something the whole family can enjoy together, no matter what the age.
Photo by Annie Spratt
Options for everyone
Hiking and trekking are also excellent ways to build fitness, and there’s no limit on the sights you can see and the memories (Instagram opportunities) you can make together. You could base getaways around your activity, and build everybody’s skills and fitness up with encouragement and teamwork. These are great activities for you and the older kids in particular, but will also suit any active members of your family. The activity doesn’t have to be for adrenaline junkies only. You can adapt it to suit even the smallest members of your family who aren’t quite ready for a long distance walk just yet or rambling over rough terrain. You could regularly visit local farms and go fruit and vegetable picking. This would also encourage the kids to get involved in making their dinner, as they’d have a vested interest in its ingredients. Getting outdoors to a place like these, where you can walk around and do an activity or see things at the same time, will give the kids exercise whilst having fun at the same time. Look online for local nature trails and forest walks aimed at young children with things to spot along the way. This will stop walking from feeling too boring to young children and keep them entertained along the way.
Leave the car at home
Encouraging your children to walk whenever possible is a great way to help them stay active and get outdoors more. It’s too easy to jump in the car to get somewhere quickly, but if you’re only going a short distance then choose to always walk instead. Take different routes, go down alleyways to see where they lead and really explore your local neighbourhood. You never know, you might find a park or place of interest that you never knew existed. If you’re going more than a mile or so then the kids may wish to take their bikes or scooters – this will help them to use different muscle groups, but also to have fun on the journey! Why not make an after dinner stroll around the block part of your daily routine? See the sights and catch up on each other’s days.
A garden isn’t just for summer
Getting the kids used to being outdoors and not relying on transport for everything will encourage a love for walking and appreciating their surroundings. A love for being active outdoors and learning about nature can start at home in the garden. You could plant some seeds and grow ingredients together, ensuring every family member takes part in looking after them. Having an outdoor space could be on a balcony, but the idea is to get the kids involved in taking care of outside environments in all seasons. If the family is regularly learning about nature and weather, they will continue to choose to go outside over watching cartoons on a Saturday morning (well, most of the time).
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