Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
It is no secret that our children are not getting enough exercise. Video games, television and computers keep them inside and inactive. Lack of recess and physical education classes at school increase their sedentary lifestyles, too. You can help you children be healthier by talking a daily walk with them.
A daily walk with your children can help both you and them stay healthy. Walking not only increases metabolism and helps burn calories, it also helps build immunity. Additionally, children are growing and building bones and muscle and for them to be strong, they need regular physical activity. Weight-bearing exercises like walking can help build the strong bones and muscles children need, both now and on into their adulthood.
Another benefit of walking with your children is that it is good quality time. You can chat about things without being interrupted, especially if you leave your cell phone turned off. Use the time to talk about whatever comes up. Often children open up much more quickly when they are relaxed and when they know they have your attention. And, your daily walk with turn into precious memories for you and them. The more you walk, the more memories you can make.
Start off with a nice easy walk, perhaps as soon as you get home from work or right after dinner. Depending on the age of your child, a fifteen or twenty minute walk is a good starting point. For younger children or for children who are not exactly thrilled to be pulled away from their other pursuits, start with ten minutes a day.
Here are some tips to get and keep your children interested in walking with you. Try one this week.
--Let your child carry a water bottle. In hot weather, ice it for an hour or so before you walk.
--Once a week or so, turn your walk into an earth day and pick up trash along your route.
--Once a month, visit an area park or walking trail for your walk. Take pictures and keep a walking scrapbook.
--Put your child in charge of timing. If you are walking for twenty minutes, have them notify you when ten minutes have passed so you can turn around and head back.
--Keep a daily log of your walks and have your child note the time walked on the log. (Monthly calendar sheets are a good ready-made log if they have space for writing.)
--Assuming you walk a mile in twenty minutes, figure up how far away you have walked from your home each week. Add on to it weekly. For instance, this week, we would have walked six miles. In a month, we would have walked 30 miles. What is 30 miles away? Plot it on a map. How long will it take you to get to Alaska?
Walking with your children can do so much more than just make both of you physically healthier. Implement a daily walk with your kids and your family will grow emotionally, mentally and spiritually, too.