Written by Natalya Ganchina M.Ed.
Walking is a habit that benefits you on different levels: mental, physical and spiritual. Many people, especially those who have children and live in suburban areas, complain that they do not have time for walking and there are no walkable places nearby. But if you are willing to find the time and space to walk with your child, you can build a routine for mindfulness, health, and connection that can last a lifetime. Learn more:
- Quality time
Children often think walking is boring. They complain, or they find distractions. But this is a chance for you to spend time together without interruptions. Walking from place to place gives you and your child a chance to talk about what is going on in your lives, and it allows for some great one-on-one or family communication. Take advantage of it!
- Physical health
Walking benefits both you and your child on a physical level. It is beneficial for your heart, for your joints, and for your muscles. It also stimulates your metabolism. It improves balance and coordination. No matter what age you are, walking is good for you, and it is easy enough that the youngest or oldest members of the family can join in. Especially today, when children tend to spend time indoors on a computer or playing video games, it is important to encourage everyone to spend time on physical activities.
- Emotional balance
The simple act of walking makes you aware of your body, your heartbeat, and your breath. All these things help people regulate their emotions. If your child is feeling upset or emotional, take a nice walk together. Just by moving their bodies, they can feel more calm and collected. It is also an opportunity to talk about your child’s emotions without the pressure of being face to face at a table.
- Connect with nature
In the words of John Muir, “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” Connecting with nature brings us closer to the world around us. The landscape we drive through every day becomes new when we walk in it. Nature is everywhere, even on the busy streets of Manhattan – you just have to look. When you walk together every day, you can notice together how trees change with the seasons, and how flowers comes and go. This connection with nature can be fleeting in t modern lives, but it helps us find joy and appreciate each other, wherever we go.
- Stimulate your mind
German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” Walking gives you the space to make connections between ideas and be inspired by your surroundings. By observing the world, your child can learn new facts and meet new people. When you walk together, you can incorporate aspects of what your child is learning at school to make learning fun and interactive. If your child does not learn well from books, then walking in the world is a great way to make school interesting again.
- Develop family traditions
Children who learned to enjoy walking with their parents will acquire it as a habit for their whole life. If they truly like it, they will pass it on to their children, and their children will walk with your great grandchildren. Spending time together is the best way to form the kind of close bonds that last generations.
Nowadays, walking time is scarce. We spend our times going between cars, trains, and buildings, without time to look around us. At the same time, it is more and more important to stay connected with each other and with nature. Walking with your child can be more than just moving from point A to Point B: it can be meditative, imaginative, educational, and intimate.