Let's get this out of the way upfront: self-improvement can be hard.
There are so many suggestions, products, diets, routines, and people shouting advice that it's overwhelming. Your time, money, and energy is limited. It's hard to even know where to start. We think a good first step is literally taking a first step. The simple act of walking, especially in green spaces, is a more powerful tool than you might realize. Most people have a feeling that spending time outdoors is good for us, but that feeling is backed up by some hard scientific evidence. Kids and parents both benefit from a simple walk in the woods.
Walking is good for the body
When you think of exercise, you might conjure images of barbells, marathon running, and kickboxing. But you don't have to be an elite athlete to exercise. Walking is an accessible, low impact way to achieve better health. There are obvious benefits like improved cardiovascular function. As you walk, your lungs, heart, legs get a great workout. That increased activity burns calories and helps prevent obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
But there are also more subtle improvements you can expect from walking. Your joints will thank you, especially your knees and hips. Walking helps keep the joints moving smoothly and strengthens the muscles around the joints to reduce stress on them.
You may be thinking, "This all sounds great, but it's cold out. I don't want to get sick." No problem. Walking has actually been shown to boost your immune system. So dress for the weather and hit the trail!
Nature is good for the mind
As healthy as walking is, you double your impact by walking in nature. There has been a lot of recent research linking time spent in outdoor spaces to improved mental and emotional wellbeing. Let's rundown some of the benefits of spending time outdoors.
- Reduced stress
- Reduced symptoms of ADHD and Depression
- Improved focus and cognitive function
- Improved sleep
- Improved imagination and creative thinking
Walking in Nature Builds Family Bonds
Spending time together on a trail is a fantastic way to strengthen the bonds of family. As you improve your health together, make discoveries with your kids. Put down the mobile devices and examine the environment around you. There are lots of things hiding in every greenspace. Animals and insects busy themselves collecting food, playing, and protecting their territory. Flowers bloom and trees sway in the breeze. See what you can find and share your discoveries with your family.
Need some help? Every Kids in Parks TRACK Trail has a collection of activity brochures that will help you explore. Find a TRACK Trail near you at https://www.kidsinparks.com/find-an-adventure/
It All Starts With One Step
Making time for just a 20 minute walk every day can have an enormous impact on the health of your family. Whether you vistit a local park, take a roadtrip to some wild place, or just walk around your neighborhood, you will be growing healthier together. All it takes is a pair of shoes and the motivation to take that first step.