We try to go walking as a family at least a few times a week. Sometimes it’s hard to fit in the time to do it with the work I bring home, the homework time, cooking dinner, and the late drives home, but we’ve found that when we find the time to go walking, the benefits are well worth it. So, why should your family go for walks? Let’s let at it from a few different angles!
Why Should Your Family Go for Walks?
- It’s time away from the television, which the children really need. According to a Nielsen Report from 2014, children ages 2-11 spend an average of about 24 hours watching television and those from the age of 12-18 spend about 20 hours watching television. Divide that by 7 and that’s more than 3 hours per day in some cases and children go to school part of the day, which means that some children spend most of the time that they’re not in school watching television. Time to go for a walk!!
- Adults need time away from the television too. Yeah. That’s right. Do you know adults spend more time watching television than children? Adults ages 25-34 spend an average of about 33 hours per week watching television and the number just goes up from there. We need the time away from the television as much as our children do.
- Time to bond! Our family tries to bond at the dinner table too, but the family walk is another time that we get to spend talking to each other. It’s also a time that my husband and I actually get to talk a little more without the television staring us in the face. Bonding off of the couch works much better for us.
- Exercise gets endorphins flowing. You’ve heard about endorphins, right? Those feel-good chemicals? We could all use those! Exercise has been known to help people suffering from depression, fibromyalgia, anxiety, and a whole host of other disorders.
- Energy release–sleep aid. Squeaker has trouble sleeping most nights, but the nights after we go for a nice, long walk, he tends to have a much easier time. Maybe he works out some of his own anxieties. Maybe it’s about him getting a release of energy. Maybe it’s a combination of a bunch of things. All I know is, when we go for walks, everyone tends to sleep better around here. If you’ve got some high-energy kids in your home and you’ve not tried exercise, this might be something to work on.
We try to fit in shorter family walks in a 2-3 times during the work week, but we get in longer walks that take us more than an hour at least once during the weekend. During those walks, we point out the things that we see and try to make the walk interesting for the kids. Sometimes they can get resistant to wanting to walk, and we try to recapture their attention by pointing things out to them that might get them going a couple of extra feet, like a dandelion that needs blowing or a gigantic ant hill or a bee drinking nectar. The idea is not to keep going every single second of the walk, but to enjoy time with family while walking, so stopping and taking in nature or letting the kids crunch of leaves with their feet every now and then doesn’t matter as long as it keeps the walk–and the family time–going.
How often do you go on walks with your family?