You don’t have to trek hours into the woods lugging a backpack and camping supplies to reap the benefits of hiking. Hiking and walking are essentially the same thing. Although briskly walking around your neighborhood for thirty to sixty minutes, three to five times a week, is good for your heart, taking in some scenery other than your neighborhood can be good for your mind, too. Your family hike can be something you do once every couple of months or something you do weekly. Studies comparing people who don’t exercise to those who incorporate light to moderate exercise into their lives at least three times per week have demonstrated that the benefits include decreased heart disease, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, decreased obesity, prevention or control of diabetes, and improved longevity.
Keep it fun and plan ahead, whether you and your family go on a weekend camping trip or just out for a day hike. Start by packing healthy meals and snacks.
Trail mix can be a delicious and nutritious snack for around the house, but why not take some on your family hiking adventure? Half of the fun is making it with your kids. Let them choose the ingredients they want. Make a trip to the market and buy granola, nuts, pretzels, unsweetened cereals, and air-popped popcorn. Mix and season to your family’s taste.
These are great blogs about hiking with your family:
Family Hiking Blog: Hiking with Kids
Check out these books for further reading:
Hiking with Kids: Taking Those First Steps with Kids
Nature’s Playground: Activities, Crafts, and Games to Encourage Children to Get Outdoors
Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder