Essential Guide for Nature Walks with the Whole Family

If you’re looking for the full fitness experience, the great outdoors is where all magic truly meets. The fresh oxygen rejuvenates the spirit, the break from routine gives your brain space, and the leisurely walk hardly feels like exercise at all. Furthermore, walking outdoors is such a low-impact and enjoyable activity that the whole family can join in, from your kids to your grandparents, to even the dog. Make your next nature walk a fun, safe outing for everyone with these helpful tips:

Preparation
Before you even walk out the door, assemble a list of items that you may need on your journey. This should include: comfortable walking shoes, “just in case” raincoats, hats, sunscreen, bandages, water bottles, and bug spray. You will probably find yourself adding to the list each time you go on one of these adventures too, as you learn what additional pieces would be beneficial to have.

Snacks to Pack
Part of your preparation may involve packing some food items to prevent the family from getting grumpy. The most popular choices for hiking are dried fruit, nuts, energy bars, and granola bars. While you’re at it, why not consider bringing a whole picnic along, and don’t forget to load up on water!

Exercise for Seniors
No matter what the age group, nature walks are one of the best ways to get in shape without realizing you’re even exercising. But if you decide to take your workout outdoors, be conscious of others. If seniors are involved, invest in a trekking pole, stick to the clear pathways, and rest when they look like they’re out of breath. With these small considerations, a casual stroll can be all the regular movement they need, by stretching muscles, strengthening joint flexibility, and keeping those endorphins flowing.

Exercise for Children
On the other side, a nature walk is the perfect place for your kids to burn off their excess energy. Encourage this exercise by playing hide and seek, climbing trees, balancing on logs, or suggesting a scavenger hunt (by seeking pine cones, acorns, leaves etc). At the same time, be vigilant to not let them out of your sight!

Let the Children Get Dirty
With the last point in mind, let your kids be kids and grant them the permission to be free. Admire their fun spirit as they chase creatures, build monuments out of sticks, or jump in puddles, getting dirty and wet all the way. These activities will help build their immune system, and besides, clothes can be washed at the end of the day, can’t they?

Ask Someone Else to Lead
Even if this outdoor trip was your idea, convince another participant to take control, as this will build their confidence and get them more involved. This simple request will help elders feel like less of a burden, easing the expedition to their own pace, and allowing them to enjoy the scenery. Conversely, a child leader will use this opportunity to explore independently, guided by their curiosity, whilst teaching you a thing or two while they’re at it.

Enjoy the Silence
The full therapeutic value of outdoor wanderings comes within the quiet, so propose to everyone involved that they concentrate on nature’s voice, listening to the birds, the insects, the wind rustling in the trees, and the cracking of twigs beneath your footsteps.

Make It Educational
Expand minds by bringing a nature book along with you and collectively identifying different plants, insects, woodland creatures, birds, and animal tracks, whilst learning about their properties as you move forward. Look under rocks and take interesting leaves or stones back home to investigate even closer.

Take Photos
Obviously, you can’t bring the whole forest back home with you, and that’s where the camera comes in. Take shots of different items you come across and analyze them later, capturing these observations forever. Ask any seniors to take control of the photography to help spark their interest, and snap hundreds of photos of your kids, as nothing is quite as special as a picture of your little one having a blast in a natural environment.

The Social Aspect
Finally, the most important facet of a family nature walk is to remember: this is fundamentally a social event. It gives you a chance to bond with your clan whilst losing track of time, far away from life’s usual bustle. For your elderly loved ones, in particular, this can be a considerably rewarding experience, as seniors often feel lonely in their retirement years, and such an effortless thrill could be a warming treat that lasts for days. And as for your kids, it’s an excellent opportunity to tear them away from their computer screens at least.

 

Image courtesy of [radnatt] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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