Exercising With Kids: Walking
A question I had when I first started losing weight is “How do you exercise with kids?”. Of course, I was originally seeking how to fit exercise in with all the other duties a mom has. However, I’ve tried taking on a new approach- how do I exercise with my children?
If there is any easy way to get a little exercise in and include children, it is walking. Walking is something we do most of the day anyway. We walk from the table to the sink, from the cubicle to the break room, or from the house to the mailbox. Taking your kids for walks is a great way to not only exercise with them, but to spend some quality time together as well.
As far as “equipment” goes, there isn’t a whole lot that is needed: shoes, socks, and maybe a stroller.
Shoes/socks. Unless you are a caveman, my bet is that you already have shoes and socks. It is a good idea to have some shoes that are going to give you support for walking, but they don’t have to be fancy or expensive. I’ve gone for walks in gym shoes, sandals, and even my Sunday shoes. Just use the shoes that are comfortable and give you enough support.
Strollers. I can’t think of any mom I know who doesn’t own a stroller. In fact, I currently have three strollers: an umbrella stroller, a double stroller (the one I use the most when walking), and a double jogging stroller. If you would like a stroller but think you can’t afford one, check out some classified ads or yard sale groups. All of my strollers (except one) have been bought second hand. A stroller isn’t necessary to go walking with your kids, but it sure comes in handy!
Where To Walk
What I love about going for walks with kids is the sky is the limit. You can walk anywhere!
The neighborhood. This is probably the easiest way to get a walk in – just head out the door! Sometimes the kids and I will just walk out and choose which way we want to go. We have fun as we walk around and look at parts of the neighborhood we may not visit that often. We’ll talk about all the different things that we see (trees, birds, cars, etc.). It’s a fun way to really get to know the area where we live.
Parks. Most parks that I’ve seen have walking paths all around them. Even if there isn’t a playground, there is some kind of path. This is a great place to walk around with the children and just look at everything around. And if there is a playground, it’s a great way to start – or finish – a nice time at the park.
Other destinations. If you are bored of your neighborhood or the nearby park, why not choose another destination to walk to? Start with something close by and plan a route. Once you get more used to walking around, choose destinations a little further away. Last year, PJ, AJ, and I took the stroller and headed out to a home that was sponsoring a little train ride. I hadn’t planned the route very well (I’d mixed up east and west with the address), but we still had fun.
Walking is simple to do when the weather has turned stormy or cold: do it inside. If you have a big house, you could walk around your house. However, if you’re like me and your home is less than 1000 square feet, that is going to get old real quick. Thankfully there are other places that you can go.
Mall. I credit a lot of my first 45-pound weight loss to walking around at the mall. My local mall opens the doors at 7 a.m. so that people can walk around before all the stores open. PJ, AJ, and I have had several fun walks in the mall when it’s open, though it is sometimes crowded and I’ve had to nicely tell several salespeople “no”. I can talk with my children about the different decorations or window displays. We sometimes stop so they can throw a coin in the fountain or look at the fireplace. More often than not, we either start or end the walk with a trip to the mall’s playground. Honestly, the mall is probably one of my favorite places to go for a walk.
Other stores. If you don’t have a mall in your area, I’m sure there are other stores nearby. I’ve heard of people going for walks in Wal-Mart, Target, or other similar places (though I would recommend avoiding toy stores when involving the children). What’s nice about these is you can use the shopping cart as a “stroller.” Most of the stores I’ve seen are about the size of a high school football field. That means walking around the perimeter of the store just four times will equal about a mile! The multi-tasking mom can obviously use this as a time to get some shopping done. However, if you are like me and sometimes just want to go for a walk, leave the cash/credit cards at home to avoid giving in to temptation!
Whether you choose to have nice talks or simply enjoy your surroundings, walking is a simple way to fit some exercise into your day while including your children.