A family walk is a great way to connect while being physically active. Like any routine, though, you may be feeling the need to spice it up. If your family is in a walking rut, Nebraska Extension Educator Hannah Guenther suggests these four tips to boost the fun for everyone.
Come with Questions: One of the best parts of family walks is not the physical activity. It is the time to talk with each other. Very rarely do we get one-on-one time, without a screen or other distractions vying for our attention. When we walk, it is easier to focus on one another and a great time to ask questions. Conversation starters are great for getting our chats going. They can be as simple as, "What should we have for dinner?" They can be as thoughtful as, "What is one thing you are thankful for right now?" Sometimes we even get silly with, "Would you rather have purple spots all over your skin or green hair?"
Listen to Music or Books: It is a good idea to take your phone on walks in case of an emergency, but it also can be used to listen to music. You might end up dancing more than walking, but that adds the perfect amount of spice to your routine. If music isn't your thing, try an audiobook. Instead of counting the minutes, walk until you complete a chapter. What a great way to exercise your body and mind!
Track Your Mileage: Stay motivated by setting goals and tracking your mileage. Start our watch or other tracking device at the beginning of your walk, walk until you are ready to stop. Check your tracking device and when you realize how close you are to a full mile, it might just be the motivation you need to keep going. Creative tip: You can take it one step farther by making a mileage paper chain. For each mile walked, add a link so your child can have a fun, interactive visual.
Change Your Scenery: You can only walk to the stop sign or around the block so many times! When you begin to sense burnout with your route, it may be time for a change of scenery. This can be as simple as doing your normal route in reverse, or you might try that new walking path you notice on your drive every day. Most communities have access to walking paths or trails – do some research to find new views you can enjoy while being active.
For more information, on walking contact your local Nebraska Extension Office or on the web at: food.unl.edu Nebraska Extension In Our Grit, Our Glory.
UN–L for Families
Nancy Frecks, Extension Educator