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When you’ve got a family, getting out to go walking can be difficult – most children would prefer the PS4 to a 3 mile walk. But with childhood obesity a growing problem for us in the UK, we need to get more children participating in exercise in childhood – and walking is a great way to do that.

Walking in parks and the countryside is such a cheap and easy way to get out and enjoy nature whilst getting in some quality family time and exercise for parents and children.
Encouraging exercise in childood can influence their habits in later life, hopefully leading to a healthier, more active lifestyle.

So how can you get your young ones interesting in walking?  Here are some useful tips...

Tips for encouraging walking & exercise in childhood

Make the idea of exercise sound like fun

Don't say "who wants to go for a walk". Instead ask "who wants to explore the forest". If it sounds like a game, young children are more likely to be excited.

Choose an interesting spot

Make sure that you choose a walking location carefully. Straight routes and flat paths are boring. Children like places where there is lots to look at. They like to climb over things like logs and on beaches and streams. If there is a famous landmark, all the better, whether that be a place linked to a sport or famous person. This is sure to influence them to want to walk and participate in exercise throughout their childhood.

Dress them properly

There's nothing worse than sore feet on what's supposed to be a fun family walk. Make sure that their shoes fit properly and are the right kind of shoes for walking. Likewise, clothes should be loose-fitting and not too hot or cold. Layers are always best. For a real treat, give them a small knapsack to carry. Then they can hold the bits that they find along the way.

Keep the pace slow

There is nothing worse than a parent striding ahead and yelling "come on" or "hurry up". If they want to dawdle, dawdle with them--it is part of the experience.

Make up games as you go

To keep things lively and fun, make up stories, play follow the leader or hide and seek. In the Barrow experiment, they have "log books" for children to fill in, listing things that they have spotted or collected. Treasure maps are fun if they are easy and the "treasure" can be a healthy treat.

Walking with very young children may require a pram or buggy. To ensure an enjoyable walk, it’s helpful to find out in advance whether the route you are taking will be accessible. On the Walks Around Britain website, the number of styles and the grading of the route will help you decide whether the walk is suitable for buggies.

Alternatively, use a baby carrier. Baby carriers are great and comfortable for both the child and the adult, and can have an amazing amount of storage too for all those baby-related essentials.

So, there you have it – five tips to encourage walking and exercise in childhood! Planning a family day out? Take a look at our list of country walks available in Northern England, located near to Northern train stations. Plus, you could save up to 65% when you book your train tickets in advance.

Northern App

Streamline your journey and get tickets straight to your phone. Making your journey contact-free.

Northern App

Streamline your journey and get tickets straight to your phone. Making your journey contact-free.