Walk it Out 1 of 12
It sounds too simple to be true, but taking a brisk, daily walk, even for 15 minutes, can change your life. Doing so will jumpstart your new years exercise plan and speed up your metabolism. At under a half hour a day, its easy to fit into your routine and doesn't require a gym membership or a personal trainer. But if you need more convincing, here are 10 reasons how walking can even make you a better parent.
Walk it Out 2 of 12
1: It'll get you in touch with nature
Its kind of cute when my toddler grabs my cell and tromps around babbling as if she were in a real conversation, but her fascination with technology is also mildly freaky. If youre worried your kid is overstimulated by electronics, step outside. There are many more interesting things to be seen while on a walk around your neighborhood, no matter where you live, than on a cell phone or computer. Besides, Id much rather her marvel at real birds than Angry Birds any day.
Explore the outdoors with these 25 nature activities for kids
Walk it Out 3 of 12
2: It keeps you healthy
Yes, chasing kids around all day is exhausting, but just because youre tired at days end doesn't necessarily mean that youre getting the recommended amount of exercise to stay healthy. A daily walk is the perfect go-to workout for parents who can'talways get away for a half hour and it will actually increase your energy. The American Heart Association, which recently began the Start! Walking campaign, says that a 30-minute walk each day will help you to maintain a healthy weight, lower blood pressure and even make you live longer.
Get motivated by learning about 8 unexpected benefits of exercise
Walk it Out 4 of 12
3: It relieves stress
Whether you are home with the kids or in an office for most of the day, even a short walk, 5-10 minutes, can help you to feel more relaxed and focused. If you wake up feeling super anxious about what the day is going to bring, or how you are going to handle everything thats on your plate, take a relaxing stroll. It may help you to think more clearly, as will stepping outside for some fresh air and a quick break. Hey, smokers do it all the time, so don't feel like you arent allowed to take a few minutes here and there. It may also help to promote creativity, so youll do better at home, or at work.
Do moms need a time-out from parenting?
Walk it Out 5 of 12
4: It's a good way to connect
The after dinner walk is one of my favorite times to chill out and actually get to talk to my husband instead of just falling asleep on him. (Its also a good time to fill him in on the cuteness and the terror he missed that day). When our daughter was an infant, she would fall asleep as we pushed her. Now, she chats to us from her stroller, but its still a good way to settle her down for the night. Walking after a meal improves digestion, too, whereas lying on the couch in a coma-like state probably does not.
Spice up your marriage with these 9 simple ideas
Walk it Out 6 of 12
5: It's a good time-killer
Maybe its just postpartum hormones (theyre still around after 19 months, right?), but sometimes after playing games, reading the same book 17 times and cleaning up nine bajillion messes, the late afternoon starts to creep slowly by (until 5:30 when my husband walks in and get cussed out almost immediately). Best way to kill 30 minutes and prevent obscenities: stroll, stroll, stroll. Having something to do on those long afternoons is crucial, and a week (or a day!) without a parental meltdown will make you feel like a huge parenting success.
Are parents allowed to throw tantrums? The top 15 mommy meltdown moments
Walk it Out 7 of 12
6: It can provide much-needed quiet time
If there is one thing that motivates me to get the stroller moving day after day, its the quiet time. Toddlers are completely insane. I love mine, but she rarely stops talking long enough for her mother to finish a thought (let alone write this article). But while being pushed in the stroller, shes usually fairly quiet while watching the world around her. These moments where I can simply let my mind wander are epic. Maybe it won't last an entire 30 minutes, but even just a few can feel like a mental massage.
Need more incentive? 8 ways having a toddler is like hosting a frat party
Walk it Out 8 of 12
7: It sets a positive example
There are few greater gifts we can give our children than to teach them the importance of being active. A daily walk might seem simple, and it is, but making this a habit will ingrain in them the power of exercise. Doing so will help you and your kids live active lives instead of sedentary ones, so lead by example and improve your life while you do. Raising active children lowers their risk (and yours) for obesity and a variety of health problems, as well.
Are kids lazier today — and are parents to blame?
Walk it Out 9 of 12
8: It'll keep the mess to a minimum
Hear me out on this one: Keeping a kid inside all day is kind of like caging a wild beast. On rainy, snowy, or sick days, the inside of my house starts to look like it was burglarized, repeatedly. So now we all own great rain and snow gear. The more time we spend outdoors, the cleaner we keep our homes by default. Of course convincing your kids to go outside for 30 minutes in crappy weather can be a challenge, so just make sure you give it a fun angle (ie: were going to search for the best puddles in the neighborhood!).
And even if you — try not to care about house cleaning , it could still drive you crazy!
Walk it Out 10 of 12
9: It'll keep you familiar with the neighborhood
I live smack dab in the middle of the country, so when I take walks with my family, its mostly around cows and pigs, which is awesome in its own way. But for those of you who live slightly closer to civilization, you have the opportunity to explore an actual community, filled with people to meet and things to do. The world looks pretty different once you have kids and you might be surprised at whats out there. Taking a walk is a great way to explore your town, neighborhood, or in my case, pasture.
Worry your town isn't exciting enough? — Remember there are many simple things that can fascinate your child!
Walk it Out 11 of 12
10: It's an excuse not to use the car seat
On top of all of the not-so-obvious reasons to take a walk, it is still a great way to get somewhere, too! Honestly, I know they are completely necessary, but I am so over car-seats I could scream. Maybe its partially because the first one we had permanently damaged my wrist from taking it in and out of the car several times a day, or maybe because my daughter always seems to find some week-old snack under all the straps and buckles. If youre sick and tired of getting kids in and out of the car then just walk, at least to the places that are close enough to do so. Itll also save you money on gas!
Although there may be some places that are better left kid-free — like these 11 spots!
Walk it Out 12 of 12