In this episode Katy is talking walking, specifically walking with kids. In the spring of 2022, Katy was invited to speak at the very gorgeous, very tree-rich Orcas Island and this is a recording of her favorite ways to get kids walking more.
Katy recorded this live appearance so more of you could benefit from straightforward and joyful tips to get kids on the move. Many of these tips were mentioned in her latest book Grow Wild: The Whole-Child, Whole-Family, Nature-Rich Guide to Moving More, but she has expanded on each tip or trick in the hopes that you can turn these tips into the movement you’ve been looking for.
We hope you enjoy this live recording of this outdoor playground talk, where there are trucks driving by, birds chirping, and we think a toddler walking off with Katy's microphone at one point, because... these are the sounds of life.
(time codes are approximate)
00:02:42 - Tip #1 - Get okay with whining – (Jump to section)
00:10:30 - Tip #2 - Start them early - (Jump to section)
00:11:05 - Tip #3 - Make walking a “have to” - (Jump to section)
00:11:40 - Tip #4 - Let them choose and lead the walk – (Jump to section)
00:14:40 - Tip #5 - Don’t worry about speed or distance – (Jump to section)
00:17:15 - Tip #6 - Bring friends + walking playdates - (Jump to section)
00:19:50 - Tip #7 - Walking games- (Jump to section)
00:26:05 - Tip #8 - Walk for transportation – (Jump to section)
00:28:50 - Tip #9 - Early morning/after dinner or dinner walks - (Jump to section)
00:32:25 - Tip #10 - Use walking as a means to something else- (Jump to section)
00:34:30 - Bonus content – (Jump to section)
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THE SHOW
This is the Move Your DNA podcast, a show where movement science meets your everyday life. I am Katy Bowman – biomechanist, author, and parent. All bodies are welcome here. Let’s get moving.
Thanks for joining me, y’all. Today we’re talking walking, specifically walking with kids. So, last month, I was invited to speak at the very gorgeous, very tree-rich Orcas Island, up here in Washington State. One of those talks was at the Funhouse Commons - and this is an organization, and a space, dedicated to the island’s youth. They have very rich programming in art, science, and homework support, nature education, physical fitness, for very young children to teens, and their families. It’s a gorgeous place and it's a gorgeous mission and I was very happy to be able to speak there. So, what did I speak about? I gave a talk on 10 Ways to Get Kids Walking More, from Toddlers to Tweens.
So, you likely already know that walking is a major “movement food group” for human bodies (and if you didn’t know that, you haven’t been paying much attention - test, test, is this thing even on?). Even more urgently kids’ developing bodies need the specific loads that come from traveling on foot, and establishing this habit early on in their life can make staying active easier throughout their lifetime.
And walking is also a family-friendly way for everyone to increase their daily movement, time spent in nature, and amount of play and exploration. And with early and regular exposure, children can walk farther than you think. But there are tricks of the trade!
So, in this episode, I’m sharing a portion of the talk. I recorded it so that more of you could benefit from straightforward and joyful tips to get kids on the move. Many of these tips were mentioned in my latest book Grow Wild: The Whole-Child, Whole-Family, Nature-Rich Guide to Moving More, but I’ve expanded on each tip or trick in the hopes that you can turn these tips into the movement you’ve been looking for.
I hope you enjoy this live recording of this outdoor playground talk, where there are trucks driving by, and birds chirping. And I think a toddler actually walks off with my microphone at one point. But, these are just the sounds of life, aren't they? Here we go.
KATY: Well thanks everyone for coming. And I have my notes here because I wanted to make something easy because I can go on and on and I tend to a lot. So I wanted to keep myself to just 10 things that make walking a little bit easier, considerations for walking. And I oriented this toddlers to pre-teens. Obviously, there's going to be some physiological differences but I kept teens out because I just feel like teens are their own separate entity and it just makes me think of my most ... the fact I love about teens the most which is: teens really tend to move best in groups of three, five, and seven because they can't even. (laughter) Yeah. Yeah. I thought so.
PARTICIPANT: Took me a second
KATY: Yeah, that one takes a little bit. Especially because I did not present it as a joke. It's like a biomechanic tidbit and you're like "what are the mechanics of that?"
Participant: I'm so amazed to think what is it about three, five, and seven.
KATY: I know. I know. That's why you shouldn't believe everything you hear. Ok, so my first tip for being able to walk more, in general, and this would go for teens but also pre-teens to toddlers is: As the alloparent (so I use the term alloparents in Grow Wild, this is a book I wrote called Grow Wild, alloparents are really anyone who is creating a space for children. So it is parents, it's grandparents, it's teachers, it's programs like the Funhouse - where you are considering the space that children occupy. But then that's every other space too because we're sort of rare culture aware children don't have equal welcoming in all spaces. There are spaces for children and spaces not for children. And again, that's something that you don't really see cross-culturally so much. We're really - that's kind of unique to our culture. Is that whoever is in charge of the walk, or leading the walk, you need to get over the whining part. (laughter) Just to know - whining is sort of like an inevitable thing that is going to happen. And I think that many people feel like, "my child is whining about the walk so therefore we shouldn't do it." But it's sort of like, I always say, we have this paradox with our human body. The human body has a tremendous need for movement. And it also has the genetic tendency to avoid movement at all costs to conserve energy. So that's the paradox that we're dealing with. It's only in this modern environment where movement has become so optional, we're constantly creating a movement-free environment, that you have to muster the choice, the willpower to move. Where before the environment really required movement. So it makes sense that you come with a "no you can rest right now. You don't have to move as much." because the demand for movement was so ubiquitous and every minute of human life right up into relatively speaking a few minutes ago.
So get over the whining and I have two children. I have a nine-year-old and almost eleven-year-old. And we just know that whining is part of the transition. We always say that kids don't like transitions and I would argue that grown-ups really don't like transitions either. We all struggle with transitions. It's just that we tend to be, grown-ups tend to be in control of the transitions that they're making. So if you stack the transition with the lack of autonomy and now someone is telling you it's time to transition you get whining. And so, and my husband used to always say too, "our kids tend to whine always. Even when they're doing exactly what they want to be doing." So if you're going to whine we might as well be doing what I want to be doing. And we might as well be doing the thing that we need to do. And that goes for the children and for the grown-up as well.
Let's just talk about the need for walking for a second. I'm not going to get too much into movement as nutrition, but movement operates as dietary nutrition as well. So if you were to think about the dietary food pyramid, it's organized by the types of foods or the food groups that you need the most of. And then there are at the top of the pyramid are things that you require, they're essentials, but you need much less volume of them than what's at the base. So as far as movement goes, for humans, walking is going to be one of the base food groups for movement. Where cartwheeling might be at the top. Right? So you just have to think, we don't really think about the physio... we know there's a physiological benefit to simply moving or staying active.
As a biomechanist, I get down to the nuts and bolts and the cells and tissues, and we have a range of nutrients that our body needs. So I wrote just a little bit about walking. I'm just gonna read it here because I already wrote it so I might as well just do that. And it's been edited so you know it's going to be even better than what I come up with on the fly. So this is just a little bit on walking. And I weave walking into lots of other aspects of life but this is just a short little blip on walking:
Walking is one of the most mechanical-nutrient-dense movements available. (So just think about it for a second. You are standing on your legs. Your arms are swinging. You're loading a lot of your body parts at once. A lot of body parts are doing different things.) Walking uses many body parts, it uses the “pumping” action of our legs which helps circulate blood and lymph through our bodies, and the impact of our feet hitting the ground assists our bones and our brain. Until very recently, humans (as a group) have always walked a lot, and walking is part of why humans came to be shaped the way we are. Walking is also one of the simplest ways to get a lot of movement (it’s free and you don’t need any equipment!) and the most practical: if you’re looking to move more while also getting non-movement tasks done each day, your movement has to be able to travel.
While families will adapt this advice ... (and there's a lot of advice on walking and how to walk and where to walk in this book which I'll also give you today.) While families will adapt this advice to their unique situations and abilities, I suggest you and your family walk (and/or roll a wheelchair! (if that's what you need)) more. I suggest walking to the store and walking school busses, and walking play dates, and walking birthday parties (and do not roll your eyes until you’ve tried it - it's amazing) for all those who are able. I, and all the experts and researchers of movement, have been saying folks need to walk more, but humans still aren’t doing so. We keep walking less. That's why I’m going to stop saying “walk more” and instead show you how stacking this particular movement back into most other parts of your life is likely the key to you getting more of the experiences you’ve been looking for.
Ok, so I did 1. Get over the whining. Think it of dynamic whining. It's whining on foot. It doesn't matter. You're going to pack up and you're gonna go. And it fades out over time. Once a transition is done and everyone is engaged in the walking it'll just be like anything else. It's what you're doing now. So just do not let whining be the deterrent. IT's inevitable. There's going to be whining about something else in a short period of time anyway so you might as well be walking.
Ok, tip two is start them early. So as early as possible. So, obviously, when you have toddlers this is the good time to get started, especially because whining is way less in toddlers. Toddlers want to be walking. They do not often want to be in the confines of places. They're ready. They're already looking for my next walk. Your eyes are on me? I'm gonna go walk over there. They're like sheep and fences. They're just gonna keep pushing and testing to see where they can get out. So if you cultivate the habit early, it really pays off in the long run. And that kind of falls into #3 which is:
Make Walking a Have To. And what I mean by a “have to” is, I think that if you were to look at - there's a lot of things that kids do that fall into “have to”. You have to brush your teeth. You have to eat your vegetable. You have to do your chores. You have to do your homework. Whatever your “have tos” are, whether you call them a have to or not they're a category of items that you recognize are not really non-negotiable. Yeah, you don't like it. So you can't get out of brushing your teeth just because you don't like it. And it's really that you are holding the space for this having to be a have to that eventually the child's like, "Oh this is a thing we do." So for us, we didn't even use that language, "Oh you have to take a walk every day. That's what our legs..." It's the same argument that we make for many types of behaviors in our house. Everyone has their own family culture. So you can pull out what your family “have tos” are and just put movement into it. Because movement is as - it's as an important of a need as dietary nutrition. That's what a nutrient is. A nutrient is, if you don't get it, something goes awry in the body. That's how you get classified as a nutrient. Is there is a whole predictable set of symptoms that arise in the absence of a nutrient. That's how we have vitamin A and B and C and D. These have been identified as humans in their absence will experience a particular set of symptoms that can be remedied by introducing the compound back in. And movement falls into that category as well.
Tip 4 and it goes for toddlers but I say it's really helpful when you start getting into older kids a little bit, especially when they start to exert their opinions as I like to call them is let them choose the walk. So we'd tend to say "We're going on a walk and here's where we're going and here's the time that we have to do it. But it really helps if you ask, "Where would you like to walk. Where would you like to set the route? What different routes do we have? Which ones are your favorite? Which ones do you want to take?" Because then you get over the fact that they're doing something that they don't want to do but you've given some of the autonomy back. Right? And if we have a lot of resistance because it's not only what we don't want to do, it's a have to, but that we don't have the control over it. You've fixed that problem a little bit. And also let them lead. You don't have to pick. "Let's just go out for..."
Yesterday we used the seven-minute thing with our kids. They didn't want to go. We were at a state park and were camp firing out there and we hadn't done a walk yet - we'd been driving. And I said, "We need to take a walk. I want to take a walk." And I said, "Well, let's just head out for 7 minutes. Kids, you pick the direction. And we'll reevaluate how we feel at 7 minutes." Because they never want to come back in after 7 minutes. 7 minutes is how long those 8-minute abs tapes and books and there's four exercises. They try to lowball what you have to do because then momentum takes over. It's just the resistance. Again, it's inertia. We all have to deal with inertia. And it's the resistance that we have to changing our state. It's what physicists call transitions. You have to deal with your inertia. And after 7 minutes we ended up being out there for 45 and they didn't want to turn around. But we needed to because of other tips that I'll get to here in a second.
Five is don't worry about the speed or the distance that you're traveling. We try to make walking about fitness, right? I've got to walk for fitness. But think about for children especially I think about walking sort of equivalent to play. Play is, and I break it down in Grow Wild. There's organized and non-organized activities. Most things used to be unorganized. You'd just get together. If you go to a lot of other countries... there's not soccer camp at this time but there's a soccer ball. And then there's kids who come to just play in the field and then maybe they make up their own rules. And then there's a breakout game of tag. It's just more free-flowing. And you can make your walks feel like that by not making it always go forward or fast. I do think that toddlers and even pre-teens too, they want to go off-road. They want to stop and climb the tree. They want to look at the bugs.
And as we struggle, there's a simultaneous nature-deficit issue that's arisen and it's not coincidentally arising along our sedentary issue, right? Because where does movement happen? Where does creative movement happen? It usually happens outside unless you have a very expensive pre-built infrastructure that people would have to travel to be able to do. So it's this idea that you can learn how to go off-road, and I don't necessarily mean wandering off a trail as much as, going rogue in your mind. Like I'm not gonna keep taking steps only forward. I'm gonna squat, I'm gonna poke at a bug. And this can happen in very urban landscapes and it can happen in very rural landscapes. It's this idea that the container that you are holding for what you would call a walk is actually much broader in what can be happening. And if you, as a parent or an alloparent, are "but I just want to move my body" then great, figure out how you can move your body when they are otherwise in place on the walk.
So whether that's - I mean I used to do - I'm just gonna stand here and stretch or do a yoga pose on the trail while you do yours and now we're moving together and then we go on to the next step. The idea is we're outside together, moving, on foot and I'll categorize that loosely as walking.
Tip six is bring friends or organize walking play dates. One of the things I've learned most about having children and dealing with large groups of children is children are more interested in what their peer groups just above them are doing than what the adults too far age removed are doing. They don't care about you. You're too far along whatever development cycling. So if you're four, "what are the 5-year-olds doing". If you're eleven, "what are the 12-year-olds doing." All my kids learning how to swim or snowboard or jump off something is always because a kid slightly older than them did it and that's all they needed in their mind to know that this was next for them. And so when you take groups of kids, especially multi-aged children, within a nice range, they lead each other. You no longer have to be the driving force. It just becomes this natural - I don’t know what it is.
It's fascinating. I could have a whole other career it would be studying kids just like Dian Fossey would study the apes. It would be like, what is the driving force. That's how I feel watching this. This is a phenomenon. This is a thing. IT's pretty cool. And that would just mean if you want to take a walk every day that you find another group of parents or a preschool or whatever it is - other people out there doing the same thing - it just makes it so much easier and enjoyable. It's just another playdate at this point. It's not a walk that has to be endured or a walk that you're waiting for it to be over. And this still works with 11 and 12-year-olds. We'll be like, "We're gonna go on a walk?" "Who are we going with?" "These people" "Great!"
That's the thing. They just want to know who. That's the arch of child development. Once you get to 8 or 9 there's a shift towards peers in general. Even toddlers and younger children, while they're still interested in what their peers are doing, they're very parent centric or they're very primary adult-centric. Once you get to 8 or 9, there's a shift where you're not as centric anymore. By the time you get to eleven, you're really peer-oriented and you're supposed to be that way. Your parents are still lugging you around. So it really helps if you're having a hard time getting your children active is, find other children who are already active or groups where you can slowly all merge more active on the other side together. So that definitely helps.
What we did yesterday is number 7 - Walking Games. So we have been using walking games as a way to increase the mileage. So we always - I'm trying to think - we always walk our birthday miles. So our kids have always been able to walk their years at their age. But when I think about the first 10 or 12-mile walk that we did, our kids were probably 5 and 6. Now it's an all-day affair. So you might be able to walk 12 miles in three hours. No, it's an 11-hour - you can figure a one-mile an hour pace. People were like, I did the PCT, I did one 10 mile walk with my kids. I feel exactly the same. It's just that. You refrain from the mile it takes. It is how you spend the day. And you need to pack and plan accordingly.
I think that we have a belief that they can't walk very far, but it has a lot to do with their - I can count, no I can't count, I probably could count because it hasn't been that many, but a regular phenomenon for us is to come home from a 7 or a 10-mile walk that we've done when we've been - we usually save them for camping or a holiday or a weekend or something special - birthdays - they're so exhausted from the walk, they're so tired, they just want to stop and climb this tree. And then they get back to camp and they sprint back - they're so tired. I really realized that children use fatigue and boredom in the same way. There are clear signs of a fatigued child - eyes closing. And then there's just "I'm bored and I don't want to do this anymore and I can't muster anymore". So those are two separate things. So it takes a while to discern between the two but I do think that one of the reasons kids like to go off-trail is that it allows them natural ways of resting some muscles and using other muscles. So if you want to do a long walk you need to plan some of these "Oh you can just hang out here and play." They want to snack or rest or get off their legs. So that would be even, we used to play - and we used this even for short walks - like it's after dinner and we haven't done our walk - grab the frisbee. Walking frisbee. Where you just run ahead. And they'll go four miles playing frisbee, just take the word walk out of it, because it's play. And kids have a much more tremendous capacity for play. So that, hungry bear - which is - these are nature school games where you walk - it works really well in the forest here - you're walking and you say I'm getting hungry and everyone has to disappear behind you and you turn around and if you can spot anyone, you get to eat them. Camouflage as the kids get older and more artistic they really like to practice hiding or camouflaging. They can't get behind anything but they have to figure out their colors and it's art for them.
KATY: And their shape and their shadows. And so it's turned more sophisticated as they've gotten older. I mean, they're hiding in...
(child speaks in microphone)
KATY: So that was the game we were playing yesterday that turned into 40 minutes and the sun was going down.
(child tries to take microphone)
KATY: So another reason that I find walking so important is I kinda touched on it briefly in the section I read from the book. There's the physiological benefits of walking. Very valuable to the human body but another section of my work is really that there's a social responsibility in walking. Walking and the amount that we walk relates to - and this isn't just for walking this is about movement in general - we are in a sedentary culture. And a lot of the issues that we deal with socially have to do with being a sedentary culture. And so walking and exercise have become sort of play and for fun extras that we can do.
What I also like to just always remind everyone that moving our bodies physically for the things that we need is another categorization of movement that isn't exercise. It's something that most of the world does. A lot of people have to move their bodies for what they need on a regular basis. And that goes within our country as well, but again, the United States and other countries have made a much more rapid transition towards sedentarism that other countries haven't made or other cultures haven't made.
KATY: So I do like to also teach my kids through modeling not necessarily direct teaching, that walking is transportation. Moving for what - you moving physically for what you need is responsible. It's a responsible thing to do. It's not only for your physical benefit that we do it. We do it because it needs to be done. And then - and then that way I don't like to make walking all about games and all about play. Sometimes it's "Well we need to go to the store" and we're not going to drive to the store. It's really hard, in a time when we're really teaching environmental education and social justice and so many things, alongside of that really needs to be addressed this sedentary issue and how these relate to the fact that we often don't want to move for the things that we need.
And so walking - so one of my tips is number 8 - which would be walking for transportation. Just the idea that you walk for transportation. And it can - it can be fun, it can be playful. But it is also, it falls under a category of movement that I would call work, not exercise. It's you physically exchanging your body for the thing that you need. So that can be to and from school. Also, it could be partway. I think people feel, I can't walk because where I want to go is far away. Great. Then drive part way. Or drive to the point at which you can. "I only have 20 minutes before and after work" whatever the timing is, just adjust it to fit. Driving partway is still fine. It means that you're also increasing your steps per day.
So this is also part of walking for something that you get. This would be like walking for a treat. And it's different - I don't mean bribery. I know some people who are like, "If you just do this hike I'll give you three suckers." That's the bribery. That's the exchange for "What do I get if I do the walk. you get the walk." But what I mean is if there's a special treat or you want to do something: "We want to get pizza or we want to get ice cream." "Great. Let's walk," Because it's not that - it's hard to separate what a reward is in your mind. I don't know that a squirrel doesn't see an acorn for a reward. That's what you got for working. I think it's more like, "If you don't get up and get it, then you don't get to eat." Now we don't have that sort of pressure now in this culture, but we could use probably a little more of it. So it's a way of faking it. So we can drive and get whatever we need but there's also - there's an extension of the celebration of the thing when you move a little bit more for it.
So it is just a little bit of variation. It's just learning how to add a walk on to the thing that maybe you were gonna do anyway. Going out to eat is a big treat in our family so we used to walk 2 miles for it. And then it was "let's get up early. We're going to go out to breakfast." And then we had the whole walk there and then the walk back and everyone was just happy and it's ok, you got four miles of walking. And you could just drive and go out to breakfast. You could just do that too, but I'm always trying to figure out ways to add the walk in and it turns out to make breakfast better. It just extends the treat of it, if you will. The breakfast was almost the means to the thing that we all enjoyed much more than the breakfast itself if that makes sense.
Alright, nine. Especially now as we've had the time change, is to really take extra use of your early morning and your later afternoon hours for walking. We do have this idea of we don't go out in the dark, so there is that. And rightly so there are places where you would not want to go out in the dark especially if you're not used to being out there. But I would consider everyone could work on their relationship with moving around in the dark and in the cold, just through practice and maybe gear. But it really has to do with lack of habit. You're just not used to using your non-light hours.
But especially with toddlers, I don't know if anyone else's kids got up at 5 am, right? They do. So that's when I went out on a walk. Instead of getting up and being in the house ... it's like... I'm still up at 5 and I really want to go take a walk first thing in the morning. And I found with my kids, especially when they were younger, you get a flashlight if you needed it, a breakfast snack, and we would walk, in the morning for an hour. And the nature that was coming up that first time and then you have that special quiet time. If you're a working parent: the idea that you could have a whole hour of quality time with your child before going to work and you got exercise and they got exercise? I mean it's really layered.
So I would encourage looking at those times - how can I move. Mugs of warm beverages. That's not a tip. That should be a tip. That's a bonus tip right there. Mugs of warm beverages really make, it's like a treat, it's not really a treat. Warm tea. But the idea of having it out there just adds a level of comfort that you'd stay. And the same thing goes for after hours, evening hours. So many of us are working right up until 5:00 or 6:00 and then it's like we have to have dinner and sit down inside at our table... I don't believe that. So especially when the weather is so dark, we would always use that sundown hour and that first hour after dinner for a walk. Especially for people who are coming back to a family home who haven't gotten to be with their family or they've been sitting. The idea that you go for a walk for dinner, before dinner, or after dinner.
I saw a really good Ted Talk once that said the way your brain works is whatever you spent the last hour of the day doing, your brain feels you did all day. And I thought this is good. Because if we can spend the last hour and a half outside on a hike or some cool thing, you feel like you were, I'm just making a hug with my arms right now, you're just enveloped with everyone doing with nature and your family and time outside afterward. It doesn't even require a family. If you just come home from work and were just like, "Oh I wish I didn't have to work all day and I would love to be outside." Go outside now. And go walk around. Call some friends. Do the same thing with your friends. Everyone brings some hot beverage and bring your dinner and we'll just eat it and we're gonna go walk around the park as the sun goes down. Especially with safety in numbers. If you're feeling insecure, get a group.
Ten is use walking as a means to something else. This is really great for kids or, I mean, this could be a tip specifically for kids. I don't usually mention the walking in this case. So this would be like an art walk. So this is when I have a bag of art supplies, usually pads and watercolors and you hike someplace and then you sit down and you can paint there. And then you walk back. It's just an art walk. You don't even call it a walk. It's like, "We're gonna go out, I want you to paint these things and you're gonna make three different paintings." You're on foot, you're moving around. You used your body to physically do the thing. So artwork is a regular one for us.
Homework walk is another one for us, which is, there's a lot of homework that can be done not sitting down. So kids have often been sitting down all day, so this is that pre-teen, middle years. And then they're supposed to come and sit down even more inside to finish it. And so spelling words, times tables, play lines. These are all things that we do outside. "Explain to me what you're doing right now." There's a lot of things that can be done outside on the move. And just - you even get better results, I think, doing it on the move versus sitting down. Because most of us are such - I mean we're movers by nature. So this idea that you can layer in creativity and remembering is just a good thing to use. Gathering and foraging walks. That could just be harvesting fruit when the fall fruit comes. Grabbing apples for something for your lunch the next day or make something for dessert or dinner. This idea that you're going out to gather. It could be pieces for a centerpiece. It could be another art. The idea is that you're going out to collect stuff. It can be to the beach, it can be rocks, it can be shells. It doesn't really matter. It's creating a little bit of pressure so that the walk happens secondary.
And that's it. Those are my 10 tips. And I just have a little bonus here noted: we categorize walks in different ways. There's loops and kids really have a very complicated categorization of walks. And I had them explain it to me and it's amazing how they see walks. "Is this an out and back?" "Is this a loop?" "Is this a one-way?" And I was like, "Well what's the difference?" And the best thing, what did my daughter say? She said, "If it's an out-and-back, I know I might be able to convince you through whining that we should turn around sooner. But I can't do that on a loop. So I don't even try." And I was like, this is genius insider information that you're giving me. Because I notice that one-way walks were always their best. And the way that we get one-way walks, if you only have one car, or you can drive, you're driving to a place, is that if you have two adults, one adult can drive down to drop you off, drive ahead to wherever your endpoint is (we try to do 4 miles or 5 miles) and then that person gets to enjoy a solo fast walk back to meet the group. And then whoever had the tougher day gets to do the dropping off. And then you come back and then everyone gets to make their way. So we use little tools like that.
And then look for the fun walks in your area that might be interesting to a child. It's usually to see something. It doesn't have to be through a candy cane forest. That's not what I mean. It has some sort of element that would captivate why they would be doing it or going there in the first place.
And then terrain. You want to just be aware of terrain. Hills - I don't think I would ever start a long walk with a big uphill. It's just too challenging. We realized a few years ago that our kids weren't getting enough hills. And then hills, physiologically, I can't walk up this hill anymore. It was too much work and they would perceive their heart rate coming up as "I think I have asthma" or whatever it was. I'm like, "No that's just effort." So we needed to add more hills and we did a summer of different hills. So just those things matter.
And footwear matters. There's a section on apparel in this book because I think a lot of times people aren't wearing the right clothes for movement. We're a sedentary culture. We don't realize that how they're dressed does not set kids up. So boots that come up, oftentimes that pass over the ankle... imagine wearing your Bogs and asking to go on a 20-mile walk in Bogs as an adult where you can sort of understand why things don't hurt and push yourself through it. Now you're just a child and "my foot hurts" and "I can't walk anymore. I'm just gonna sit down and cry". That's how I'm gonna communicate. So being aware of, you know, pants that move and apparel matters. That's part of what movement is. Can all of your different parts articulate and get you through? So those are my tips!
Ok, peeps. What was your favorite tip? Think about it. Which one are you going to try first? Which one made your soul sing a little bit "I could do that or I would love to do that." Think about that one. Just write it down and mull on it for a little while and figure out how a way that you can make it happen. And just remember: You can’t go wrong when you’re going outside to go on a walk. Right? Even if it’s a super short one, like the one I’m going to go take right now to stretch out these podcasting muscles. Grow Wild, everyone.
Ki ora e te Whanauo. Ko Hazel tōku ingoa. My name is Hazel and RES specialist (Restorative Exercise specialist) from Aotearoa New Zealand and this has been Move Your DNA with Katy Bowman, a podcast about movement. Hopefully you find the general information in this podcast informative and helpful. But it is not intended to replace medical advice and should not be used as such. Our theme music was performed by Dan MacCormack. This podcast is produced by Brock Armstrong. And the transcripts are done by Annette Yen. Find out more about Katy, her books, and her movement programs at NutritiousMovement.com. Ka Pai!