The British have a family tradition that is dying: the family walk. According to the Telegraph:
Instead, researchers from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Science at Loughborough University found that families are increasingly likely to convene for sedentary activities such as mealtimes and watching television.
A family walk is such a simple idea that can promote the health of every member. From the dog to grandma, going for a promenade in the neighborhood or park is wonderful way to spend quality time together.
Dr. Stacy Clemes of Loughborough University explains:
Lack of physical activity is widely documented across the world as a major risk factor for many chronic diseases.
Despite walking being described as an ideal form of exercise it is concerning to see families worldwide not using this cheap and effective form of exercise to promote their family’s health.
Walking is an inclusive activity, allowing families to share a common interest and spend quality time in the fresh air.
Daily hikes have always been part of my adult life, and I fondly remember taking family walks after large holiday meals as a child. Motley Health further explains the health and family bonding walking can promote:
Walking for as little as 1 mile, which should take only 20 minutes, will help you manage your weight. Walking 2 miles will work better though. Family walks can also help to bring families together. Walking is a time to talk too – just ensure nobody brings an iPod.
It’s not just the Brits that are walking less as a family. Globally, people walk 52% less than they did ten years ago, with the Portuguese being the least likely to walk.
I have to admit I often don’t take my children on my hikes, as I enjoy this alone time, but given this research, I think we will commit to a once a week family hike. If you are looking for a New Year’s resolution for 2010, a weekly family hike would be perfect (I’ve just made it mine).