Families in the East Midlands are being encouraged to make the most of the summer holidays by heading out for a walk.
And to help people get started, the Ramblers is sharing its top five tips on how to make walking fun and offering free routes for people to follow.
Not only is walking good exercise for all the family, helping them to get fit and stay healthy, it’s also a great way to tempt children away from the Xbox or TV and an easy and free way to keep them entertained.
The Ramblers top five tips are:
Make it an adventure - Don’t suggest ‘going for a walk’, make it an outing or adventure to somewhere like a park, a playground, woods or a pond. You could even treat them to a picnic or take something to eat and drink along the way.
Take it nice and slow - Be prepared to go at their pace, stopping to play and look at things on the way, and to cut the walk short if they get tired. With regular walking children will build up their fitness just as an adult does but keep walks short until you know about their abilities.
Go prepared - Make sure they have comfortable clothes and shoes, extra layers in case of rain and a hat and sun cream too.
Bring a friend, team up with another family, or join a Ramblers group walk that’s suitable for families.
Get creative - You could plan fun activities and games like a treasure hunt or “I Spy”. Look out for animals, birds, trees, people, buildings, colours, or collect tree seeds, leaves, shells and small stones. Take photographs along the way they can put in a walker’s diary.
And to help families discover exciting new walks, the Ramblers has developed hundreds of routes throughout Great Britain that can be downloaded for free from www.ramblers.org.uk/ramblersroutes, with even more available for members.
“Summer holidays are the perfect opportunity to start walking regularly as a family and it’s a brilliant way for children to discover the great outdoors,” said Simon Barnett, The Ramblers director of walking development.
“Head out somewhere with plenty of different features for youngsters to explore, like a coastal walk with rockpools, a stroll around a lake where they can learn to skim stones or a wander through the forest with logs to climb and wildlife to spot. By turning your walk into an adventure, everyone will have fun.
“Walking also counts towards the recommended hour that children should be active for every day to stay healthy. Introducing children to regular walking helps them to form habits that will ensure a long and healthy life.”
Ramblers members enjoy access to more than 45,000 walks led by Ramblers volunteers each year, as well as exclusive walking routes that can be downloaded and quarterly editions of Walk magazine.
Their membership also helps to protect the region’s footpaths for generations to come.
For more information on becoming a member, visit www.ramblers.org.uk/become-a-member.