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'I like that walking makes us all happy'

May sees the return of National Walking Month, and regular exercise is a great way for little ones to burn off some energy.

Living Streets’ Jane Rickwood writes about the importance of letting kids lead the way (Try 20 tip number 10) and why walking has so many health and wellbeing benefits for children and young people. 

Jane Rickwood

Walking has always been a big part of our family life. We tend to walk or cycle to most places – or we use public transport. My daughter Eleanor, who’s ten, is very creative and is always making up and writing stories. And that’s what she likes about walking, just looking at the stuff that’s around us, and especially nature. She says she likes spotting what flowers and plants come up in different seasons, knowing that snowdrops and crocuses come first in spring. She gets inspired when she’s out and about.

We both enjoy that walking is exercise but doesn’t feel like it, and spending time together. We chat and cover all kinds of topics, and walk in all seasons. I like that she’s learning about where we live and the wider world. She’s confident chatting to neighbours that we bump into, she’s learning about traffic and how to cross roads and is getting a sense of what the local area is like – it’s all building her confidence.

Ultimately I like that walking makes us all happy. We walk a lot as a family, walking the dog, visiting grandparents, spending time with school friends and nipping to the shops. We’ve got some lovely parks near us and know all the cut-throughs and short-cuts that keep us away from busy roads. On holidays it’s a really good way of discovering an area and secret green spaces.

It can take you away like it did in Bristol where we walked for miles through a real variety of areas before realising just how far we’d got. Eleanor is always looking up and around, finding pleasure in the every day things that are all around her. You can’t help but feel better for going out for a walk.

About the author

Living Streets