Yes, I used to hate to walk. It was slow and boring. Today, you get a peek into my walk with my 4 year old girlie.
We're lucky that here in Columbus, OH we have several nice parks and trails within a 10-30 minute drive.
We don't usually think about kids needing (from a biological health and development perspective) to walk.
After all, they're usually pretty active when they're young - moving around, playing, learning new skills (like how to cut their stuffed horse's mane, behind closed doors of course), etc.
Play is great, but it's not a substitute for the weight bearing, health generating benefits of walking.
Walking and bone density
Think about this - your maximum bone density threshold is set by age 18-20.
In other words, the bone density that you had at age 18-20 is your bone density ceiling. You'll never be able to exceed that density.
You can maintain it, you can lose it, you can get it back again but you can never have more bone mineral density than you did at that age.
What plays a huge (huge!) role in bone density? Load. As in the load that you're asking your bones to bear.
The more you load your bones in the first 18-20 years of your life, the greater the bone mineral density of your bones.
How do we maximize the load to our bones? Whole body movement.
What's the best whole body movement you can do for your long-term health and maximum bone density? Walking.
And so my girlie and I walk.
We play swords with sticks we find.
We pretend we're outrunning a variety of "vicious" animals.
We balance on old wooden street signs that line the path. Girlie practices reading her letters.
We squat to get a closer look at things on the ground or in the creek.
Sometimes I get to play the role of the stubborn child who won't listen when her mom tells her to "come on!".
Sometimes we pretend we're deer - one time she practiced her deer call to a stranger on the path. Fortunately he was amused. Inevitably she has to pee at some point.
Lest you think it's all fun and games, today we were mosquito food and there was a fair bit of whining about being tired, which meant there was a fair bit of carrying almost 50lbs on my back.
There was also the time of Great Wailing when a gnat flew in her eye.
But we still had fun. We saw beautiful flowers and an interesting red bug. Girlie caught her second wind at the end and enjoyed running down the hill and through the field grass.
Some days we pack a picnic and have a playground as our 1/2 way mark.
We've seen turkeys and deer and an albino squirrel.
I adore when my girlie shows me something she finds beautiful or interesting, often something I would've otherwise missed like the time she spotted 2 deer grazing back in the woods off the path.
Today we talked about going backpacking when she gets a little older. We're both pretty excited about that.