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Sunday, November 17, 2019

Happy National Hiking Day! 10 Benefits of Hiking With Children

Photo by free-photos (pixabay)

November 17th is National hiking day and there's no better time to gather the family and hit the trails for a family hike. And, apart from being fun, there are so many benefits to taking the kids out into nature for some fresh air.

Stay Fit

Hiking is a wonderful way to stay fit and active, and for some it is more enjoyable than heading to the gym or a fitness class. Children and parents alike can stretch their legs and get a full-body workout, trekking over various terrain, be it flat or steep, there's still a good workout to be had.

Exposure to Sunshine and Vitamin D

In addition to exercise, hikers can benefit from a good dose of vitamin D. Vitamin D is important to our bodies and helps our bodies improve kidney function and aids in the absorption of calcium. It also helps to boost one's mood; making for a happy hiker and a healthy hiker.

Perform Better Academically

Growing evidence suggests that exercise can help students perform better academically. Hiking is an excellent way to clear the mind. Taking a needed break to recharge with fresh air, can aid in concentration once called back to their academic studies.

Build Self-esteem

Hiking can be a great way to build children's self-esteem. By taking the lead on a nature walk or hike, children can learn how to lead others. Learning the appropriate trail symbols can also allow them to put their learned skills into practice.

Exposure to Wildlife

Exploring nature and experiencing wildlife is a great way to open a child's eyes to the world around them. Learning to identify the plants and animals around them, and how they impact their ecosystem can help them to develop an appreciation for how all nature work in harmony. With guidance, children may also begin to grasp the concepts of interconnectivity in their own ecosystems and communities.

Cultivating Curiosity

Developing a curiosity for nature from a young age can help students develop a love of the sciences and reinforce concepts learned in the classroom. A family hike also gives young students the opportunity to teach their family about what they've been learning in school. The act of teaching empowers the students and helps them to build on and develop connections between the classroom and the real world.

Environmentalism

Hiking is also a good way to teach environmentalism. The next time your family is out enjoying a hike, bring along an empty trash bag to be filled with trash picked up along the trail. This act of community service teaches children the important concept of "leave no trace" and respecting the natural environment. This is also something that can be done on a smaller scale and with younger children at a local park.

Encourage Low-Tech Bonding

Hiking is largely low-tech. And while hikers might carry a GPS, there's no need to have phones and tablets out. By taking the screens out of the way, children are empowered to make real connections in real-time. Enjoy some one-on-one time with the family and reconnect in nature.

Teaches Life Skills

Hiking can teach us many things, including life skills that can translate into different aspects of life, including leadership skills, a good sense of direction, the importance of being observant. Problem-solving is also tested out on the trails as hikers may need to troubleshoot problems along the way.

Meeting New People

When out hiking, you never know what connections you might make. Hikers may be inclined to be friendly and start up conversations trailside, creating the opportunity to make new friends and meet people who share a passion for nature and the outdoors.

Five More Reasons to Hike with Your Kids

Hiking with Kids

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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