Walking Provides Benefits to Young Children

I took a walk with my son this past weekend. Actually, he’s four-and-a-half months old so I did the walking and got a good arm workout pushing the stroller.

I normally think of The Daily Mile in the context of my work. I never think about how The Daily Mile could look in someone’s personal life. Our walk this weekend helped me reframe my thinking. Sure, my son couldn’t take part in the walking. And the only word he could contribute to any conversation was “ung-uh” (his current favorite). But I was getting a great workout. And I was connecting with my son. It turns out bringing him along meant he was getting tons of benefits too…

Brain developmentĀ 

Researchers found that taking a walk outside helps baby’s brains develop. That’s because outside they’re surrounded by different types of stimulation not seen indoors. Being exposed to different stimuli helps with cognitive development. We felt a breeze on our face. That’s a sensory cue. We looked at the contrast between the tall green trees and the sky. Easy visual stimulation.

Language skillsĀ 

Ok, I admit when I first saw this finding listed in the research it stumped me for a minute. I couldn’t find the connection between walking and language. Then I realized it was simple. Our walk provided us with things for me to talk about so I could engage with him in a different way. If a bird flew overhead, I would name the species. If he cocked his head when he heard a dog bark, I would describe what the dog looked like.

Don’t take my word for it. Check out the benefits in this study for yourself here.

My son and I are going to keep up with our Daily Mile. It’s the perfect opportunity for me to connect with him. And to instill a lifetime love of physical activity. He might be simply along for the ride now, but it won’t be long before he’s toddling and then running along beside me.

Alexis Rawley

Community Care Specialist

The Daily Mile USA