How to put a spring back in your step this Christmas

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winter walks

With tougher Covid restrictions meaning many of us have been forced to cancel Christmas plans, it’s easy to feel that the festive period has lost some of its sparkle.

Put a spring back into your step and keep the whole family’s spirits up by joining in with the Festival of Winter Walks, which runs from now until 3 January.

The annual event encourages people to wrap up warm and head out for some fresh air.

Walking is good for the mind, body and soul, and a wonderfully accessible form of exercise for the whole family.

And the good news is, it’s never too early to start. Introducing babies and toddlers to walking helps foster a love of physical exercise from an early age, hopefully providing benefits that will last a lifetime.

These booties were made for walking

Winter walk with baby

In the early days of your baby’s life, you can use a sling, baby carrier or pram to help you get baby out into the fresh air and into the habit of a weekly family walk.

Once your tiny one is a little older, and walking safely without falling over, you can start him or her with short walks outdoors. Be sure to make outings interesting by pointing out what you see along the way, whetting your child’s appetite for exploring. As your intrepid explorer grows, you can venture further and gradually increase the distance.

How far can I go?

It’s not an exact science, but some experts say that children can walk around 1 km for every year of their age. Be guided by your child, you don’t want to tire them out and make walking a chore.

Taking plenty of snacks and drinks along, and walking in interesting places such as forests, should prevent boredom from setting in.

Why is walking so good for us?

winter walks

The NHS recommends that children aged from one to four should get at least 180 minutes of exercise per day and that “children under five should not be inactive for long periods, except when they're asleep”.

Alongside playing, walking is an easy way to burn off pent up energy and clock up the recommended minutes of exercise that’s so beneficial for health and development.

For adults, walking also has a whole heap of wellbeing benefits. According to Walking For Health it “improves self-perception and self-esteem, mood and sleep quality, and it reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue. Physically active people have up to a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed and staying active helps those who are depressed recover.”

Walking is also an inexpensive way for us to reconnect with nature and spend uninterrupted time together as a family. So why not head outdoors today? 

When out and about, please ensure that you stay safe and follow the Covid rules that apply for your tier/area.  



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