By Raphael Kiefer
Hiking is a sport that takes a lot of your body to move. To ask all of these for a kid might look very unhealthy but, if you take things step by step with them, it might be one of the best activities you will do as a family.
Here are some benefits.
1. It’s healthy
We all know that fresh air, sunshine (or rain) and moving your body is good for us. They say hiking, even slowly, is way more effective than running on a treadmill and even the shortest walk has its benefits.
2. Family bonding
Some hikes are short and some are long but, on the trail there is always time for conversation and moments we will never forget. In the future, we may not recall all the details, but we will always remember how we felt.
3. It builds character
When we are challenged, we reveal more of ourselves. We unmask that side that we don’t want other people to see. On a hike, we will meet the doers, the quitters, the fighters, the pretenders, the reckless and the motivators.
How does your child react to adversity? Will she push through when it gets challenging? And how about you? What kind of leader will you be? Remember; you may be observing your child but she is studying you too. This is character building at its purest.
The act of “observation” is the first step of the modern scientific method. By being exposed to nature, young minds have more room to ‘wonder’ and be curious about how things work. Perhaps they end up doing do more research on the computer rather than wasting time on it. The smartest man in the world, Albert Einstein once said: Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.
5. Empathy and responsibility
When we become familiar with the world around us, we begin to develop love for it. The more we familiarize ourselves with nature, the more we will want to protect it. She will learn about proper garbage disposal. Your child will also learn to be careful and how to manage tricky situations because one mistake on the trail can lead to injury.
At the end of the day, hiking will not appeal to everyone but it is definitely one of the healthiest and safest hobbies out there. So if you want to do it, the next question becomes; How do I start? For one, you may research “child-friendly hikes” or “Beginner hikes” online. I have my personal tried and tested favorites which I will publish next time or if you can’t wait, you may also message me on Instagram (rapha_kiefer) for tips. Or better yet, check out my daughters IG account (alana_kiefer) and see it all from her perspective.
The best time to start is now. Do it for your kids and do it for yourself.
Remember, life begins at the end of your comfort zone.