Friday's 5 Fitness Tips — Hiking With Kids
OK, so it’s actually 4p.m. Thursday as we publish this, but we wanted to give you some extra time to get excited about your active weekend with our Friday’s 5 Fitness Tips. This week’s tips come from Stonewear Ambassador Tami Mittan. We hope you enjoy this regular addition to the Live Stonewear! Blog.
Most moms have a busy schedule. With young children and working full time outside the home, I am no exception. I have learned that a great way to combine two of my loves, staying fit and having time to enjoy the outdoors, is to take my kids along with me on the trail.
Here are my 5 Tips for Hiking With Kids
- Start them young. Invest in a comfortable child carrier, and wear your kids when you hike. Starting them at an early age will help get them used to being out there on the trail, and will hopefully instill in them a fun, positive association with outdoor activity.
- Get them appropriate footwear. You wouldn’t hike in worn-smooth Crocs, so please don’t expect your child to (Sadly, I’ve seen this before on the trails). It’s not safe. I realize it’s expensive to keep kids in a true hiking boot, in addition to their other footwear needs. So we either watch for good clearance prices on kids hiking shoes/boots, or we have them wear a properly laced tennis shoe with good tread.
- Head to a fun sight or destination. Even on loop trails, we try to pick areas with a unique natural feature that they will get to see at some point during the hike. I think it both builds appreciation for natural beauty, and keeps them motivated with something to look forward to. Be it a lake, waterfall, petrified sand dune carved out by wind & time (a local favorite of ours), or maybe an unknown something that you are all on the lookout to discover!
- Bring SPF, bug spray, extra clothing layers, hats, snacks, and plenty of water. Sounds like a lot, but planning pays off. Even though kids seem to have endless amounts of energy – they’ll need some re-fueling power. We even bring snacks along on shorter hikes–my daughter sees “The Picnic Stop” as a big highlight. Energy bars, pretzels, almonds, and chocolate are typical standards in my backpack on family hikes. Older kids can carry their own water in a light-weight, smaller pack. Hats can be priceless for either warmth or sun protection. And having an extra layer of clothing is always a good precaution – be it a dry, long sleeve T-shirt or a fleece for yourself and each child. We always tie one around our waists to free up pack space.
- Don’t overdo it. Again, kids seem to have boundless energy. But if you are starting from scratch with a typical kid who spends the majority of their time in school, or relaxing and watching a screen…keep their fitness level in mind. Select the shorter trails at first, and you can work your way up together.
And if you are the one toting a young one in a child carrier, check out Stonewear’s Rockin’ Jacket. It is the softest, most comfortable layer I have ever worn under a heavy pack, and I highly recommend it!
By Tami Mittan – Colorado Mountain Mom, Stonewear Ambassador