Expert / 6 May, 2024 / My Baba

Every Step Counts: Maximising Your Daily Walks With Your Baby

Whether you’re a brand-new parent or your baby is already taking their first steps, chances are you both feel better when you get out of the house every day. This handy list of tips will help you maximise the benefits – and joys – of a daily walk with your little one.

Discover new areas

Whether you are in a city or green space, there’s lots to see on a daily walk. You could try a new route from your home, or pop on a bus or train to visit a less familiar part of town.

Living Streets’ Tanya Braun is the proud mum of seven-month-old twins Lois and Kit and three-year-old Elliot. She says: “I’ve really enjoyed getting to know different places around my neighbourhood. I discovered there’s a meet-up for new parents in a local café, now I go every week.”

Enjoy the springtime colours

Blossom, daffodils, tulips – even the birds are showing off their colours in spring! Walking is the perfect way for you and your baby to relax and connect with nature. The good news is that pausing to watch a baby squirrel climb a tree is actually good for your mental health.

Taking time to absorb the sights, smells and sounds you encounter redirects your mental awareness of the environment. This can help to quiet your mind and focus on the present moment, rather than worrying about the pile of washing at home. Feeling a sense of calm can reduce your heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension.

Describe what you see

Heading outdoors provides a wealth of benefits for your baby’s cognitive development. In fact, according to a recent study, the outdoor sensory experience can promote early language development, compared to spending time indoors.

Simply talking to your baby as you walk and describing some of the things you are seeing will help you experience the world through their eyes, too.

Use it as ‘me’ time if your baby is asleep

Your little one will sleep a lot in those first few months, and fresh air is also great for helping a grouchy baby to calm down and drift off. While they’re sleeping, you can finally get some time to yourself. Why not pop on headphones and listen to your favourite tunes, or discover some new ones?

Tanya Braun explains how she makes the most of her daily walks with twins: “I listen to podcasts as I walk around or get a takeaway coffee and watch the world go by. It’s a moment of calm that helps me relax.”

Be prepared

Go out ready for every little adventure. Things like dressing your baby in the right clothes for the weather, equipping yourselves with a suitable pram, and sourcing a child-friendly café, can make a big difference to the enjoyment of your outing for you both.

Walk with a friend

Chances are you’re not feeling yourself after welcoming a new baby into the world, and you might be one of the 43% of parents who feel lonely all the time.

Research shows that walking with another person can alleviate stress and loneliness and even boost your cognitive function. It’s a chance to catch up, celebrate your little one’s milestones and can provide comradery to help you through the tough parts of parenting.

And if you don’t have anyone to share your walks with just yet, don’t worry. No doubt you’ll bump into a neighbour or friend while you’re out walking with your baby. Why not invite them on the next walk?

Don’t worry about hitting 10,000 steps

Even a 20-minute walk has been proven to have health benefits for you, as well as boosting your baby’s development. A University of Cambridge study from 2023 found that a short daily walk can prevent one in 10 early deaths, as well as improving fitness, sleep and heart health in the long run.

A fast-paced short walk is enough to reduce the risk of developing heart disease and stroke by 17% and cancer by 7%, the findings suggest. So even if you’re only able to get out for a short time, that’s an achievement you can be proud of.

Join Living Streets’ National Walking Month challenge

National Walking Month is organised by Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking. During May, the charity is urging people to #Try20 – and walk for 20 minutes every day to boost their physical and mental wellbeing and experience the magic of walking.

You’ll be joining the thousands of people who take part every year. Visit livingstreets.org.uk/WalkThisMay to find out more and discover #Try20 tips to make your daily walks more exciting, including a scavenger hunt checklist and inspiration for taking mindful photos.

Article written by Living Streets.

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