Please note: I must confess that due to the recent cough and cold pandemic that has taken over my home, we haven’t been so mindful of our favorite family activity. However, I am looking forward to this weekend, when finally, we’ll all be together and not suffer from a booger, flemy cough or Kleenex pit stop. That’s hoping the weather will cooperate!
As I become more and more involved with my son’s enthusiasm for the outdoors, I realize that I must embrace his every move, interest and need to be outdoors. We live in a safe neighborhood, but oddly enough there isn’t a park or safe walking trail for about 2 miles away. That being said, my husband and I have decided to enrich our family’s evening routine with a walk around our neighborhood 2-4 times every evening. This newly formed “habit” has become a staple and something we look forward to, even on the weekends when we aren’t necessarily following routine.
Something achieved at such an early age, benefits our life in so many ways. There are so many perks to a simple daily walk with your family.
•Inexpensive: May cost double capri-suns, if a pit-stop is involved.
•Time to Catch Up: Each family member can use a lap to update the family with their day’s events
•Treat as an incentive/reward for finishing dinner/homework: The walk will not happen unless all responsibilities have been met
•Enjoy outdoors vs. televisions and video games: The television is hardly thought of, much less on
•Wears the children out: Evening walks lead to bath time which lead to bedtime
•Familiarize with surroundings and neighbors: Allot an extra 30 minutes for several stops, including: meeting new neighbors, a “Pet-Stop” with the neighborhood kitty and my favorite- to stop and smell the neighbors ever blooming roses
•Healthy Lifestyle: Increases heart health, helps prevent dementia, increases Vitamin D levels, beautifies your legs…..shall I go on? There are thousands of websites devoted to the healthy habit of walking.
And if taking walks around the neighborhood seem to be too monotonous for you, there are many amenities the Rio Grande Valley has to offer. Between Roma and Brownsville, we have an array of nature trails that are family friendly and make a day of walking seem like an outdoor adventure for your little ones. It also gives them the opportunity to practice their library voice. Local jewels that will make for a memorable walk: Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen, Edinburg Scenic Wetlands, Bentsen-Rio Grande Park in Mission, World Birding Center in Weslaco (Estero Llano Grande State Park), Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge Trail,Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in Cameron County and who can forget South Padre Island? Most cities are now adopting and reserving specific right-a-ways as designated walking trails. McAllen has several throughout the city, and it has been in the talks to connect with designated walking trails that will lead up to University Drive (Highway 107) in Edinburg. I believe Harlingen has 25+ miles in total between city parks and walking trails and the city of Mission has bike trails accompanied with walking trails, which by the way all include hilly inclines! Additionally, with an increase in healthy lifestyle events occurring around the Valley, there are usually family fun run/walk events which coincide with the longer route runs. All or most of the above locations and events are ADA compliant and allow strollers and wheelchairs.
Before you walk the walk, remember to pack an extra water, spf 15 or above, caps/hats and sunglasses if the sun is out, stay away from walks between 11a-3p for upcoming months. Although, it feels like a sauna for 5 months in a row, believe it or not the average high is 94 and average low is 74 during the months of May to September according to The Weather Channel. There are fun apps and websites that can help you decide when and where to take your walk and track it all at the same time: Map My Walk, All Trails, RGVevents.com, mvevents.com or your local newspaper.
Remember, families that walk together…..talk together!