Walking for More

This year our oldest little fella started Kindergarten. A massive milestone that, despite my firm belief that it wouldn't bother me, knocked me right on my butt. But I'll save that for another post when it's ready to come out. These last few months we've been biking and walking to school - something I wished I could do as a kid. Something that my boys love waking up and doing.

One morning we were late - strapped for time because (for the nine-millionth time) why does no one have their shoes on yet?! - I was scooping up all of our things to rush out to the car when I saw the boys half-way down the sidewalk. I was about to call after them to tell them we were going to drive and then I reconsidered.

As we made our way, haphazardly down the sidewalk towards the school I couldn't help but feel overjoyed. Things like physical literacy, play, and active living have been a huge consideration for us as parents since day one - thanks Dr. Mark Tremblay. Being mindful of these things lead to us playing - all the time. Playing outside, inside, on things, under things, unsupervised, in the cold, in the heat. Play is our jam. With play came a whole lot of active transportation - it wasn't about the destination, it was about the journey. The walk along the pathway, through the fields, over the big rocks, and sometimes ending up at the park.

Three years ago I intentionally walked, every day. I did it because walking brings me joy, because it feels good to be outside in nature, because I like the time alone, and because it helps to settle my mind. I did it because I want my boys to be active, happy, and healthy. It was a fun year, a year of discovering time for me again, discovering what brings me joy, and how a simple thing like walking made so many positive shifts in my life. So many people joined me for walks, wrote encouragement, or went out on their own walks. And perhaps the biggest thing that happened, without me even knowing, was the habit that formed in my children. "How about we go for a walk" was a common suggestion from me that year.

Our routines have changed a fair amount in the last year. The boys are older now, they play more independently from me and better with each other. My pace has changed too, I have taken on more in my role at Vivo, and so I spend more time working. Sometimes, in the hustle of the day, I lose sight of walking and I feel an urgency to get through my work. Nothing softens my heart, slows my pace, and resets my compass more than one of the boys asking to go for a walk. It sometimes feels exhausting, like another thing to do, but every time I stop and think about it it's always the right thing to do. The last time we went for an impromptu walk I found myself smiling to myself - nerd alert - our playful feedback loop must be working. For that whole year that I walked, I definitely convinced the boys to join me on many a walk - typically out of obligation. Now, three years later they convince me to take the time, to slow down, to get up and move my body, to play with them - to walk.

I care about play and physical literacy because these are things that I believe are part of the foundation for a healthy life. I truly believe that when kids are given the space to play, and jump, and risk, that they will be healthier, more resilient, social humans. And I don't just believe it for fun - there's real research to back it up! I also believe in the importance of the role model. I whole-heartedly believe monkey-see, monkey-do and it's a funny thing because when we choose to give our children a healthy life the result is a healthier life for us. So as we head into another new year I'm gearing up to start again - committing to another year of #walking365

Just like last time, I'll be sharing my journey on Instagram @love.from.maria - feel free to follow along, go for your own walk, or join me for one - I'd love it.

- lovefrommaria


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