The start of a new year is the perfect opportunity to establish positive habits that will benefit all the family. Striding away the festive excess in preparation for Spring’s arrival is motivation enough but couple this with the joy of an activity shared, is surely the best reward. Here, LittleLife, experts in outdoor gear for families, shares reasons to keep your family active this winter.
Oh baby it’s cold outside
Up and down the country, the UK offers some spectacular walks. Whether you blast away the cobwebs along a blustery coastal path or take a crisp stroll through countryside, little walkers and babies will love the sense of freedom, not to mention spotting the early signs of spring. From the crunch of frosted grass under foot to crocus heads poking up from a blanket of snow, there is always something to enjoy!
During the cold winter months, it can be hard to prise yourself and the children from the warmth of a cosy home - but evidence points to the myriad of health benefits to be had. So, pull on your coats, don your wellies and get outdoors. Here’s LittleLife’s six reasons that show you're right to insist on that family walk!
Six reasons to whack on the wellies
1. Easy for all to do and improves overall wellbeing
Walking is a low-impact and steady activity that gently boosts circulation and increases levels of mood and energy boosting hormones adrenalin and endorphin. What’s more, because you can take it slow and steady, there’s no reason Granny and Grandad can’t partake either. A truly multi-generational activity!
2. Improve child's physical development and emotional wellbeing
A recent study from the University of Essex revealed that as little as five minutes of outdoor play improves a child's mental wellbeing and self-esteem. What’s more, it supports the development of your child’s essential fine motor skills, core strength and co-ordination. Indeed, jumping over puddles and balancing on logs are great examples of activities that help with this.
3. Cold weather activity activates brown fat
According to fitness expert Peta Bee, humans are pre-programmed to respond positively to cold temperatures with the activation of 'good' fat, namely brown adipose tissue (BAT) or brown fat. When humans are cold, this metabolically active tissue launches into action to warm up the body. Ditch the Christmas excess and get striding!
4. Getting outside combats SAD
Walking outside for 30 minutes, three times a week, can help combat the effects of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD researcher Professor Lance Workman recommends walking early morning or midday on a sunny day, even in winter because the amount of light that hits your eyes will be around 30,000 lux (the measure of luminance) compared to around 500 lux in a reasonably well-lit room!
5. Going slow helps you reconnect
A slow steady pace gives you the chance to slow your mind and become more aware of the people around you and allows you the space to meaningfully reconnect. So be sure to take is easy, chat and gently amble around the country lanes or through the park, leaving your devices at home.
6. A walk helps to focus your mind
A review by Public Health England found that walking improves mood, quality of sleep, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels and can help to reduce anxiety. Pulling on those walking boots has never seemed so attractive.
Little explorers but big adventures
LittleLife is on a mission to help families stay active through the chillier months and believes wholeheartedly that you’re never too young to enjoy the benefits of the great outdoors. We have a range of outdoor gear for families so that freedom and fresh air is only a footstep away. Here are our top four picks.
Four products to help you enjoy the great outdoors with LittleLife
1. Ranger S2 Child Carrier
The lightest British Standard framed back carrier at only 1.7kg, the Ranger S2 is perfect for short walks in town or country.
The Ranger S2 features an adjustable back system, and the patented ‘anchor point’ to add stability when placing a child in the carrier. It also includes handy top grab handles, soft face pad, two useful hip pockets and the option for a six-litre storage pouch (available to buy separately).
Spec: Suitable for babies from 6 – 36m, Suitable for adults 1.57 – 1.87m, Max load 20kg, Dimensions 260 x 280 x 750mm.
2. Hi-Vis Dinosaur Toddler ActionPak
This super-bright Dinosaur Toddler ActionPak combines a high-visibility fabric with decorative prints, making it ideal for being seen when light levels are low. It also features a padded grab handle and waist strap which is designed specifically to help when teaching children to ride a bike, scooter or simply for parents who may need to keep a hold of energetic kids. It’s ideal to keep young adventurers safe, seen and active!
Spec: Designed for toddlers aged 1 to 3, but for older kids aged 3+ there is the larger Kids version.
3. Family First Aid Kit
Every so often, kids will have a bump or a graze and it is important to have a first aid kit handy, just in case. The Family First Aid Kit is ideal for days out, short breaks or family holidays. It contains all the necessary basic first aid items you are likely to need to treat most common injuries and children will love the ‘little star’ stickers which can be awarded for bravery.
4. Car Seat Protector
This car seat protector prevents stains and spills from messy passengers. It is compatible with all child car seats as well as front and rear-facing car seats and features a non-slip surface with easy access to seat belt and ISOFIX points. There is also a handy front storage pocket for cups and toys.