Good morning everyone, I’m Wayne McKenna the Walking Dad,
Thank you for listening and welcome to my first podcast,
Today I’m going to be talking about the advantages of hiking, and mountaineering.
I’ll be specifically going through the advantages to fathers.
As the walking dad I’ll always give things from my perspective and my experience. Ill share what works for me as a father or dad. Now when I keep mentioning fathers it’s because dads have a massively important role to play in a child’s life. That’s not to discount mothers. Obviously, mums are just as important to a child. Many children now don’t have the privilege of growing up with a father, or good step dad. So please take it as interchangeable when I talk about a dad it can be a Mother, Step-dad, or super Grandad.
To our children by default we are heroes, we are larger than life characters. We are the strong ones, the protectors, and hopefully we command love and respect; by showing them unconditional love and respect.
Every dad can be a hero dad, even the small things like taking your kids to a park or for a walk in the woods will be a great experience in their eyes. For some kids just spending time with them regularly even if it’s just weekends are enough to make you a hero dad.
If you show your children that that you can lead them confidently and safely into the great outdoors, on trails and up mountains; you will take this notion of being a hero to another level; your children will see you differently and providing you get it right, and do it safely; you will make memories that stay with you and your children for the rest of your lives.
When you get out and about it’s a given that you will be getting exercise, now you’re not running a marathon or doing anything over-arduous. But walking or trekking up hills is always going to beat sitting on the sofa or pottering in the house.
If you’re new to walking you will feel it in your legs, however you’ll soon recover from this and basically your making your legs stronger. If you want some great calf muscles, then I recommend that get walking up a few hills.
As humans we are not designed to be sat at home or at a desk under false light. We are not designed to be surrounded by the electronic devices and screens that attract us so much. We’re designed to go outdoors, were designed to forage and hunt.
Being out and about in nature gives a great boost to wellbeing; it’s like medicine four our souls. If you can get high up, or to the top of a hill or mountain it is immensely satisfying and a great way to validate your hard work and sacrifice. If you can do this as a parent with your child, then it’s all the more rewarding.
Getting out amongst nature; the greenery, the sights, sound, and smells offer a stark contrast to day to day life.
Also, the physical exercise involved; naturally helps raise mood. Any decent doctor now instead of prescribing you happy pills will ask you do you take exercise. Its clinically proven to have a better effect than SSRI medication that is now the staple medicine of any low mood sufferer
Once you come home after a good walk and have had a nice warm shower or bath and have had something satisfying to eat then you will feel amazing. If your children do the same and perhaps have a hot chocolate; especially on a cold day; they’ll also see what a reward of a simple hot meal and shower is. Something we normally take for granted.
Walking is free
When you set off walking there is no admission fee, no monthly subscription, you don’t have pay a land owner or a guide to walk in the English or Scottish country side its free. You can walk up any mountain without paying a penny to anyone. All national parks and most woods are free.
In the UK there, something called access land (its similar to the right to roam). Access land is open and free to walk over; it covers much of the UK and Scotland’s countryside.
There are areas that are restricted like the working part of farms or around the houses but public footpaths are generally well signposted.
What you will find in some of the more managed walks and trails is a paid for carpark.
The parking fee generally goes towards the upkeep of the paths on the trail and any toilets or local amenities.
If you travel further a field like the lake district, then fuel may be a consideration but the reward of a good walk in the lakes will far out way £20 or so in diesel.
Food, you don’t have to eat out, you would have to eat at home any way so its little bother putting say sandwiches in your bag and taking them with you.
Walking gear and equipment. Well if you are living in the UK then there’s a good chance you and your kids will already own a warm and hopefully waterproof coat.
When your starting out walking its no different than walking through your local park.
So, the first thing you need is a waterproof coat. The next some sturdy footwear that’s also preferably waterproof.
Wellies will do but they are only really good for short walks. For longer walks and as and when you can afford I’d get some walking boots.
The best place for all your walking gear; is a fantastic chain of large stores called Go-Outdoors. You can google your local one. I’ll talk about walking gear in far more detail in future podcasts.
When you do take your family on a hike and get them all back home safely in one piece you will have exercised leadership skills. We all have leadership skills but don’t always get the opportunity to use them. The good thing with walking with your kids is that you can lavish them with praise when they’re doing well, and swiftly correct them if necessary if they do anything dangerous.
You can teach your children important life lessons and give them confidence and independence if done correctly.
Remember you will be away from the trapping and distractions of home, the workplace, school or the supermarket.
If you are out walking you will generally go in the countryside, national parks, forests, or up hills and mountains; all these places offer fantastic scenery. They are fantastic for cherished family photos and in this day and age; they make great profile pics.
If you start with small walks and build up giving your kids positive feedback and praise, they will naturally become more confident with walks, and so will you.
Matthew L. Jacobson; father of 8 and famous writer wrote: “Behind every young child who believes in himself, is a parent who believed first”. If you can negotiate a walk with your child, you will have exercised a solid life skill.
Stronger bond with children
A walk or trek can be joyful, it can also be hard work, especially if you are going up hills. Going through something difficult like this where you are on a journey and have a goal that you must both or all work towards; will naturally form a stronger bond between parent and child. After an enjoyable or arduous walk together, you will also have made good memories, and through the team work will have inspired a degree of confidence into the child and shown them that they can overcome adversity.
As mentioned on the previous point; if you and your child experience some hardship on the way i.e. a hard walk; it will build character for both parent and child
Common advantages for both children and parents
- Quality family Time
Going to the movies can be a great family time, being in your own movie adventure is better. Being out in nature offers countless new experiences. It will build memories that will last forever. Spending the day walking in the countryside or amongst the hills before coming home to a casserole that has been simmering all-day in the slow-cooker is a real treat. I’d recommend it to anyone.
- Talking time
There are no regular distractions when you are out walking, so it’s the perfect time to have deep and meaningful conversations, set the world to rights, and discuss the past week and the future.
In the next podcast I’ll be talking about the types of walk to try.
I’ve been the Walking Dad, thanks for listening, please like and subscribe … Get out walking and carry-on being awesome dads.