Walking the ‘Hood’ can empower children. A study out of the University of Westminster in the UK shows that walking through their home neighbourhood gives young people a greater sense of control and autonomy — and that can have a positive impact on their wellbeing.
Walking is a form of exercise that helps young children develop their physical abilities. Regular walks in the neighbourhood can help build strong bones, muscles, and cardiovascular health.
And although walking is considered a low-impact exercise it has been shown to help children maintain a healthy weight. Regular walking can help reduce the risk of obesity-related health problems, such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
Promoting healthy habits from an early age sets the stage for constructive habits in adulthood. Regular walking can help establish healthy habits that can last a lifetime — but walking in the hood has special benefits that have never been considered before now.
Walking The Hood Promotes Positive Cognitive Development
Learning is important for the development of memories and the capacity to recall information. Light activity, such as walking, has been shown to improve learning and memory in children. But walking in familiar surroundings can enhance attention to detail.
Familiarity promotes healthy brain development because it increases the production of growth factors that support the growth of new neurones, and synapses which help to improve overall brain structure and connectivity.
Physical activity increases blood flow to the brain, which can help improve cognitive function. Walking has also been shown to boost creativity because it stimulates creative brain regions.
Walking in nature, in particular, has been shown to boost creativity and improve problem-solving skills. Health experts recommend encouraging children to play in natural surroundings by making nature walks fun and engaging. See our article, How to make nature walks for kids exciting for some great ideas.
Indoor activities such as computer games and social media are having a negative impact on our children’s ability to retain focus and attention. The ‘everything to had environment’ the internet has created is conditioning children to seek immediate stimulation or gratification.
Walking the hood has been shown to improve attention and focus, which can be beneficial for academic performance and the overall well-being of children as they enter adolescence.
Part of the reason for this is that walking also reduces stress and anxiety. This can have a positive impact on cognitive development and self-confidence. When children are less stressed and anxious, they may be better able to focus, learn, and retain information.
Walking The Hood Boosts Confidence and Independence
When young children walk in their home neighbourhood, they have the opportunity to explore and navigate the world around them. This can help them feel more confident and independent as they learn to make decisions and solve problems on their own.
It also helps toddlers to develop a sense of direction from a young age. When children walk around their neighbourhood, they become more familiar with the area which can help them feel more confident and self-assured when navigating their surroundings.
Walking around the neighbourhood can also present young children with unexpected challenges. This might include finding a new route or dealing with unexpected obstacles. These challenges can encourage children to develop problem-solving skills and build confidence in their ability to overcome obstacles.
New challenges subsequently increase autonomy. Walking around the neighbourhood can help children feel more independent and in control of their environment.
As they become more familiar with their surroundings, they may feel more comfortable exploring new areas and have more confidence when taking on challenges.
Spending time in your immediate vicinity also gives young children the opportunity to meet your neighbours. Stopping for a quick chat can provide opportunities for children to interact with others and develop social skills.
When children meet new people, join in local activities, or simply say hello to neighbours, it can help them to feel more connected and secure in their community. This naturally gives them a sense of belonging and boosts confidence.
Meeting up with people in your neighbourhood also provides children with an opportunity to learn from the experiences and perspectives of others. A different view can encourage them to engage in conversations that promote a broader view of the world.
For toddlers, walking can also help to build physical confidence and develop a sense of their own physical abilities. As they walk longer distances or tackle new terrain, they may feel more capable and confident in their physical capacity.
Walking The Hood Encourages Curiosity and Learning
As children walk in their neighbourhood, they may come across new sights, sounds, and experiences that spark their curiosity. This can encourage them to ask questions, learn more about their community and the wider world, and develop a sense of wonder.
Whilst walking around the neighbourhood it’s a good idea for parents to point out things of that might spark curiosity such as interesting architecture, local wildlife, or the different languages being spoken.
Sparking a child’s curiosity encourages them to ask questions and learn more about the world. And walking in the hood provides plenty of opportunities for discovery. Even things such as hidden paths, forested areas, and unique shops can trigger curiosity and interest.
Encouraging children to explore and investigate their environment also helps children to develop sharper observation skills. Parents can prompt this playing eye-spy to encourage their offspring to pay attention to their surroundings and notice details they may not have seen before.
Building powers of observation not only helps to develop critical thinking skills but can encourage them to develop a love of nature. Walking in nature can help children develop an appreciation for the natural world and promote constructive attitudes towards the environment.
Encouraging children to observe and learn about plants, animals, and other natural phenomena is also a trigger that can inspire curiosity about the world around them and foster a love of learning.
Downloading the Sweatcoin app will also encourage your children to get out of the house and go walking in the hood. The more steps they make, the more money they earn to spend on merchandise from over 300 retailers.