Take a Hike With Your Kids
Jul 27, 2018 09:53PM
Want to do something special for your kids that can prepare them for a happy and healthy life? Take them hiking. There are many places within a short drive from Manhattan, even ones accessible from mass transit.
Why is hiking good for kids? Here are just a few reasons:
- Exposes them to nature and creates an appreciation of plants, wildlife, and land formations.
- Helps them learn how to be content without the help of digital aids.
- Provides exercise and helps them develop balance and coordination
- Helps teach a sense of direction
- Encourages the use of many of the senses at once.
A little over four years ago I was driving down the Palisades Parkway on my way to the George Washington Bridge and noticed a footbridge over the highway. I remembered from growing up in the area that this bridge led to hiking trails along the Palisades. The next week I went back for a hike with my son and have been hiking regularly ever since. I’ve lost weight, my blood pressure has gone down, and I am in the best shape I have been in for decades.
And guess what? There are hundreds of miles of trails within easy reach of NYC and no fee or charge to explore them. Whenever I see kids on the trails they are filled with excitement and wonder. And many of the older hikers I meet have been doing it all their lives. So start them young and help them acquire a healthy habit for a lifetime.
Here are some tips for young and novice hikers from the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, the people who maintain the trails in the NY NJ area:
- Help them prepare: clothing, gear, food, water, meds.
- Go short: limit distance, vertical gain.
- More “payoffs per mile”: viewpoints, lakes, waterfalls, etc.
- Invite a peer!
In addition to being the Marketing Director for this magazine, Roger is the Trail Supervisor for over 50 miles of trails in South Harriman (managed by the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference). Follow him on Instagram @MrNaturalNYC or simply contact him if you have any questions or want any tips.
RESOURCES FOR HIKING NEAR NYC
- The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, NYNJTC.org. They have been connecting people with nature since 1920 and maintain 2,165 miles of trails. The simple “Find a Hike” tab helps you locate hikes with specific features.
- Palisades Interstate Park Commission (right across the Hudson): NJPalisades.org
- AMC New York-New Jersey Chapter: AMC-NY.org
- ADK North Jersey Ramapo Chapter: HudsonHikers.org
- And don’t forget the Boy Scouts (now girl friendly) and the Girl Scouts