Backpacking for Family Wellness

Backpacking in the spring, summer, and fall seasons is a great way to get your family in shape. When your budget is down, backpacking is an activity to plan on short notice. You can use spare change to buy food and a few supplies, pack up your backpack (and maybe your camping gear), and hit the trails. In order to make backpacking a family-building activity and a regular opportunity for exercise and fresh air, try these backpacking ideas.

Teaching Your Children the Importance of Stretching

When you prepare for a family backpacking trip, spend some time with your children discussing the importance of warming up their muscles through stretching. Use a website or an exercise video for tips to get your kids accustomed to stretching, especially for injury prevention. You can even ask your kids to share what they have learned in P.E. class or in after school sports.

Emphasize the Buildup of Cardiovascular Capacity

When the family goes backpacking in rocky, hilly, or mountainous territory, and especially at high altitudes, drinking water, eating right, and resting from time to time are standard tips for the trail. Another aspect of wellness is to increase cardiovascular capacity. If one of the family members on the backpacking trip is extremely out-of-shape, the group will be making a lot of stops along the trail. One way to plan ahead for this potential setback is to get the whole family in shape. For example, get family members to hop on the family treadmill or another cardio machine a few times each week. A free alternative is to take family members for regular walks around the neighborhood. If you invest in new hiking shoes, wear the shoes around the neighborhood to break them in before the trip.

Family Bonding Time

To build a balanced family life with a strong focus on wellness involves designing family activities that the kids will enjoy. When your family goes backpacking, shopping for the right backpacking gear is essential. What about also explaining to your children why backpacking is good for the family? The recession places pressures on families to find cheaper vacation ideas. However, if your family falls in love with backpacking, you can keep the backpacking gear and plan trips for the future.

Backpacking can become a family tradition. Some people might think that they have no backpacking venues nearby because their terrain is flat and devoid of beautiful natural features like lakes, rivers, mountains, and hills. If you do a bit of online research (i.e. Google Earth), you can find great backpacking sites within a day’s drive. Within a few hours, you can be one or two states away. Stow the gear on top of your vehicle and engage the family in some great conversation on the way. Preparing well in advance for a backpacking trip builds a healthy anticipation in everyone. When your family discovers the outdoors, the pressures of work, school, and extracurricular activities fall away. Nobody has to worry about charging up their cell phones or iPods or fighting over Internet time.

Get your family to try backpacking. Consider the convenience of an online outdoor outfitter for all backpacking and camping supplies. If the family is short on cash, a trip to the wilderness or the well-traveled trails immerses the family in low-stress, family-building activities. When you teach your kids how to backpack safely, you can help them build a pattern of lifelong wellness. The backpacking experience can also be enriched with other activities like cooking, hunting, storytelling, and nature discovery. Find the right attitude to present this new experience to your family. Happy trails!