It’s no secret that walking does wonders for us. But how does it work when you have a baby? We asked the Merrell community and the members of our national Blaze Trails network of parent and baby walking groups what walking means to them – the results are in, and they’re a really powerful illustration of the positive impact of getting out walking with your baby.
Becoming a new parent is a whirlwind – the incredible joys of welcoming a new person into the world are often coupled with sleep deprivation and sometimes isolation. Getting out for a walk with your baby can improve your mental health – on those days when you’re feeling a bit low it can revive you and help clear your mind.
“[Through Blaze Trails] I have finally met some mums and babies who I have something in common with, not just that we are mums. It’s been so fantastic for my well-being and mental health.” – Blaze Trails member
Enjoying nature and the outdoors
Our motto is that ‘adventure doesn’t stop at parenthood’ – embracing nature and gulping down that gorgeous fresh air is totally doable with a baby in tow. It’s easy to end up staying indoors all day with a baby – there’s always just one more nappy to change or nap to have – but giving yourself that push to get over the threshold is worth it to be amongst the trees, or looking out over that hill. The babies love it too!
‘Being outside has always been a tonic for me, a way of giving me headspace, I was very pleased to find it works for my baby too!’
Our survey also helped us understand more about the barriers people face when trying to get out for a walk with their baby. Here are some of the common ones people highlighted. We have all experienced these worries or issues at some point in our walking journey:
- Struggling with using a baby carrier
- Not knowing pram-friendly walks in my area
- Worrying about routine, the baby getting unsettled or clingy, and feeding on the go
- Feeling unfit and not physically ready to walk again after having my baby
- Equipment – not knowing what to pack or wear
- Not having anyone to go with, or a date in the diary to aim for
Our core mission with Blaze Trails is to break down these barriers by offering support and information on our website, and helping people gradually introduce themselves to walking by connecting with other parents in their local area. We want to promote images of real parents getting outside and overcoming these barriers so that other parents can too.
Feeling connected to each other
Meeting a friend for a walk or joining our Blaze Trails walking groups are a great way of having an uninterrupted conversation with a grown-up! Babies are often occupied – either asleep or taking in all the new sights and sounds – leaving you to reconnect and unwind together.
“It’s just bloody brilliant! I feel that our walks create a safe space for new parents to connect, it doesn’t cost a small fortune like a lot of baby groups, and the feedback I have had is that it gives parents confidence to try more new things with their baby, as well as reassurance that they are not alone.”
So call a friend or visit our website to find your free local walking group – if there’s not one near you then start your own! We offer loads of support and you’ll join an amazing community of parents getting outside together.