Seems pretty obvious right? Sure we can, but will we? Do you know where all the great walks are?

Well, we’re going to add a series of articles, each one outlining a walk in or near Carson City, appropriate for families to our blog. Each one should take 30 minutes to 1 hour to complete and will be of varying levels of difficulty. There are 26 walks. Surprised? Can you name them all?

Why are we doing this? Childhood obesity is on the rise and recent studies have shown that 6-12 year old girls need about 12,000 steps a day, boys 15,000 to maintain a healthy weight. In an effort to fight this 21st century epidemic Muscle Powered is collaborating with We Can, to encourage families to get outside, get some exercise, enjoy our beautiful city, and interact in a whole new way.

We Can (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition): In April 2007, National Institute of Health established the We Can to help cities and counties across the nation mobilize their communities to prevent childhood overweight. We Can! Cities or Counties pledge to offer We Can! evidence-based obesity prevention programs to parents and youth in collaboration with community-based partners. Carson City elected to become a We Can Community. As a part of We Can, Carson City is encouraging family physical activities, like these walks.

We all know how important exercising is and we’re all worried about our weight and health. So how do you find the time, pry the kids away from the computer, TV, video game? As difficult as it can be sometimes, it’s just a matter of making that commitment for your children or grandchildren. Add it to your calendar. After all, isn’t your children’s and your health just as important as any other meeting or commitment?

But walking should not be a chore for you and a bore for the kids. As first a child, growing up in rural San Diego County, then as a mother of two, and now as a grandmother I have a fair amount of experience with kids on a walk. There are several ways to make it FUN!

Kid’s love competition. Purchase pedometers for each family member. The kids can then visualize how far they go and compare themselves with their brothers and sisters or friends. These small devices clip onto your belt or waistband and count every step you take. Check any sporting goods store or Target or Wal-Mart. I’ve even seen them for as low as $5.00 on line.

For the under six crowd the ‘I bet you can’t make it to that tree’ and ‘What do you think is around that corner’ are very effective motivators. Also when the whines start, try marching, the Hup! Two! Three! Four! often work. But do remember that those little legs often have to take 2 steps for your one. Thirty minutes or ½ of a mile are usually the starting limits. Work into longer walks gradually.

For the older crowd taking along a flower or bird book can be entertaining. On some of these walks an animal foot print identification book is very good. Another way to entertain is to make up stories about things that are seen along the way. Better yet let the kid’s create their own stories. “What do you think lives in that hole in the ground we just saw?” Let their imaginations soar and enjoy this time together.

Watch the blog for descriptions of specific walks in and around Carson City