Suzanne Edwards

Walking at a Toddler’s Pace – is it still a good workout?

Is walking with your toddler even a workout?

Let’s just put this out there and face the music. Sometimes moms have no other workout choice than going outside and talking a walk with their kids. 

Picture this: You’ve got your full workout gear on, sports bra and all to brace for a high impact sweat session. You’ve got the stroller revved and ready to go. You’ve got running shoes on, and your toddler in tow, and you’re determined to get out, get that heart rate up and burn some calories with a glorious fast-paced walk (and dare to dream, even a short run).  

And if you missed last weeks post about how good grounding is for you, check it out here.

You take 3 steps… the toddler sees the most beautiful rock ever created, and then you must stop and admire it for a full 2 minutes. Then, you finally get moving again, and the toddler veers off the path to climb on a boulder and jump off it like 400 times, while you stand there, NOT workout out, watching.
Here is Actual Footage of our walk, and the girls running away to find sticks to they can sword fight while we walk (thank you Raya and the Last Dragon).

Then you finally get moving again, and the toddler is actually walking this time! But seriously… it’s a like a snail’s pace and all you can do is go slow and be patient.

Goodbye sweat session, goodbye calorie burn. Chalk it up to just another stroll in the park, as you think longingly about actually getting in a real workout one day.

Sound familiar? With kids in tow on your walk, the struggle to walk fast enough to feel like you’re “doing something” for your body is real!

But… I have good news! Toddler-paced walking is actually helpful! It actually has benefits!

Our pelvic floor loves to move. Even moving slowly is wonderful for the pelvic floor. The slower you go, the less you have momentum driving you, and the more you have to move your actual muscles!

Now, I’m not saying that power walking up a hill at olympic level pace won’t burn more calories and give your body a better workout, because that’s obvious.

BUT.. low and slow and steady walking, even with small beaks to stop and look at a the most amazing rock ever is not a lost cause when it comes to getting benefits for exercise.

Here are just a few benefits of having toddlers in tow during your walk:

  • Low and slow cardio like walking keeps you in the fat burning zone.
  • It helps you stay in correct posture… rolling heel to toe, using your glutes to slowly propel you instead of forward momentum (like fast walking).
  • slow walking burns a surprising number of calories and decreases joint stress.
  • adds an element of meditation and mental well-being to our lives.
  • Researchers have found that people who walk at a slower pace burn more calories than when they walk at their normal pace.

So… three cheers for the toddlers and strollers that slow us down!  It’s just an added level of exercise we wouldn’t have if we always went out along for a brisk, sweat inducing fast walk or run every single time.

Now…. Do NOT forego opportunities to get out and take brisk walks, because there are huge benefits to that as well (more on that later), but just be encouraged that taking your kids along is NEVER a waste of a workout. 🙂

Here’s to mixing it up and enjoying all sorts of movement and exercise, no matter how fast the pace.


PS – if you didn’t know by now, our 100 Miles of Summer Walking Challenge is coming! We start June 1 and signups open May 20. Mark your calendars because we’ve got some amazing early bird discounts for you!

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Suzanne and Daughter Handing from Monkey Bars on playground smiling



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