We all know that walking is good for you, but not all of us realise this is even truer for your kids. The minute you've got your back turned, your child expends energy without pausing to count his/her steps—and that's good for the child's body! What are the effects of this physical exercise? Here's a quick overview of the benefits of an activity we do without even realising it...

Walking, your child's first sport.

On average, your baby will start walking shortly before or after he or she is twelve months old (don't worry, your little one will always remain your baby nonetheless!). And they'll carry on walking all their lives, as well as running, swimming, dancing, throwing, catching, jumping…

Most of us never consider the fact that before becoming a black-belt in judo, a dancing queen or a fish in the water, the first thing children do is to master the art of walking.

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50 million steps

In 10 years, a kid has already done 50 million steps! The equivalent of 4 times round the earth, no less!

Your little one also easily stomps the "10,000 steps a day," averaging 14,000 steps a day at the age of 5. For us adults who are struggling away to attain those 10,000 steps a day, that's really quite impressive.

80% walking

Still wondering if your kid's really doing sports when walking?

80% of their physical exercise is made up of walking. Such activity, in adult proportion, is equivalent to running a marathon a day.

So how does all this affect the feet?

Now that you've got the facts and figures sussed, let's talk about your kids' feet.

Your feet contain 25% of the bones in your body and play a key part in development.



Up till the age of 12, your kids' feet keep growing and need maximum freedom.

Freedom? That's right, and not necessarily support as "common knowledge" about shoes has had us believe for a long time.

Let's take your hands as an example. Imagine that for the first 12 years of your child's life, they've had to wear gloves.

Do you think your handy little one would be able to move their fingers just as well, and be just as agile with their hands later on? In fact, there's a strong likelihood that their little fingers would not develop properly. Well, the same applies to little feet.



To free your child from all constraints and allow them to grow as nature intended, go for flexible shoes (supple). These will make it easier for your child to walk and grow.

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Go out walking!

So if you're asking yourself the question, "should I go out walking with my kid, at weekends or to school?", the answer is definitely yes.

Besides, for children younger than ten who need to expend a lot of energy, and in whom a heart murmur has been detected, or who have a growth anomaly, asthma, or diabetes, walking is a great way to do sport will looking after their health. "These kids generally have some difficulty in following other children's pace, and that can be frustrating for them. Walking can be a way to reassure them about their social abilities and to motivate them to do regular physical exercise" explains Adrien Lelong, osteopath in Lille.

On top of that, it'll get you motivated too, and what a great opportunity to enjoy some family time!

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The physical benefits of exercise

For kids, physical exercise yields a multitude of benefits :

- It strengthens the bones, thus increasing resistance to falls and impacts.

- It boosts the immune system, thus helping the body fight external attacks such as colds, angina, etc.

- It is good for your organs, boosting heart and lung capacities.

- It activates your muscular system, thus allowing it to get stronger and making everyday exertions, such as walking up the stairs, easier and easier!

- It keeps you at a healthy weight, thus, by extension, fighting obesity.

- It lessens constraints on the spine, thus countering back problems such as may arise from wearing a school bag. 


"For kids, there's no real contraindication to physical exercise. Except in cases where a disease has been detected. Nevertheless, all children should routinely have an annual medical check-up," as our osteopath reminds us.

... Not to mention the psychological benefits!

In the improbable event that you're not absolutely convinced by the physical benefits of exercise, here are a bunch of mental and social benefits you may not have heard of...

● ENDORPHINS

You've most probably heard of endorphins and the calming effect they have on your body. As you may know, these are hormones secreted by your brain when you do physical exercise. So the brain, more relaxed, with more oxygen, is then better prepared for memory work. This calming effect also reduces the risk of neurodegenerative disease and gives your child a good quality of sleep. Consequently, school results are directly related to your child's psychological well-being, concentration, and capacity to memorise and learn.

● FIGHTING STRESS

When children experience self-doubt and go through a phase of stress and anxiety, energy expenditure can be like a lifeline to them.

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● A MEANS OF BUILDING SOCIAL TIES

The experience of meeting other children who are also doing physical exercise allows your child to build social ties. They will feel increased self-esteem and a sense of fulfilment, as the energy expenditure gives them a positive body image. They'll really get to know their body and learn to listen to it. 

Another benefit is that your child will learn essential everyday values such as respecting rules; and doing sports gives them a fun and concrete way to apply these values.

● BENEFITS FOR ALL KIDS

Physical exercise can help shy children to come out of themselves. Sport gives them self-confidence and the chance to meet new people. 

For a nervous and stressed child, the benefits of sports are largely to do with relaxation, resulting from endorphins, and learning to control and master their own body.

While daily physical exercise is indeed crucial for your child, it should always be done in a pleasurable way in order to be beneficial to both physical and mental health.

Want to know the best part of all this? All those benefits your child gets from doing physical exercise... Well, they apply to you too!