Now that school has finished for the summer, you might be looking for ways to keep your children entertained throughout the long vacation. Without the daily routine of school, you might also find that your children are getting less day-to-day activity than usual.
Learning to love physical fitness early in life can set young people up for a healthier lifestyle in the long term. That’s why it’s so important to be active as a family and to show your children all the benefits of regularly moving their bodies.
Here are a few of our recommendations for fun, physical fitness activities you can do with the whole family this summer.
Go for a walk
Walking is one of the easiest types of exercise to incorporate into your life. It doesn’t require any special equipment, it’s fun, and it’s free. Best of all, you can tailor your walks to the amount of time you have and everyone’s fitness level.
If you’re just starting to get into walking for fitness, start with a lap or two around your neighborhood or local park. You can then build up to longer walks or hikes.
Walking with your family is a great way to spend time together, whether you talk as you walk or just enjoy each other’s company. Getting out into nature for a few hours will have great benefits for everyone’s physical and mental health. Just don’t forget sunscreen and water, especially if it’s hot.
Head to the outdoor pool…
Is there anything more refreshing than taking a dip in an outdoor swimming pool in the hot weather? Swimming and splashing around in the pool is great fun as well as being fantastic exercise.
Take pool toys and floats, play games, or challenge each other to a race to the other side of the pool.
Remember that you can still get sunburned in water, so ensure you and your children are wearing sunscreen with a high SPF rating.
…or the beach
If you are near the coast, head to the beach and go for a swim in the sea. Swimming in the ocean feels completely different to swimming in a pool, due to the saltwater and tides.
Remember that wild swimming can be dangerous, so follow a few basic safety precautions:
- Pay attention to all signs and only swim in areas designated as safe to do so. Ideally, look for lifeguarded areas.
- Limit the amount of time you’re in the water, especially if it’s cold.
- Don’t go too far from the shore.
- Do not swim in bad weather or when the water is very rough.
- Consider wearing swim shoes to protect your feet from sharp items underfoot.
When you’re not swimming, you can also play active games on the beach. Try frisbee, volleyball, tennis, or catch.
Go for a bike ride
Riding a bike is one of the best full-body cardiovascular workouts you can do. It’s also fun and a fantastic way to see new places and spend time together as a family. So grab your bikes and head out to the local park or onto the trails this summer.
If you do not have your own bikes or a way to transport them easily, many popular cycling locations offer bike hire on a per-hour or per-day basis.
It’s important to wear a helmet while cycling. Head injuries are one of the main types of serious injury sustained by cyclists, and wearing a helmet significantly reduces your risk and could even save your life. Never cycle, or allow your children to cycle, without wearing one.
Have an indoor dance party
Has bad weather dampened your summer plans? If you’re stuck indoors on a wet day, you can still stay active. Put on some music and have an indoor dance party in the living room. Just a few minutes of dancing will boost your mood, put a smile on your face, and get your heart racing.
Want to learn some new moves? There are thousands of dance workout videos on YouTube that are easy to follow for all ages. Put on a video, and have fun learning a routine with your family.
Ask your children to help in the yard
Children love to be involved and to feel as though they are helping. Working together is a great way to share time and a sense of accomplishment. Yard work is also surprisingly good exercise, getting your heart beating faster and using many of the main muscle groups.
So next time you’re mowing the grass, raking leaves, or planting things in your garden, give your children age-appropriate tasks to help you.