How did you spend summer days as a child? Perhaps you played baseball in the empty lot across the street. Possibly your family spent time swimming at a local lake or pond.
Today, more families unwind indoors with television and electronic games. This summer, take a vacation from your old, unhealthy routine and get your family moving outdoors.
A breath of fresh air
Several studies have linked physical inactivity to weight-related medical problems in childhood. So, pediatricians urge parents to encourage children to be active. Exercising as a family helps lower the risk for obesity, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure for parents and children alike.
Ready, set, play!
Family members of all ages can participate in the following activities:
- Take a brisk walk. Encourage children to lead the way on a skateboard, scooter or skates.
- Hike and camp. Trekking up hills on rugged paths is more of a cardiovascular workout than walking on flat ground. A camping trip is full of opportunities for exercise, such as unloading the car, pitching tents and gathering firewood.
- Play games. Summer evenings are perfect for tag, badminton and volleyball.
- Get wet. Swimming is a cool way to get an aerobic workout without stressing your bones or joints. At the beach, try surfing, boogie boarding or kayaking. But, remember to brush up on safety basics before hitting the water.
- Ride bikes. Cycling works your heart and leg muscles. It also improves your flexibility and balance. Just make sure all riders wear helmets and obey the rules of the road.