Keep Your Kids Active During Summer Break
Summer is almost here, which means if you have school-aged kids, the summer break is quickly approaching. You may have great plans of family outings or vacations, but your kids may be thinking of video games, sleeping in, and endless hours of binge-watching their favorite television shows. Thankfully, there are many fun ways you can help encourage your children to be active through the summer that won’t have them constantly asking for the iPad.
Physical Activity is Important
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily, which includes aerobic exercises and activities to promote muscle strength. It has been found that children who are more physical active not only have a higher level of fitness, but also typically have lower body fat and stronger bones and muscles. Activity also promotes brain health, helping improve academic performance and memory and is shown to reduce symptoms of depression. Being physical early in life can have long-term benefits, as well, helping to prevent the various risk factors for certain health conditions including heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Physical Activities for Kids
Fitting physical activity into your child’s life can mean any number of things. Of course, be sure to focus on what your child would enjoy because the more fun he has, the more likely he is to continue the activity for the summer or even beyond. Some ideas include:
- Sign up your child for a sports team. Various organizations offer recreational or sports programs for children throughout the community. Allow your child to choose what activities appeal to her. Who knows, she may even try something new!
- Let them workout with you. Some kids enjoy doing what their parents do when they can participate together. If you are an avid distance runner, allow your child to come along on some training runs (keep in mind your child’s current fitness level to avoid overexertion). Yoga can be a stress relieving exercise for both you and your child.
- Invite the neighborhood kids over for some backyard fun. Break out the sprinklers, slip-n-slide, water balloons, and more. Kids will have a blast playing and splashing while beating the summer heat. Worried about making a muddy mess? Help your child organize some friendly baseball or kickball games at a nearby park with other area kids. It’s a great way to stay active and possibly even make new friends.
- Do a home improvement activity. Not every physical activity has to involve running and major cardio. Encourage your child to help with the gardening by pulling weeds, planting new flowers or vegetable garden. On a rainy day, work together to paint a room in the house or, for the more craft-oriented children, help create something new by repurposing old furniture or décor.
- Be active together. Even if you don’t have a regular workout routine, now’s the perfect time to start. After work, take a family walk around the neighborhood together, ride bikes on the local trails, or just go outside in the backyard and play some games before dinner.
- Take an active vacation. Everyone wants to get away from time-to-time, so plan trips that promote physical activity. Go camping together somewhere that has great hiking trails or swimming spots. If you’re heading to a city, find a company that offers walking or biking tours so you can learn about the location and get a workout in.
Staying Healthy Requires More than Activity
While physical activity is extremely important, encouraging other aspects of health are just as vital. Ensure your child is eating a healthy diet by providing nutritious snacks and meals for your child. Eating well will also give them more energy to play hard all summer long! Don’t forget about their mental well-being, too. Have them practice what they’ve learned during the school year while at home, encourage regular reading, and, when it’s not a great day to get outside, allow them to watch educational television programs on channels like Animal Planet and Discovery Channel.
Encouraging your child to be active over the summer break will be beneficial to not only his health, but may also help you get in on the fun, as well. The more you can do together, a greater connection will grow between all participating members of the family.
For more information or ideas on how you can help your children stay active this summer, or for questions about health concerns that may be making physical activity difficult, visit us today.