Summer is a fantastic time to get the family together and get moving! Sure, your to-do list may be just as long as ever this time of year, but combining family hangout time with working out is a great way to multi-task. The best activities will allow everyone, young or old, to enjoy the gorgeous summer weather, get some heart-pumping exercise, and most importantly, have fun! Here are a few simple ways you can sneak exercise in to an entertaining, memorable summer for the whole family.
Use family time as an excuse to get active. Instead of spending time together watching a movie or playing video games, pick fitness activities that you can delight in together as a family – preferably outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air. Head out for a bike ride around the neighborhood, hike at your local park, set up a game of two on two at the basketball court, or splash around in the pool together – the possibilities are endless! The best part is that everyone’s metabolism will get a healthy boost.
Start a pedometer challenge. Encourage some healthy competition by purchasing inexpensive pedometers for yourself, your kids, and your spouse to wear to help you all remember to walk more throughout the day. They’re an easy way to count your steps and keep track of how much movement you’re getting — even the younger ones will be able to participate! Try setting a family goal (maybe it’s 15,000 steps a day or 25 miles by the end of summer) or create teams and try to beat each other’s step counts each week. Your kids will love competing, and the adults in the family will probably notice their waistlines feeling trimmer by summer’s end.
Learn something new. Instead of just dropping your kids off at ballet or baseball practice, look for fitness activities that you can try out together as a family. Learn karate, take a rock climbing class, or take sign up for beginners’ horseback riding. Set a date once a month to try out something new. You will all start to look forward to the time together, and you even may find a new favorite family pastime!
Get moving on vacations. While curling up with a good book may be your idea of heaven, be sure to scout out a few activities to get everyone up and moving on your family’s summer trip. Most getaway destinations are brimming with good options, from nature walks to bike rentals. When planning your trip, look for destinations that have unique activities you may not be able to try at home, like beach volleyball, snorkeling or water-skiing. You won’t regret leaving your book at home, believe me!
Sign up for a race. Training for a goal, like completing a 5K or a triathlon, can be great motivation to get your family off the couch. Many races offer shorter courses for their younger participants, and you’ll find plenty of runs and walks that raise money for charities. They’ll do your heart good in more ways than one!
Center family gatherings around movement. There are a ton of ways to make activity the focus of your parties and events. Upgrade your standard barbecue by getting your guests up and moving with a hula hooping contest, a game of freeze tag, or two-hand touch football in the backyard. Start a new family tradition by turning your reunion into a fun-for-all family Olympics, with sack races, a balloon toss and medals for the winners. This goes for birthday party ideas as well: Plan your child’s next birthday at the local gymnastics club or community pool.
Get involved with extracurriculars. Instead of just signing your children up for soccer leagues, gymnastics classes and baseball teams, get involved and help teach as the coach or team parent. Your children will love that you’re involved, and you’ll be surprised at just how much running around you’ll do as you show them the ropes. Your family will build lasting memories – and burn major calories while you’re at it!