Healthy Activities for You and Your Family This Season

It’s no secret that children tend to take after their parents. Whether good or bad, parents often unintentionally pass down many of their habits to their kids. Unfortunately, the “do as I say, not as I do” mantra isn’t effective with kids, no matter how young or old they are, as they all tend to watch and observe far more than we realize. And it is indeed true that our actions speak louder than our words. It’s extremely important that as parents, we deliberately make wise choices for ourselves and pass those on to our children. This may mean taking on new hobbies as a family, participating in activities as a family, and changing some lifestyle habits as a family.

As summer rolls in and the long awaited summer break arrives, let’s make a commitment to make healthy choices as a family and have the best summer yet. You may start by making small changes around the house, such as minimizing TV time or eliminating sodas from your grocery list. You may decide to cook dinner at home a certain number of times every week or minimize unhealthy snacks from the pantry to improve your children’s health. But as the gorgeous weather ushers us into summertime, embrace the outdoors and get involved in some healthy activities that the entire family can enjoy to improve your family’s health.

Play Sports
An easy activity that requires little to no planning, playing sports is sure to be a family favorite. Play a pick-up game of football or basketball, set up a neighborhood kickball game, or sign everyone up for tennis lessons. Whether your kids are toddlers or high schoolers, most people love the camaraderie and physicality of playing sports, especially when you get a little family rivalry going. Maybe you have a young soccer star who can teach the family a few soccer tricks before you play a game in the backyard. Maybe there’s a badminton court nearby and you can all try your hand at a sport that’s new to everyone. Consider signing the family up for a bowling tournament, golf tournament, ping pong tournament, or something similar. Either way, make it fun and get active to improve your whole family’s health!

Go Hiking
Whether it’s a day trip, part of a camping trip, or just a trek around a nearby lake, hiking is an amazing way to get active and stay healthy. Since you’re simply walking and looking at nature, hiking is a great way to get in some activity without even realize you’re working out. Maybe you want to hike up to a popular waterfall or maybe you’re on a nature scavenger hunt. Try flipping a coin at each trail intersection to determine your direction and just get lost—figuratively, not literally—in the wilderness.

Take Exercise Classes
Your local gym or a YMCA nearby probably have a handful of summer exercise classes you can sign up for to increase your children’s health and your own. Don’t be afraid to try something new, like Zumba or CrossFit, or even try your hand at yoga or water aerobics. Ask your kids what they would be interested in trying, and sign up to take some classes as a family. You’ll get to spend time together, burn some calories, and maybe even discover a new hobby or skill!

Hit the Pool
Already a popular summer hotspot, the pool is a great place to get your heart rate up and get a workout in. You’re likely already going to be visiting the pool regularly this summer, so why not turn it into an even healthier experience? Challenge your kids to a race, have a cannonball competition, or work up a sweat by commuting on foot to the pool rather than driving. If the pool is your sole place of relaxation, use it as a reward for doing other healthy family activities. For example, if the whole family goes for a hike this morning, we can spend a few hours at the pool this afternoon. The kids will likely still be active in the pool anyway, so it’s a win-win for everyone.

Do Some Water Activities
Whether at home, at the pool, on the lake, or at the beach, water activities of any kind are favorites of just about everyone. Rent a boat at a nearby lake and try your hand at wakeboarding or tubing. Set up a sprinkler and slip and slide obstacle course in the backyard. Catch some waves with a boogie board or inner tube at the beach. Learn how to sail, kayak down the river, or rent a canoe and go fishing. Water activity is not only fun but will usually get your heart rate up and make for great family bonding activities.

Go to the Park
Whether a nearby playground or a local national park, another popular and enjoyable summer activity for boosting family health is to spend time in the great outdoors! Have the kids play on the playground while you walk laps around it, walk around the park and feed the ducks, or explore local attractions within a park while you enjoy the summer weather. Get involved by pushing your kids on the swings, taking part in a ropes course, go golfing, play miniature golf together, climb trees, toss the Frisbee around, pack a picnic lunch, fly a kite, and the list goes on!

Take a Walk or Ride Bikes
Make it a family activity to do something active together each night after dinner. Go for a walk around the neighborhood, take a bike ride, or visit a nearby playground. It’ll be a nice way to run off some last bits of energy in the kids, and you’ll get some quality family time not spent sitting in front of the TV. These are also great activities if you only have a few minutes to get something active in before you have to move on to something else.

Begin Gardening
Gardening is beneficial to your children’s health just as much as it is to yours. Not only is gardening hard work, but it can bring about healthy fruits and vegetables that your kids will be excited about. Watching something grow can be thrilling for kids and adults of all ages, and even the most hesitant kids may be willing to eat a new food because they’re so excited about having grown it themselves. Get your kids involved in the entire process, from picking out the seeds and buying the materials to planting them and taking care of the growing plants. Let them weed the garden, water the plants, prune the leaves, and pick the fruits and vegetables. You may even have them look up some recipes to make smoothies out of your homegrown fruits or some side dishes out of your vegetables.

Visit a Zoo or Museum
Another popular summer activity and a great way to boost family health is visiting a zoo or a local museum. You’ll likely walk a few miles at either of these attractions, and you’ll learn and be entertained during the process. If your kids are animal lovers, a zoo is a great place to spend the day, but if you’re concerned about it being too hot or you want to ensure the trip is also educational, go visit a nearby museum. There are many types of fun museums around, from history and art museums to hands-on, interactive science museums.