SCHOOL’S OUT, BUT FAMILY FITNESS FUN IS IN

Sports Woman's legs in running movementFor many kids, school is wrapping up and summer break is starting. That means more time for family fun. Why not add a dash of fitness, too?

Finding active ways to spend time with your family can help every family member meet their fitness goals. Kids ages 6 to 17 should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Children younger than this may benefit from even more daily movement. And adults should aim for at least 30 minutes of activity a day. Family fitness time can help your family stay healthy and fit. And it can help your kids learn to value fitness for a lifetime. Here are some ideas for how to get active and have fun with your family this summer.

Go on an adventure. Take the whole family on a weekend trek around town. Go for a bike ride that ends in a picnic. Take a walking tour through a zoo or museum. Head for the water to swim, boat, or fish. Explore your neighborhood: check out new parks or go on a nature hike. Take an active vacation. Visit a theme park or a water park.

Play together. If you have a yard, fill it with plenty of active tools and toys. Think hula hoops, jump ropes, kites, sports gear, or bikes for the kids. Sprinklers, water guns, and water balloons can also provide hours of active fun. If you don’t have outdoor space, take trips to nearby parks, playgrounds, public pools, or sports facilities. And carve out an area in your home for kids to move and play if the weather is bad or it’s too hot. Keep it free of sharp corners, dangerous objects and valuables, so it is a safe place where your kids can be active.

Get active inside and outside the house. Turn chores into active time by asking kids to help dust, vacuum, and tidy up. Set a timer and challenge the whole family to pitch in until it goes off. Everyone will get a bit of a workout—and help with the housework, too. Yard work is another great way to get active. Weeding, mowing the lawn, and planting and watering flowers are a few ideas. To amp up the fun factor, put on some good music or have your kids compete for prizes.

Turn meal time from passive to active. Take a family trip to the grocery store and walk the aisles, picking out food. You can also shop at farmers’ markets, or pick fresh fruit at a local farm. You may even want to grow and tend a garden of your own. Then have everyone pitch in to prep and cook the food, set the table, and do the dishes.

The best way to get your family excited about fitness is to make sure they enjoy it. So don’t forget to ask for input and feedback. Ask your kids how they like the activities you try. Find out if there is something else they’d rather do. Take turns choosing a family activity. And try to help each family member find activities they enjoy. With just a little effort, you can make family time a time for both fitness and fun.