Keep the Family Fit and Happy This Summer
The health benefits of being physically active are so widely-known they barely warrant mentioning. From a lower risk of heart disease to better mental well-being, physical activity is key to staying healthy and happy.
But for families, the benefits of fitness go even further than that. Doing regular outdoor activities together strengthens family bonds, encourages healthy lifelong habits, and could very well make your kiddos’ brains bigger. In fact, you could safely say that families who get fit together live healthier and longer lives together.
Below we’ve outlined the most fun outdoor activities to keep the whole family fit and connected this summer. Enjoy!
- Play your favorite games in the backyard
Sure, family vacations and trips are big events your family looks forward to all year long—but often the best memories are made right at home, playing in your own backyard.
Summer is the perfect time to break out all the classic lawn games the family loves. You know the ones: Cornhole, Spikeball, frisbee, KanJam, and horseshoe.
The family will get a good sweat going while enjoying a dose of sunshine and healthy competition. Combine these games with a nutritious backyard barbecue and you’re set for the whole afternoon.
Pro-tip: Want to level up your backyard games? These games are all the rage for summer 2021.
- Ride bikes this summer!
You may have noticed that since the start of the pandemic, there’s been a huge biking boom across the country. And that’s for one big reason: Biking is one of the most fun, COVID-safe activities you can do outside.
Even with the vaccines being widely available, biking with your kiddos is still an awesome way to bond with your family while exploring your neighborhood. And remember: Learning how to bike—and bike fast—definitely takes time, so the initial goal here shouldn’t be speed or distance or even perfect technique. The goal is for your kids to have as much fun as possible on 2-3 wheels, safely, while learning a new skill.
The beauty of biking is that it’s a gift that keeps on giving. When you teach your kids how to bike, you’re giving them the opportunity to become more independent. You can think of a bike like a car. On the one hand, it’s a mode of transportation...but it’s actually much more than that—it’s a vehicle toward autonomy. Once your kids are old enough, they’ll be able to ride to school and their friends’ houses, alone and responsibly, following the rules of the road while navigating and making good decisions on their own.
Pro-tip: Be sure to bring plenty of snacks if you’re going for a long bike ride with the family. The last thing you want is your kid to bonk halfway through the ride.
- Go for a family stroll around the neighborhood
Mid-70s and sunny? Hit the pavement and stretch your legs as a family. You don’t need to cover a long distance to reap the health benefits of this, either. Walking for just twenty minutes each day can make a world of difference for your family’s overall health. And going for walks after dinner, just as the sun is starting to set, is a relaxing way to wind down as the temperatures drop.
Have any hiking trails nearby? Drive out to the mountains or park with the family to trek through the trails and soak in the incredible views. Learn why hiking is so freaking good for you.
Pro-tip: Encourage your kids to keep the phones at home for your family walks (one adult should have one tucked away for safety purposes.) This is all about slowing way down—seeing and appreciating your surroundings while spending quality time with the ones you love most.
5. Hit up your local swimming hole for a day of activities
It’s going to get hot these next two months, especially in states like Texas, Colorado, and Nevada. From kayaking to stand-up paddle-boarding, there is endless opportunity for family fun out on the water. Exercising on/in the water is a great way for the family to stay in shape, with the amazing perk of being able to cool off with a quick dip whenever you please.
From Lake Dillon in Colorado to Barton Springs Pool in Texas, you have access to amazing swimming holes across the country.
Pro-tip: If you haven’t yet tried stand-up paddle-boarding, it’s pretty much the most fun your family can have paddling through the water. And the health benefits are unreal, too.
6. Practice (in the backyard) makes perfect
Do your kids play sports? Awesome. Now’s the ideal season to create happy, competitive memories in the backyard or park while helping your little ones hone their skills.
You can kick around the soccer ball on the grass, or throw it back old-school with a baseball catch. Feeling especially brave? Hop in the net and play goalie as your kids try their best to score on you!
These are the experiences your kids will remember for a lifetime: Playing with their parents while gaining confidence as young athletes. Oh, and consistent backyard competition will keep the whole family fit throughout the summer.
Pro-tip: Always keep the mood fun and positive when playing sports in the backyard. You want this to be rewarding and encouraging for your kids, so they're eager to get out and play again the next day and the day after that ;)
7. Let the family dance party commence
Family dance parties are fun for everyone and can boost the collective mood while burning calories. Best part about a family dance party? It requires virtually no planning and is absolutely cost-free.
Simply put together a party playlist—or select one on Pandora or Spotify—and get your bodies moving. Plus, listening to music can have long-term benefits to your childrens’ mental and emotional health.
Pro-tip: Invest in a small Bluetooth speaker (you can find them for under $20) and add some wallet-friendly strobe lights and disco lights to make the mood more festive.
8. Family 5K? Sign us up!
Getting ready for a 5K as a family will keep everyone in shape while supporting a worthy cause. It’s a long enough distance that you’ll be going on training runs together in the months and weeks leading up to the event—but it’s not so long that it will exclude many members of the family.
Best part about a local 5K? You can make the event whatever you like. Run, walk, or jog—the most important part is getting out there, being active with your family, and supporting your community.
Pro-tip: If you can, find a dirt path where your family can train. This will provide more cushion and be much easier on your joints and tendons.
As always, if you have any questions about your plan, services, or benefits, please reach out to the Friday Care Crew.