Families these days tend to spend a lot of time being sedentary, either sitting at desks working or doing homework, or on the couch watching television or playing video games. A sedentary lifestyle has been shown to be a contributing factor in a number of health issues, including childhood obesity, high blood pressure and type II diabetes.
The arrival of summer presents an opportunity for families to get outdoors and participate in fun, healthy activities that will allow everyone to get some much-needed exercise. Doing things together helps create fond family memories, too. Read on for some healthy outdoor activity ideas that will encourage your kids to exercise.
Hit the Trails
Hiking is a great way for the whole family to get a serious workout, enjoy nature and reduce their stress levels at the same time. It's also a great way to check out new landscapes, and can be adapted for just about any fitness level. Hiking is great for everyone's cardiovascular health, and best of all it's low-cost. All you need in many cases is a good pair of hiking boots and a pack to carry a few supplies.
Jump in the Lake
Swimming is great exercise. It offers everyone with a full body workout without putting a lot of stress on joints, making it a good summer activity option for people with certain types of injuries. Swimming outdoors in a natural setting is a great way to enjoy beautiful landscapes, cool off, and have fun, too.
Cycling together allows families to see new places while they exercise their legs and take in some fresh air. It's a great activity for large groups, too. Cycling is also practical. Biking can serve the dual purpose of providing transportation for your family to get to a destination and be a fun activity at the same time.
Outdoor Yoga Classes
Yoga is more popular than ever these days. Outdoor yoga classes are available just about anywhere, from beaches to parks to the tops of mountains. Taking yoga classes that are held outside allows families to get a great workout and spend an hour or so getting some fresh air and sunshine.
With a good pair of running shoes, families can get a top quality workout just about anywhere. Running can be great for your health, and can also provide families with opportunities for competition, socializing or raising money for charity by participating in road races and other organized events.
A relatively new sport, standup paddle boarding, also known as SUP, combines surfing with rowing, resulting in a challenging workout that's also a lot of fun. And since it's done on water, it's a great family activity option for when you're on vacation. Standup paddle boards can be rented at many beach resorts.
Once your family gets the hang of stand up paddle boarding, give SUP yoga a try. Participants in this challenging combination of yoga and standup paddle boarding do yoga poses on their paddle boards. The classes are led by an instructor and are available in many places that offer standup paddle boarding.
Believe it or not, walking) is one of the healthiest outdoor activities families can do. It's perfect for people of all ages and fitness levels, and can be done just about anywhere. Taking a family walk is a great way to relieve stress, and it's adaptable to any schedule, whether you have 15 minutes or an hour.
A Chinese martial art practice that emphasizes natural movement, tai chi has been popular in Asia for thousands of years. Many communities offer outdoor tai chi classes in parks, and much of the time they are free. Tai chi is low impact, good for people of all ages, and has been shown to boost the immune system.
If you want to continue your family's outdoor activities during the winter, snowshoeing combines the benefits of walking and hiking with the added challenge of walking through snow, which burns more calories and uses different muscle groups than walking or hiking alone. Snowshoes are relatively inexpensive, and unlike skiing, you can learn to snowshoe in less than half an hour.
Always Use Sun Protection
Before taking your family out to do any outdoor activities, remember to always apply sunscreen. If you will be swimming, be sure to reapply sunscreen every hour or so. It's also a good idea to use an after sun moisturizer when you go back inside to help keep everyone's skin healthy and comfortable.
Written by LouAnn Moss for The Healthy Moms Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured image provided by James Wheeler