Summer break is here and for many kids the season can easily turn into a long, lazy stretch of video games, television, and complaining that they’re bored. And though hot weather demands a certain amount of caution, it’s still important for your kids to remain active during the summer months. And of course, workouts are more fun when you do them as a family.
Start With The Familiar
Before launching into a workout routine with your children, consider what activities they already participate in and enjoy. One place to look is at their in-school gym class – if they still have one. Unfortunately, along with vital arts programming, gym and recess time have also suffered cuts, even though both have been shown to improve academic performance. But if your kids do have regular gym classes, ask them what they like best. You may find yourself playing hockey on rolling scooters in the driveway or learning a new game.
Try A Class
Although most fitness classes aren’t targeted at kids, there’s no reason why they can’t participate in some of them with the permission of the instructor. Classes like zumba, for example, provide a high intensity workout that kids love because of the loud, popular music and fast-paced motions. Joining a class can also help you get out of your own fitness slump. Classes provide some extra structure and accountability in cases where you’re also inclined to spend the day lounging.
Mix It Up
While many kids have a favorite sport, summer is a good time to introduce some alternatives to help your children become well-rounded. Participating in a range of activities also can help children develop their strength more evenly and prevent them from sustaining an injury. Young children are especially vulnerable to overuse injuries, Rather than signing your young Derek Jeter up for a summer of baseball, try a soccer clinic or swim team instead.
Make It A Habit
Working out in an intentional way is great, but sometimes the best fitness activities are the ones that fit into our daily routines. Asking older kids to walk the dog or encouraging young ones to walk in the grocery store rather than riding in the cart or stroller. These activities may not immediately strike you as exercises, but they’re a way to help your children build good habits and stay active. For children who resist sports, these activities can also be a way to sneak in exercise.
Whatever fitness activities you choose for your children this summer, be sure to monitor their hydration and watch out for heat warnings. Heat stroke can come on suddenly on the hottest days and no matter how determined you are to get the kids moving, sometimes it’s important to keep everyone indoors. On those days, it’s time for freeze dance in the living room or a swim in the local pool. Heat is an impediment to some activities, but not to fitness more broadly.