By Jason Tribbet
If you listen closely, kids everywhere are cheering as summer vacation is underway. After a long school year, it’s finally time to sleep in, lie on the couch, play video games, and watch television… right? While everyone needs to relax a little and catch their breath from all the hard work the school year brings, staying active and exercising should be part of everyone’s daily routine throughout the summer.
It is recommended that kids get 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Studies have shown that physical activity improves brain function and can help students improve academically. So now that school is out and we no longer have physical education classes to help us stay active, how can we prevent kids from becoming sedentary?
Exercise as a family
One way to stay active in the summer is by exercising as a family. Going for a walk, riding bikes, or playing a game in the backyard are a few ways to do it. If everyone gets into a routine of exercising together and spending time together, everyone in the family can help motivate each other to get out of the rut that is lying on the couch and watching your favorite TV shows over and over. Getting friends involved is another great way to increase the likelihood that kids will enjoy themselves. Having common interests will provide opportunities for kids to play together and keep at it throughout the summer. Plus, it’s a great way for family and friends to spend quality time together.
Join a summer camp or sports camp
There are so many options for day- or week-long camps in which kids can take part. Camps can be sport-specific like basketball, soccer, or baseball or they can be summer camps that cover a wide variety of activities. Camps provide a great chance to get exercise, improve skills, and make new friends.
Get out of the air conditioning
When it’s cold out during the winter months, we say, “I can’t wait until the warmer weather gets here!” Then the warmer weather arrives and we all retreat into the air conditioning to get out of the heat. Being outside, even in the heat, can be fun if you do it safely by staying hydrated, looking for shade, and wearing sunscreen. As a kid, I couldn’t wait for summer vacation. I got yelled at to come back home, not to get out of the house. Go outside and play.
Look for indoor activities
There are times when the kids just don’t want to go outside or the weather doesn’t cooperate. When that happens, look for ways to be active inside. If they like video games, look for one that requires standing up or using your entire body like a dancing game. Try out yoga, or other right-in-your-living-room, kinds of exercise. There are many apps out there that involve fitness, strength training, or flexibility that you can download. Simple household chores like vacuuming, cleaning your room, or straightening the garage are also good ways to stay active.
Plan some adventures
Adventure doesn’t mean you have to go far from home. Take a day trip to a state park and do some hiking, go bowling, or walk to the local park and have fun on the jungle gym. When you think about it, there are so many options for adventure! Many times, kids don’t even realize they’re exercising.
Hopefully you will find ways to stay active throughout the summer and please make sure to be safe, no matter what the activity is. The summer is a time to rest up your mind and recharge your battery from the school year, but staying active is extremely important. School will be back in session before you know it, but don’t be sad... there’s still plenty of time to have a fun summer by staying active!