For kids, summer means freedom, fun and a break from the daily grind. While it’s much easier to encourage your kids to be physically active in the summer months, it can still be challenging. Hectic camp and work schedules, the heat, and activities like video games can all play a role in a potentially sedentary summer lifestyle.
The Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that children and adolescents ages 6-17 receive 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. Unfortunately, nearly 80% of adolescents aren’t getting enough aerobic exercise to meet these guidelines.
However, encouraging kids to meet them can help promote a healthy weight and build a strong foundation for an active lifestyle. Being physically active will help reduce the risk of many chronic diseases and boost your kids’ confidence, energy level and help with social and emotional development.
So how can parents encourage their kids to be physically active this summer? Here are a few suggestions:
7 Ways to Help Your Family Stay Physically Active This Summer
1. FIND A LOCAL PARK
Parks can appeal to kids of all age groups, which makes them great for family activities. Whether it’s kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming, a parcourse or frisbee golf, the local parks offer a large variety of activities to get families active. If you’re local to Cincinnati, check out the Great Parks of Hamilton County or Cincinnati Parks.
2. UTILIZE FREE GYM MEMBERSHIPS
Planet Fitness is offering a free summer membership for all kids ages 14-19 from now until Aug 31st. This takes place at all locations and it is very easy to register. So sign up the whole family or have your teen find a friend to go with them.
3. TRY INDOOR ACTIVITIES
4. ATTEND RECESS IN THE STADIUM
If you’re local to Cincinnati and available on Saturday, July 15 from 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., come to Nippert Stadium! We will have free recess, called Recess in the Stadium, for kids ages 4-14 years old. If you’re not local, check listings in your area. I’ve seen traveling bouncy castles, water slides and more that travel the country.
5. FIND A FITNESS CLASS
Group workouts can be incredibly effective at keeping your family motivated and active. If you’re in Cincinnati, here are two guides outlining some free, some fee-based workout classes throughout the summer: Eventbrite’s guide to find yoga and fitness classes, as well as Cincinnati Parent’s best exercise classes for kids.
6. SEEK OUT SPLASH PARKS
Many cities have built splash parks, which are so fun that kids won’t even realize they’re exercising. What’s even better is that many are free! Here’s a guide to the splash parks in the Cincinnati area.
7. TAKE IT OUTSIDE
This seems like an obvious tip, but it’s important to reiterate. Kids tend to be more active when they have more space. Take advantage of the nice days and get outside! Go for a family walk, walk the dog, or ride bikes together. Keep it simple and throw a baseball or frisbee in the backyard. Or, challenge your kids to a game of tag.
Several studies show that parental and family support play a key role in kids’ abilities to achieve the recommended levels of physical activity. Incorporating these activities into your kids’ summer will help them develop a healthy lifestyle that will hopefully stick with them beyond their three-month break. I recommend that families schedule in active family time, just like any other activity or appointment, so that it becomes a habit. Watch our video for more ideas!