It’s finally summer! The kids are either outside from breakfast to the lightning bug show or you are pushing them out the door, prying game controllers from their air conditioned hands. Remind your gamers that “inside voices” don’t need to be used in the backyard and that “no jumping on the couch” is not a rule outside! Summer is a time to be in the open air! It is also a time that many find easier to get or stay in shape. After they sleep in (and put down the controllers), get the kids moving with some summer exercises they can do with you!
Learning – or teaching – yoga with your family will certainly be a fun experience for all – flexibility and health benefits, only a nice side effect. Unroll your yoga mat in the middle of the backyard and invite the kids the join you. Try starting your beach outing with some Downward Dog and Dolphin Poses on the sand with the fam. Check out Tot Yoga for some ideas with videos for the little ones and even an app to keep you going from pose to pose in the grass.
Forests can be such contemplative and peaceful places. Introduce your kids early to the woods on shorter trails, working up to more challenging hikes as they grow. Find fun focal points like waterfalls or interesting rock outcroppings to vary your trek. Create scavenger hunts and learn your region’s wildflowers together.
Riding bikes is one of the most popular summer exercises for kids. Plan some bike outings at a nearby park and pack a surprise snack or picnic lunch. Do some research for biking events and programs in your community like the Cuyahoga National Park’s Bike Aboard where you can bike the canal path and then ride the train back to your car. Make biking a family event as well as the casual ride around the neighborhood to keep it exciting.
Not all kids are quite ready to join you for your five miler every other morning. Most dedicated runners invested in a jogging stroller when baby was born but what about older kids? Elementary aged children can ride their bikes beside your stride. Middle and high schoolers can work up to longer runs with you too. Check out Runner’s World’s article about kids and running: Youth Movement. They do not recommend 5K races for kids under eight but encourage kid races and running in short bursts. Another idea is to gather at your local park’s sledding hill. The kids run up and then roll their way back down. You sprint both up and down!
Don’t let your little league star be the only one to get exercise this summer. Take the time to plan family summer exercises and everyone will benefit.