The A to Z of Family Fun in the Sun
Have the dog days of summer zapped your motivation to workout? Take advantage of the lazy days of summer and rethink your approach to your workouts. Including the entire family in your fitness program may be just what you need to revitalize your training plan. So, grab your family, grab the sunscreen and a bottle of water, and get ready for some family fun in the sun.
Try a water workout at the pool, lake, or beach. The buoyancy of water reduces the weight of a person by about 90%, so stress on joints, bones, and muscles is also reduced. Aquatic workouts are great for overall fitness, but can also help soothe sore muscles and aid in the recovery of injuries.
Play on a summer team, a neighborhood team, or as a family. Playing one hour of basketball can burn around 630-750 calories. Additionally, basketball can help build cardio and muscular endurance, while improving balance and coordination.
Create Your Own Family Workout
In this workout, family members take turns making up the exercises and the number of repetitions. Set a time limit (ten, twenty, or thirty minutes) for the workout, depending on your family’s fitness level.
Incorporate the use of dumbbells into your workouts. Help combat osteoporosis by using dumbbells to help strengthen muscles, as well as increase bone density. Using dumbbells not only helps strengthen you, but also increases your metabolic rate. No dumbbells on vacation? Have small children? Carry them on your back to work those leg muscles.
Eat Summer Foods
Eat a healthy diet filled with fresh summer produce. Try to add a new fruit or vegetable each week for variety in your diet.
Involve the whole family in a fun workout. Once a week, let one person choose his or her favorite family activity, and then all do that activity together.
Nine holes, eighteen holes, pitch and putt, or crazy golf. Don’t know how to play golf? Sign up for some lessons. Just be sure to walk (not drive) the course.
Hit the Trails
Take advantage of hiking the trails in local and state parks, as well as national trails. Feeling more adventurous? Book a hiking vacation, complete with a tour guide.
Ice Hockey and Ice Skating
Beat the heat and head to the nearest ice rink for cold summer fun. According to Kristin Kane, skating coach and coordinator of skating programs for the University of Calgary, ice skating is easy on the joints due to its low impact, while providing a great workout for small stabilizing muscles. A great calorie burning exercise, a beginning skater can burn about 387 calories per hour, while a hockey player can burn about 633 calories per hour.
Strap on those shoes and hit the road, family style.
Kayaking is an overall body workout that burns approximately 400 calories per hour, while reducing mental and physical stress. Research shows the sound of waves alters wave patterns in the brain lulling the person into a deeply relaxed state. Sign up for a family kayaking outing, if you have never tried it.
Lounge With a Good Book
Overtraining can lead to injury. Take time to recover, recuperate, and enjoy an evening of reading as a family.
Mow the Yard
Mow with a push lawn mower, while family members help with weeding and gardening. For every hour of weeding or gardening, approximately three hundred calories are burned.
Make a neighborhood or park map, to include checkpoints. Run as fast as you can to each checkpoint. First person to the end wins. Navigate the map individually, in teams, or as a family.
Use a playground or make your own obstacle course in your backyard. Run the obstacle course individually or as a family.
Stand up paddle boarding or surfing offers amazing fitness benefits. Although it is a low impact activity, it is a full body cardio workout that strengthens core muscles, as well as arms and legs, while improving balance and coordination.
If you are new to your area or on vacation, ask local residents what their favorite summer activities are.
Run a Race
Sign up for a family friendly 5K. If your family is not ready to run, then walk the race.
Head to the beach for fresh air and fun. Sea air is charged with healthy negative ions that accelerate the body’s ability to absorb oxygen. Negative ions also balance levels of serotonin, a body chemical linked with mood and stress. Need more encouragement to hit the beach? The heat of the sun also affects our endocrine system, which secretes endorphins. Endorphins are natural chemicals in the body designed to make us feel relaxed and less stressed.
Hit a tennis ball against a wall, play with a friend, or take on the family in a competitive game of tennis.
Need to get some sprint work in? Enlist your family’s help and try ultimate Frisbee for some great sprint work, interval training, and agility work.
Gather your family for a fun game of beach volleyball, grass volleyball, or court volleyball.
Walking helps to maintain a healthy weight, prevent many conditions such as heart disease and high blood pressure, and improves balance and agility. Time your family walk to include watching the sunrise or sunset. Either way, walking is a great way to start the day or unwind after a long day.
eXamine Your Skin
Look at moles and birthmarks carefully. If you see any changes in your skin, make an appointment with your doctor to get it checked.
Practice yoga or take a family friendly yoga class. Yoga is great for flexibility, with studies showing that after only eight weeks of taking regular yoga classes, people can improve their flexibility by 35%. Many yoga classes focus on breathing techniques and meditation, aiding in relaxation and stress reduction, which may also aid in lowering blood pressure.
Even though the days are longer, you still need six to eight hours of sleep a night.
By including your family in your summer workouts, not only will you be spending quality time together, but you will also be modeling a healthy and fit lifestyle. How many fitness activities can you add to your family’s fun in the sun? Post your favorite activities to the comments below.
1. Ace Fitness. "Make a Splash with Water Fitness." Accessed July 25, 2014.
2. Best Health. "The Fitness Benefits of Ice Skating." Accessed July 28, 2014.
3. Better Health Channel. "Basketball - Health Benefits." Accessed July 25, 2014.
4. Mail Online "Three More Health Benefits of Being Beside the Sea." Accessed July 25, 2014.
5. Fat Secret "Yard Work (Gardening)." July 28, 2014.
6. Medical Daily "Benefits of Dumbbell Exercises." Accessed July 28, 2014.
8. Wed MD "The Health Benefits of Yoga." Accessed July 28, 2014.
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