Summer fitness with the family
Summertime is a great time to remind kids how important fitness is for all the members of the family. There are lots of ways, most of them quite cheap, to stay active and involve everyone. Here are just a few of the suggestions from our contributors:
- Swing at the playground
- Go camping
- Jump rope
- Ride bikes
- Play catch with a baseball or football
- Hit tennis balls
- Play Frisbee
- Play tag
- Play kickball
- Shoot hoops
- Play golf or putt putt
Even if the heat has been intense, Mark Salandra, CSCS, founder of StrengthCondition.com (one of Physiquality’s partner programs) reminds us that “the entire family can take a post-dinner walk around the neighborhood.” Take advantage of your local parks — if your kids need a change of scenery, it’s a great place to play tag, investigate a new playground, throw the Frisbee around, or explore new trails on foot or bike.
Yoga for Golfers founder Katherine Roberts, another Physiquality partner, reflects on how her family kept her interested in their games of golf at the local par 3: “I remember the time I spent with my father on the putting green, betting quarters on who could sink the next putt.” Small games or bets can help the kids stay invested in the game.
Cristina Martinez Faucheux, a physical therapist and partner at Moreau Physical Therapy — a Physiquality network member in Louisiana — suggests “making an obstacle course in the yard. Be creative! Use cardboard boxes, hula hoops, and water balloons.” (This story on how to build an obstacle course even shows the different skills your kids can work on while having fun!) Ask your kids to help you plan the course in your own yard, then invite the neighbors to play as well.
If you’re on the coast, there are plenty of water sports to keep you busy and cool. Lifelong surfer Hunter Joslin, creator of the Indo Board (a Physiquality featured product), says that “stand-up paddling is one of the best activities for fun and fitness. Flat water paddling is the easiest to learn and enjoy quickly.” He also recommends wakeboarding and wake surfing, water skiing, snorkeling, surfing, skim boarding, kayaking and canoeing.
If the temperatures have been high or the humidity oppressive, try to do outdoor activities early in the morning or after the sun has gone down, or at least avoid the worst heat between about 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Be sure to stay hydrated, and wear light clothing and lots of sunblock. You’ll also need to keep an eye out for heat exhaustion; even if you’re feeling OK, youngsters may not be able to handle the heat as well as adults.
A final point: Cristina reminds parents to practice safety. Use sidewalks or bike paths. Be sure to wear appropriate shoes for your sport, and wear protective gear for rollerblading or riding bikes. As a physical therapist, she “usually sees injuries from falls in which participants weren’t wearing protective gear while skating or riding bikes.” And be extra careful at the pool or beach; don’t dive in shallow water or allow kids in water that’s out of their depth.
Cristina Martinez Faucheux, PT, is a physical therapist and partner at Moreau Physical Therapy, a Physiquality network clinic with six locations throughout the Baton Rouge area in Louisiana.
Hunter Joslin is a lifelong surfer and the creator of the Indo Board, one of Physiquality’s partner programs. Hunter is a well-known fitness expert in the surfing community and credits Indo Board with his quick recovery from several hip surgeries.
Katherine Roberts is the creator of Yoga for Golfers, another Physiquality partner program. Katherine has produced several DVDs and two books on golf fitness and is the yoga expert for both the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres.
Mark Salandra, CSCS, is the founder of StrengthCondition.com, one of Physiquality’s partner programs. Salandra educates and trains athletes young and old in strength and conditioning, with the goals of better fitness and lower rates of injury.
For further reading and more ideas:
Nica, Monica. Paddle away! Water sports with kids in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Mommy Poppins, July 24, 2011.
Exercising safely in the heat of summer. Physiquality, June 6, 2011.
Avoid summer sabotage to your family’s fitness! Everyday Health, August 6, 2010.
A., Amy. Make your own backyard obstacle course. SimpleKids.com, July 19, 2010.
Johnson, Andrea. Summer family fitness tips. Livestrong.com, December 17, 2009.
Backyard games for kids. TLC.
Holecko, Catherine. Summer activities for family fitness and fun. About.com.
Fun golf games: How to practice with a golf putter. GuideToCoachingSports.com.