May 28, 2024

Summer Family Fitness Ideas by Mollie Millington

Enjoy fitness with your entire family this summer, and enjoy the added bonus of improving your health. How is this possible? 

Set a good example for your kids. They are more likely to follow your example, rather than listen to your lecture. To set a healthy example means you need to be healthy! Join a tennis league, attend Jazzercise, or play on a community softball team. Although this may seem like one more activity to fit into your diary, tending to your own health and fitness simply has to become a priority. Exercise relieves stress, introduces you to new people, and makes you feel good when the endorphins start flowing. These benefits will affect your attitude at home and work in a positive way. 

Start a new family tradition of activity. Desingate a set time each week or month as family activity time. Take turns choosing what you’ll do. Consider going for a walk or bike ride every night after dinner. Or make Sundays the day you go exploring in the woods or along the lake. Enjoy the fresh air and use the time to catch up with everyone.  Regularly scheduling time with another family to get active will also make fitness fun for everyone!

Become involved with your child’s sport. If you’re already active in a sport together, make an effort to get off the sidelines and join in with your child or children more often. Practice together in the backyard or coach or manage their team. Purchasing tickets to see a professional game or local team provides a great opportunity to be active together. Helping your child learn more about the rules and see more competitive matches will help them improve as a player. 

Choosing to be fit can be difficult but it can also be fun when you do it as a family. Competition is motivating, whether it is for bragging rights, an ice cream cone, or a homemade trophy.  Winning and losing (graciously, of course) are also good moments to teach life lessons to your children. Being fit benefits everyone involved and creates memories that will last forever.

London-based personal trainer Mollie Millington is available for in-person and virtual training. She may be reached at www.ptmollie.com, as well as via @PTMollie on Twitter.

Developing Healthy Habits

Lead By Example. Kids learn habits from their parents. If they see you exercise regularly, and eat nutritious food, your kids will pick up that behavior and make it part of their daily routine. Research shows that kids who eat breakfast do better in school and have more energy during the day, compared to kids who skip breakfast. If you eat breakfast, your kids will too, so make a big deal out of the first meal of the day!

Make Exercise Fun. Children benefit most from unstructured physical activity. Make it a family event, and enjoy the time you spend together. Go outside and play tag, or a game of catch. Race up a hill, or chase around butterflies. Even indoor games like playing dress up or making the bed can be made into physical activities. Use your imagination and be creative.

Teach Habits Early. It is never too early to instill healthy eating habits. Talk with your children regularly about where your food comes from and the benefits of vitamins and minerals. Take your kids grocery shopping and make a game out of spotting the healthy snacks like apples and nuts. Let your children take ownership of their food by having them help you prepare dinner for the whole family. The earlier you invest in your children’s understanding of food and how it helps them become big and strong, the more they will want to learn.

By Derek Peruo, CSCS, CPT

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