Fit as a Family – Summer Activity Ideas to Get the Whole Family Moving
This summer, get the whole family moving and sweating outdoors by finding some activities that are fun, challenging and offer the right mix of fitness and excitement. Plus, it’s always great to inspire your kids to unplug from technology and to enjoy some sunshine. It’s healthy, rewarding and can foster an interest in something new and physical.
Getting fit is the perfect complement to low carb diets like Keto and Atkins. It’s all about getting your family to adopt a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of heart disease or obesity. To start, we’ll look at the health and personal benefits of being active as a family. Then, we’ll look at some outdoor activities that we think your family will love. The last step will be choosing the one you think is the best fit and getting your family out the door in a hurry!
What are you waiting for? Get your workout gear on and get physical – old man winter will be back before you know it!
A Ton of Benefits
Most people recognize the physical and health benefits of outdoor activities. Did you know that they also have a ton of emotional benefits? It’s a widely-held belief among the scientific community and mental health professionals that simply enjoying nature in some capacity can be nourishing and rejuvenating.
Harvard Health reports that physical activity can reduce stress and prevent the onset of depression and anxiety while promoting better self-esteem. Regular exercise makes us feel better and allows us to get more in-touch with our surroundings, creating healthy feelings of escape and serenity. It’s sometimes hard to put into words but, for many, physical outdoor activities can be uplifting to our mood and spirits.
There is a neurochemical basis to these theories. Exercise can lower cortisol and adrenaline in our bodies and increase the production of endorphins, which have the capacity to elevate our moods. This is why so many people talk about a “runner’s high” or feel more optimistic after playing a sport.
Additionally, remember that our kids model our behaviour so the more we embed positivity around exercise, nutrition and spending time together as a family the more it can shape their attitudes on these subjects. You can’t feed your kids fast food for dinner every night and then expect them to naturally want to eat more vegetables.
An outdoor activity should be something that each member of your family can enjoy. It doesn’t have to be easy but you don’t want anyone to get hurt or to push themselves too hard.
Here are some of our favourite physical activities. We’re sure there are a few that your family will love and want to do regularly.
A boot camp is a fitness program that combines multiple workouts or exercises and are generally intense.
You can turn a boot camp into a family event by getting everyone to choose their five favourite activities. You can then incorporate all of them into a routine that can be performed in your backyard or a nearby park. Some examples of exercises you can include are jumping jacks, burpees, running on the spot and push-ups.
As a fun bonus, ask your kids to create a music playlist to match the workout.
Hiking might not feel like an activity that will get the heart pumping but a long walk through a natural terrain like a trail or the woods can burn calories while not putting too much stress on joints.
It’s also a great activity if you want to inject some lively conversation into your family workout—something that cycling and running doesn’t always allow.
Dragon Boat Racing
A dragon boat is a long row boat that consists of twenty paddlers positioned two-by-two and one person who steers the boat. The paddlers must work in concert to push the boat forward and, like any race, the goal is to cross the finish line first.
This isn’t for every family but if you are looking for something more intense and teamwork-focused, then give dragon boat racing a try. It takes 12-20 rowers so unless you have a family that would make a great TLC show, this is an activity for multiple families.
In addition to being a great workout, this is a perfect way to foster some friendly competition and to teach your kids about sportsmanship.
Cycling is an awesome exercise. You can tour your city or town while getting fit and can also stop for a nutritious lunch or indulge in some ice cream or gelato to cap off a fun ride.
If your family enjoys this activity, then you can graduate to longer bike rides or to some trails that are a little more challenging. While cycling is a relatively safe activity, be sure to carry a first aid kit with you just in case something happens.
A few years ago, you might have noticed a lot of people running around and staring at their phones while trying to catch fictional characters. We’re referring, of course, to Pokemon Go, a geocaching game that took the world by storm.
Geocaching is a virtual outdoor treasure hunt where you scour an area using a GPS, looking for hidden containers or items. Some geocaching games force the players to solve clues whereas others only use coordinates and require players to navigate to a location. Best of all, it can inspire your family to meet and socialize with new people who are also participating.
This is a great family activity and you can work up a sweat running from one location to another, or you can find games that include cycling or other fun things like swimming or climbing.
Geocaching lets you to work up a sweat, explore and discover your surroundings and have a good time in the real-world.
Ultimate Frisbee is a recreational game like a non-contact version of football played with a Frisbee. Invite some friends or another family to play, head to a field, and divide into two teams. This game lets you run around, jump and even dive to make an amazing catch on a descending Frisbee. It’s also harder than it looks which keeps things interesting.
The rules are simple and it can get the competitive juices flowing in a fun way.
Less Physical Activities
Not everyone can endure long hikes, running or cycling. Just because you or someone in your family can’t go all out doesn’t mean you must stay indoors.
You can try Frisbee golf, whimsically called frolf, or enjoy some leisurely laps in a public pool. You can host a backyard dance party tailored to the abilities of the participants, go on a nice neighbourhood walk or even enjoy a weekend of camping.
Don’t let barriers stop your family from getting fit as a group. Ultimately, it’s about going outdoors and having fun with the people you love. By injecting a small amount of fitness into your daily lives, you and your family will benefit greatly.
Shop for Fuel
Before hitting the trails or the lake, you need to make sure you and your family are properly fuelled and ready to go
Browse the aisles of The Low Carb Grocery to find ingredients for some nutritious meals that are perfect to eat before being active. You will also want to have the right snacks with you so check out our selection.