8 Fun Ideas For Summertime Family Fitness

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Summer brings warm weather, blue skies and lots of sunshine. And with many kids on break from school, the summer months offer infinite opportunities for families to get moving.

“People are more active in the summer because they’re doing things like yard work, washing cars and playing outside with their kids,” Nicole Schreiber says. An athletic trainer at Henry Ford Health System, Schreiber believes the commitment to fitness is more likely to slip during vacations when you’re more likely to lie by the pool than swim in the pool.

Never fear, if you’re committed to staying fit as a family, squeezing physical activity into your itinerary will be seamless. Keep your kids off the couch and get your whole family moving with these eight summertime fitness ideas:

  1. Bounce. Whether you buy an inexpensive bounce house at a garage sale or splurge on a large-scale trampoline, bouncing is great exercise. To sidestep boredom from the repetitive up-and-down motion, play games on the trampoline. “Do a round of ‘Simon Says’ or challenge your kids to see who can complete the most tuck jumps,” Schreiber suggests.
  2. Get shaking with hula hoops. Hula hoops help whittle your waist, too, burning up to seven calories a minute when done consistently. And they’re a favorite pastime for kids, especially when you switch up the fun with other exercises. Have kids do tuck jumps, jumping jacks or even jump rope before getting back to the hula hoop.
  3. Set up an obstacle course. Nothing promises to tax your muscles more than a challenging obstacle course. Create stations in your backyard or at the park for exercises like lunges, squats, sit-ups and push-ups. Near a jungle gym? Add pull-ups or other monkey-bar exercises to your circuit.
  4. Have fun with sidewalk chalk. Whether you draw hopscotch squares, create a racetrack in the backyard or use chalk to create an obstacle course, sidewalk chalk offers myriad opportunities to get moving. Plus, your children will be able to practice spelling, reading and writing in the process.
  5. Get wet. On warm summer days, water balloons, water guns, sprinklers and even a simple garden hose provide ample opportunities for fun. Create a game where participants try NOT to get wet or run the sprinklers and have your kids try to jump over or through them. You can even play tag or dodge balloon with water balloons.

    Related Topic: 5 Tips For Water Workouts

  6. Break out the bubbles. Bubble machines are especially fun for younger children. Just turn on the bubbles and run around the yard trying to “catch” them or pop them! A bonus: You’ll be able to teach them mindful breathing techniques by showing them how to use their breath to blow big bubbles.
  7. Go high-tech. In today’s digital world, there are countless apps that help families get moving together. Whether you challenge each other using a social network-style app like MapMyRun or MyFitnessPal, or opt for something like Pokemon Go, the end result is the same: You’re moving! You might even check YouTube for five and 10-minute workouts for kids. There are even superhero-themed workouts for the little ones.
  8. Take a walk. Nothing is more powerful for both mind and body than heading outside for a breath of fresh air. Whether you choose to go hiking in the woods or take a stroll around the block after dinner, walking is a great family bonding activity. It’s also a great way to teach kids to prioritize fitness.

No matter which summer activities you choose, it’s important to be aware of potential pitfalls. Exercising in the heat and humidity can be especially problematic, since it raises the risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Even just spending time in the sunshine comes with caveats including sunburn and increased risk of skin cancer. So be summer smart.

“Wear sunscreen, cover up with a broad-brimmed hat and be sure to stay hydrated during the summer months,” Schreiber cautions. “Equally important, encourage your kids to engage in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for at least 60 minutes most days.” That way when school starts up again, whether their sport of choice is football or water polo, they’ll be ready to dive in.


For more wellness resources you can share with you child, download our app – 5-2-1-0 Kids! It’s a fun way for kids to learn the importance of health and fitness.

Nicole Schrieber, MA, AT, ATC, is a certified athletic trainer who currently works with the Henry Ford Concussion Clinic team at the William Clay Ford Center for Athletic Medicine in Detroit and Henry Ford Medical Center – Columbus in Novi.

Categories: ParentWell