weight managementFinally, what seems to have felt like the longest and wettest few months, the sun is shining and it seems like summer is here. With your sunglasses on and sun cream lathered the great outdoors is beckoning. The summer holidays are a brilliant time to kick-start a healthy, active and outdoor lifestyle for you and the whole family. Below are a list of fun family summer activities to get the blood pumping and the kids exercising and having fun!

The average adult should get at least 150 minutes of exercise per week. This can be broken down into as little as 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity five times a week.

Depending on their age, children should also be active as much as possible each day. Toddlers able to walk should be encouraged to stay active for at least 3 hours a day, while older children should be involved in active play that increases their heart rate for at least 60 minutes every day. In both adults and children it is worth stressing that it is healthy to aim for significantly more than this daily minimum if at all possible.

In this article we will look at how the whole family can combine activities and build moderate exercise into a fun excursion so that exercise need not feel like a chore.

Cycling

There are so many things to do right on your doorstep that are healthy and active, all you need to do is get out there and experience it for yourselves. One of the best activities is always a bike ride. When the sun shows its face, simply get the kids off the sofa, grab them a helmet and their bike and head for the outdoors.

Cycling is a fantastic way to stay healthy because it is a low-impact aerobic activity. This means that it puts less strain on joints and ligaments than something like running. Cycling to work or to school is also cheaper and better for the environment than taking the car or bus.

When the weekend comes, a simple search online for the best cycling routes will reveal a whole host of options – many of which will be away from the dangers of road traffic. The Forestry Commission states that there are over 1100km of cycle trails to enjoy, so you should not be hard pressed to find a route that is suitable for your location and physical capabilities. Why not pack a picnic and make it a day of adventure for the whole family? Bike rides are one of the best ways to get your children active and having fun in the outdoors this summer and you can get involved too.

Swimming

Swimming is also one of the best activities to be enjoyed by the whole family. A low impact cardiovascular pastime, swimming can both strengthen muscles across the whole body and get the heart pounding. Swimming can reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as strokes, heart disease and type 2 diabetes – not to mention weight gain.

On a sunny summer’s day do your research and you may even want to head for the seaside or find an outdoor pool near you. Just be conscious that open water swimming is very different from swimming in a pool, requiring swimmers to be more competent. Parents should always monitor children to ensure their safety at all times.

Racquet, bat and ball sports

Football, rugby, tennis, cricket and even rounders. All are a great way for the family to have fun and get the heart racing – not to mention getting the creative juices flowing. All you really need is a bit of open space, such as a sizeable garden, park or field.

Playing this type of sport not only gets the cardiovascular system working but it can also help children to develop their coordination and motor skills. Team games also teach important lessons about working together, sharing and communicating effectively. But best of all, a team sport can be a mood booster, releasing positive hormones that keep the mind and body healthy.

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