Top 4 Tips for Making Fitness a Family Affair This Summer 

Matt Rodgers Family
Matt Rogers_2021
PT, DPT
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It’s that time of year when the kids are getting excited for summer, and you’re probably wondering what to do with them until school starts again! As we know, the value of exercise for kids is enormous for health benefits including improved cardiovascular health, movement and coordination development, and for improving mental health. We recognize it can be a challenge to help keep your kids active with difficult work schedules, vacations, or childcare situations. As a dad of three kids 12 and younger, I want to share with you what has worked for us with some tips for this summer.

1. Find ways to be active with your kids.

Remember that your kids are sponges that soak up everything you do and say. So, if you are finding ways to be active and including them, they will be much more receptive to participating. If this is new for you as a family, pick the lowest hanging fruit first and go for a walk around your neighborhood or local park. If you are a video game loving family like mine, try an active game like Wii Fit or some of the virtual reality games that help you find creative ways to move your body. In our family, we like to walk up to the park near our house where the 6-year-old can play on the playground, the 10-year-old can roller blade with mom and the 12-year-old and I walk the track and work on some skill development for track and field events like the discus and shot put.

2. Set a goal as a family.

Goals are motivating. Remember to make them achievable and measurable. An example could be: We will do 5 new hikes as a family by the end of the summer. This is reasonable to achieve during the 13 weeks of summer and it is easy to track. 

As my daughters have gotten older, we’ve set some new goals including how far we can hike on our annual backpacking trip. We started the first year at 4 miles and this most recent year we increased it to 16 miles. Some of that was because we got lost, though!

Family backpacking

3. Make movement fun!

One of the sneaky ways I like to get my kids involved in exercise is to take them to play disc golf. There are dozens of courses near where we live and all we need are a couple of discs and some time. By the time we finish our favorite course, we’ve walked 3 miles without even thinking about it. My oldest daughter wants to basically live at the pool all summer with her friends, which is a great way to move and is a lot of fun too.

4. Sign up for summer camps.

There are lots of local day camps or overnight camps available for kids all summer long. This is one of our favorite ways for our kids to explore new ways to move and to meet new friends along the way. They have done sport-specific camps like soccer and golf but also some overnight camps with activities like capture the flag or archery. If finances are an issue, there are numerous low-cost and free camps available through your local parks and recreation department or city program, places of worship, or community centers such as the YMCA. There are also grants available through foundations including John and Anna Canzano’s foundation Bald Faced Truth in Portland who run a non-profit to help kids participate in art, music, academics and athletics.

If you have any barriers to get out and be moving with your kids this summer, consider reaching out to your local Therapeutic Associates Physical Therapy to help you address your issues now so you can make the most of the summer. We have expert clinicians throughout the entire Pacific NW who look forward to being a resource for you and your family to help you meet your goals together.

Get Started Today

At Therapeutic Associates we want to help your family make the most of summer. If you or your children have any bone, joint or muscle pain – especially during or after exercise – give us a call to schedule an assessment today. Don’t let discomfort stand in the way of summer fun!

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