After being stuck in the gym all winter long, I relish the first spring walks, runs, hikes and bike rides. Everything is renewed. The air is clean and smells of blossoms and foliage. The dewy mornings with their pink sunrises lure me outside as soon as the first light leaks through my windows. As the days grow longer, heat up, and the newness of spring fades, so does my enthusiasm to exercise.

Not only does my excitement wane, but summer schedules are filled with work, travel, and kids out of school and at home. To help counter these hectic times at home, make a goal to spend more outdoor time this summer as a family.

According to www.letsmove.gov, regular exercise in nature is proven to improve children’s physical and mental health. Outdoor activity helps kids maintain a healthy weight, boosts their immunity and bone health, and lowers stress.

This site also references that kids need at least 60 minutes of active and vigorous play each day to stay healthy, and one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to meet this goal is by playing outside.   

  • Make yard work fun by setting up a yard obstacle course.
  • Pack a picnic and hike to a beautiful location for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  • Go on a treasure or scavenger hunt on a trail or through the neighborhood with a list of items to search for.
  • Pick up a family sport such as tennis, golf, swimming, or frisbee that everyone enjoys and commit to playing as a family once a week.
  • Bike, walk, or run to a destination that, as a family, you set as a goal.

I grew up playing tennis because my dad taught the sport for most of my childhood. There were many moments I just didn't want to play. Now I am so grateful to my parents for incorporating me into their active lives in order to benefit me and set an example for my future.

No matter how busy life is, make an active lifestyle a priority. It will, no doubt, benefit your children’s current and future health and your own wellbeing as a healthy, active adult.