We know that running kids from school to practice to birthday parties to summer camp requires time, and as a parent you’re already full-out. In fact, that’s maybe why the term “dad bod” can have positive undertones — it means you’re so hands on with those awesome kiddos of yours that you don’t have time to get to the gym or out for that run as often as you’d like.
That said, we could all stand to take a little more time for our own health, and you don’t need to be a chiseled Adonis to be a wellness role model for your children. Parents are the number one role model for setting up kids to live a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your own health is to skip the gym and make time to exercise with them.
Certified health coach and mother of two Pam Howard agrees. “Parents who exercise with their children are not only teaching them how to live a healthy lifestyle, they are also reinforcing the family bonds and creating wonderful family traditions. It’s fantastic for super-busy parents who wouldn’t get as much exercise as they need without incorporating their kids in the process.”
Here are some summertime activities that will get your heartrate up and encourage a get-up-and-go lifestyle for your kids too:
Spend After-Dinner Outside
There is no rule that says we have to watch TV after dinner, but somehow most of us land on the couch. The average American is watching 5 hours of television per day, and we’re just going to go ahead and say it – that’s too much. Consider going for a walk or after-dinner bike ride, or just play around in the back yard. Much as evening exercise can calm your mind and help you destress before bed, it’s likely to do the same for your kids.
The family that hikes together, well, gets to hike together! Start a family tradition of going hiking one or more times a month. Kids love the sense of adventure and doing something new. There’s a wide range of trails, terrain and sights for children to check out — let them lead the way! With kids spending a good chunk of their time indoors during the week, hiking on the weekend is a perfect way to get them (and you!) outside. Pro tip: Don’t forget the snacks! Orgain Organic Protein Bars are a great option that kids love.
Walk or Run for Charity
This is a great one for connecting with your kids and the local community, all while teaching them the importance of giving back and getting involved. Let them choose the charities that are important to them, and walk or run at their pace — you might not be setting any personal bests, but soon enough your kids will be beating you!
Having a home and yard to take care of is physical work, and whether it’s raking leaves or shovelling snow, it’s key for kiddos to appreciate what goes into it. Research shows that gardening is as good as weight training when it comes to preventing osteoporosis, and if you’re planting vegetables, it can even help kids connect with their food.
Much as we want to set a healthy eating example for our kids and make sure what they are consuming is the best possible quality for growing bodies and minds, our goal for this summer is to help them learn by doing when it comes to an active lifestyle. Playing with our kids evolves as they get older, so just because they aren’t interested in the swingset anymore doesn’t mean they don’t want to play with Dad.