4 Heart-Healthy Activities For The Family This Summer
We’re a month away from the September Equinox, signaling the end of summer and the beginning of fall. But most of us are still in the thick of the summer – unless you’re like us in the Bay Area, where summer doesn’t really start until Fall 😉
Keeping your kids (or grandkids) entertained throughout the summer can be tiring work. While it might be tempting to let go the easy route and let them chill out in-front of the TV, summertime can be a great opportunity to develop healthy habits with the entire family.
So here are 4 family activity ideas to take part in before summer’s officially over, that’ll help keep your heart healthy, too.
Swimming is an ideal activity to do with kids, since it’s equally healthy, fun, and relaxing.
Studies by the Cooper Clinic in Dallas found that people who swim have lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and better all-round cardiovascular health, compared with walkers, runners, or couch potatoes.
If you haven’t been swimming for a while, Harvard Medical School recommends starting slowly with 5-10 minutes of laps. To make it more fun with kids, mix up your strokes or teach them new ones – freestyle, backstroke, butterfly, whatever you can do. Keeping it varied not only makes it more interesting, but helps you work different muscles.
Want more of a challenge? Try carrying your (grand)kids on your back while wading in the water — just remember to be careful! It’ll be fun for the kids, and an extra workout for you. We’d call that a win-win.
Try a cycle ride
Cycling is the perfect way to enjoy a sunny day, and explore your local area as a family.
According to NutriStrategy, a relaxing bike ride (<10 mph) burns more calories than an easy walk (2 mph). It’s an ideal option to get your heart pumping, without putting strain on your joints. A cycle ride will also help you and your little ones sleep better, by getting your circadian rhythm back in sync.
If you have our MOCAheart, why not measure your family’s heart rate before, during, and after the cycle ride? This can help teach kids about the health benefits of physical activity in a fun and practical way.
Not all healthy activities need to be physical… Engaging in creative activities such as drawing, painting, and sculpting can slow heart rate, lower blood pressure, and reduce stress. When people focus their attention on an activity that they enjoy, it can feel similar to being in a meditative state.
So why not draw postcards together, make a collage, bedazzle a box, or make your own play-dough? The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers a free downloadable PDF that’s packed with fun creative ideas and printable resources.
Try fruit picking
Fruit picking is an ideal summer activity for adults and kids of all ages. Not only is it a gentle form of exercise, but it helps kids develop an appreciation for fresh, healthy produce.
Berries, peaches, nectarines, and cherries are all in season throughout the summer. Berries are especially good since the bushes are low to the ground for kids to reach, and small enough for little fingers to grasp. Go to PickYourOwn.Org to find a farm near you, along with recipes for using up your freshly picked fruit.
So there are a few healthy activity ideas you can do with your kids or grandkids this summer. Whether you decide to swim, cycle, get creative, or pick fruit, enjoying activities as a family will create happy memories that last a lifetime.
How do you stay healthy with your family? Share your ideas with us in the comments below!