Staying active with children in tow

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Well it’s official, summer vacation has begun for my eleven-year-old son. In between summer camps and time with family, what shall we do? Getting workouts done is still a must.  Well, we could go for another one of those very long short distance bike rides where we stop every few minutes for water. I know he means well but when you are hoping to sneak in an 8-mile bike ride things can get a little dicey. I’ve learned that while I am not able to keep my routine workout or schedule, we can still accomplish a lot and have fun. Well, a little fun on some days. In addition to biking, there are other great activities such as swimming, hiking, a group fitness class, or going for a walk/run that you and your kids can enjoy as a family.  There are a few things you can do to make sure these activities are filled with laughs and less crying (and I don’t mean the kids either).

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  • Going for a bike ride or jog on the trail is a great way to burn calories. Prepping in advance is essential to making these successful activities. Start by having completely filled water bottles, explaining the bike or walking route and assuring them IMG_1361that lunch or snack will follow definitely helps. Going out on the trails late morning is the ideal time. By then most people have cleared it to head off to work and it’s also late enough so that everyone can sleep in and finish up with the ride just in time for a snack or early lunch. This is a great time to practice interval training. Make it fun by giving them a short distance to run and follow-up by a brisk walk and repeat. When you return to the trail see if you are able to increase your run distance before having to walk. Not to mention, if you decide to bike and they are still learning etiquette while riding on the trails you probably won’t get too many glaring eyes or near miss collisions.
  • The pool can also be a saver if your child is a pretty independent swimmer. While you are swimming a few laps they can get in a swim with you and maybe even work on their stroke/technique. It’s a good idea to build in enough time at the end so they are able to just have fun and play in the water before leaving. Did you know swimming is a total body workout and one of the top activities for burning calories?
  • Taking an exercise class together is a great way to get in a workout and maybe even be a team. Participating in family boot camp classes or Zumba will give you the opportunity to get in a total body workout. These classes are a great way to challenge you and perhaps try something new. Keep in mind that if you have younger children some of these classes may last an hour. It fine to leave early because it’s all about having fun. Managing expectations and being supportive is what’s important when starting a new activity.
  • Hiking is a great way to get to in exercise and explore at the same time. Hiking is about more than exercising and is learning and bonding experience. We’ve learned so much IMG_1847during hiking about the outdoors as well as ourselves while hiking. I’ve even been able to overcome some of my own fears and be simply amazed at how courageous my son has become.  Packing snacks and dressing for the occasion is critical.
  • It also helps to have incentives to take part to get started without a lot of fuss and opposition. Although I would much rather not see electronics while I am outside, I must admit, initially, the DS was a life saver while going for walks. Apparently you are able to collect game coins to use while playing simply by turning the device on while you are walking. Finding friends to go along for a group adventure has always been a motivator, a great way to explore and spend time with my son.

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Initially, the thought of participating in some of these activities with my son seemed daunting and even got off to a rocky start. There have been many times I questioned what sane person would even consider taking this on since a headache seemed to outweigh the benefits. However, by the end of what sometimes appears is a “what are you thinking” kind of an ordeal, I am always proud that we stick it out.  I know I certainly gain a lot from our experiences and think he does too. Now, let’s see what this summer has in store.

What are some ways you have found to stay active with a child in tow?

 

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