Multipure’s Spotlight for June 2021 is “Healthy Summer Activities.” This month, our blog posts will focus on personal and family activities to keep you healthy, happy, and well during the summer.
Summer is a time for fun and relaxation for children and families. For children, it means the long break between school years and a time for fun with friends. For families, it can be a time for vacations, day trips, and family activities. For this article, we are going to discuss healthy summer activities to get the kids and family away from televisions, computers, phones, or tablets – activities to get everyone outdoors in a fun and safe way.
Healthy outdoor activities do not necessarily mean “outdoor exercises” – in fact, the word “exercise” may make it harder for children to participate, as those types of activities could be viewed as “work.” Instead, the key to family outdoor activities is to make them fun and interactive for everyone.
Some good examples of healthy outdoor activities include:
- Biking: Getting everyone on their bikes to ride down scenic routes, through parks, or off-road can be a great way to exercise together while enjoying the outdoors. Better yet, present the kids with several possible bike routes, and let them pick where they would like to explore.
- Visiting an amusement park or water park: While not the cheapest of activities, a day at an amusement park or water park involves a good mix of walking, exciting and thrilling rides, games, and relaxation.
- Swimming: Whether at a beach or swimming pool, a day in and around the water is a perfect way to exercise, have fun, and stay cool during a hot summer day. Swimming works almost every muscle group in the body, and is great for both cardiovascular health and flexibility.
- Gardening: Working with fruits, vegetables, flowers, and other plants is a good way to teach kids about agriculture and plant life. Putting children in charge of watering and weeding a garden plot is a good way to teach them responsibility, as well.
- Making an obstacle course: Use outdoor toys, rocks, plants, and patio furniture to make an impromptu backyard obstacle course for kids to navigate. If you have several kids involved, you can even time each person to make it a competition.
- Visiting animals: A trip to a zoo or ranch can be a fun way to learn about animals while spending some time walking outdoors.
- Participating in sports: Football, basketball, soccer, kickball, frisbee – any sport or game that requires space to move and a group of people can be a great way to have fun and exercise outdoors.
- Playing water games: Water balloon fights, slip-and-slides, or even sprinklers can make for a fun way to get moving while staying cool and refreshed outdoors.
- Engaging in a dart gun war: A foam dart gun battle can turn any backyard into an epic battleground. Just make sure that everyone takes the time to clean up the darts when the war is over.
Regardless of what activities you choose to perform, the key to a good, healthy outdoor activity is to get people moving, and to make sure that the activity is fun for everyone involved.
Outdoor summer activities are not without their hazards, and there are certain things that need to be avoided or watched out for. Some of these potential hazards include:
- Sun exposure: Make sure that everyone has sunscreen on when playing outside for any extended periods of time. Take a break every hour or so to cool down in the shade and rehydrate – preferably with water or a sports drink. Reapply sunscreen every two to four hours when playing outdoors.
- Treating sunburns properly: On those occasions where you get sunburned, make sure to treat it properly. Do not put ice cubes on the burn; instead, use moisturizer and a cold, damp towel on the affected areas. At the same time, drink plenty of water to maintain proper hydration.
- Unhealthy summer snacks: Everyone loves a backyard or poolside barbecue, but many of the foods involved can be unhealthy. You can still eat burgers, hotdogs, and chips, but do so in moderation. As an alternative, eat more fruits – especially water-heavy fruits such as watermelons, cantaloupes, and oranges that can be both healthy and hydrating.
- Dehydration: The sun, heat, and sweat will make anyone quickly lose hydration outdoors in the summer. Make sure that everyone is staying properly hydrated with some cool, clean water; a drink every half hour or so in the heat can be enough to keep people refreshed and hydrated.
Summer can be a great time for children to have fun, play with friends, and stay active, but sometimes children need a little direction – a little nudge to get them away from too much of a sedentary, indoor lifestyle and instead get them outside moving their bodies and exercising. With the right activities, and the right precautions, any family can find something to do to make sure everyone can partake in healthy and enjoyable outdoor activities during the summertime.
- “31 Outdoor Activities for Kids.” Super Healthy Kids. Last accessed June 2, 2021. https://www.superhealthykids.com/kid-fitness/31-outside-activities-for-kids/
- “38 Fun Ways to Have a Healthier and More Active Family.” The Healthy. May 10, 2021. https://www.thehealthy.com/family/47-tips-for-a-healthier-more-active-family/
- “7 Heart-Healthy Summer Activities.” Northwestern Medicine. Last accessed June 2, 2021. https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/fitness/seven-heart-healthy-summer-activities
- Freytag, Chris. “45 Fun and Healthy Activities To Do With Your Kids This Summer.” Get Healthy U. May 28, 2019. https://gethealthyu.com/45-fun-and-healthy-activities-to-do-with-your-kids-this-summer/
- Lappe, Sidney. “10 Unhealthy Mistakes to Avoid This Summer.” bistroMD. August 6, 2019. https://www.bistromd.com/health-tips/five-mistakes-to-avoid-in-the-summer-sun
- Rich, Kris. “Plunge Into the Health Benefits of Swimming.” ThinkHealth. May 28, 2021. https://thinkhealth.priorityhealth.com/the-health-benefits-of-swimming-take-the-plunge/