With the onset of longer, warmer days and feelings of fresh starts and renewal, I find  that spring and summer are the perfect seasons to examine my physical activity routine. I encourage you to take advantage of the beautiful weather with your family and engage in outdoor activities that has all of you having fun in the fresh air and the warmth of the sun while simultaneously reaching your exercise goals. 

Guidelines

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), kids and teens should try to get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity activity every day. The good thing is that our kids get the same physical and mental health benefits by breaking this up into shorter exercise sessions throughout the day. So what does moderate to vigorous intensity activity actually mean?  

The AHA describes moderate intensity activities are those that cause your heart to beat faster and cause you to breathe harder than normal while still being able to talk. Examples include brisk walking and casual biking. Vigorous intensity activities require more effort and you may even feel out of breath.

Ideas

The goal is to include vigorous intensity activities into your exercise routine at least 3 times per week. Here is an example of a weekly activity planner with a few ideas that you can recreate and customize for your family.

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Family Hike

Exercise or dance video & 

Walk after dinner

Jump rope challenge & Exercise Video Morning nature walk and pre-dinner walk Dance party & after dinner walk 4:1 run/walk (run for 4 mins than walk for 1 mins)

Bike ride around the neighborhood

 

Vigorous Moderate- vigorous Moderate- vigorous Moderate Moderate vigorous Moderate

 

How to get it done

  • Until physical activity is part of your daily routine, set a reminder in your phone or schedule your chosen activity into the calendar. 
  • It is not uncommon for you or your family members to come up with reasons for why you don’t have time or don’t want to get moving. Recognizing this ahead of time can prepare you with strategies to overcome this resistance.
  • Work with your kids to identify activities they enjoy and get their input on a family activity calendar. This is a good chance to reinforce the message that daily movement is non-negotiable, but the activity can be their choice. 
  • Telling yourself that you’ll “just do 5 minutes” can be an effective way to get you started if you feel stuck. Then once you start, chances are you will continue.

 

Usually getting started is the hard part and once you’re engaged more often than not you’ll keep going!

Check out our previous blog posts for more ideas on family friendly outdoor activities and family fitness challenge