Ahhhh summertime, you would be hard pressed to find a child who didn’t count down the last days of school in eager anticipation of summer, the truth is, adults look forward to this time of year just as much. While the first couple days of summer vacation can be exciting, busy schedules and obligations can make the days turn into weeks and months and before you know it, summer can pass you by.
One way to get the most out of your summer vacation as a family is to carve out time together to be active. It seems like a no-brainer to be active in the summertime but with busier than ever schedules, it can oftentimes be an overlooked part of the day. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, less than one-quarter (24%) of children 6 to 17 years of age participate in 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Not only is daily physical fitness a good habit to begin, it can strengthen the bonds of your family, encourage healthy eating choices, teach children to set goals, and more. Here are some ideas to get started from the American Heart Association.
- Enjoy the great outdoors! Schedule a time each day for an outdoor activity with your children. Hike a local nature trail or ride a bicycle path.
- Schedule family playtime. Take a walk or play a family game of tag after dinner each night. Choose activities that require movement, such as bowling, catch or miniature golf.
- Choose toys wisely. Give children toys that encourage physical activity, such as balls, kites, skateboards and jump ropes.
- Limit screen time. Experts warn that one to two hours of screen time a day should be the limit for children, but some are logging more than double that amount. Set boundaries, keep the television and electronic media out of your child’s bedroom and limit computer usage to school projects.
- Plant a garden. Caring for plants gives your children a reason to get outside each day. Learning how to grow a garden teaches the food system, while sampling the harvest encourages healthy eating habits.
- Chip in with chores. Rake leaves, shovel snow and do other home-maintenance projects as a family. In the end, your home will be better off and so will your family’s health.
There are so many choices when it comes to becoming more active as a family, and the summertime is the perfect season to begin new habits that can last a lifetime! The physicians and staff at Bay Area Family Physicians appreciate the opportunity to provide your medical services. We want to strengthen communication between our office and you, our patients. As specialists in Family Medicine, we focus on primary care needs for patients of all ages – from newborns to the elderly. We diagnose and treat almost all medical conditions. Ideally, your entire family will see the same doctor, allowing both you and your doctor to establish a close, trusting relationship. Contact us today for more information!