Summer is Ideal for Family Fitness

Julie Marsh is a guest blogger for the special series on Healthy Summer Kids. Julie is a mom of three in suburban Denver who combines her love of swimming, biking, and running by competing in sprint triathlons.You can see more of Julie at family bike ride

I’m dedicated to setting a healthy example for my kids.  We don’t talk about weight or size or wearing a bikini (because heaven knows that’s never happening again no matter how many triathlons I finish).  Instead, we talk about getting some fresh air and having fun.

When my husband and I pay for a babysitter so that we can wake up at the crack of dawn on a holiday and run a 10K, we’re doing it not just because it feeds our own love of competition and our own goals for health and wellness; we’re doing it because we want our kids to see that we genuinely enjoy challenging ourselves. Summer is an ideal time to get into this sort of family routine.  The weather is perfect for outside activity.

Getting some exercise as a family is easy at local state parks.  Hiking trails abound, and many of them are stroller-friendly.  As an avid babywearer myself, we started hiking last year when my son was still a newborn.  Be prepared to go slowly yourself to accommodate little ones’ short legs and constant distraction by scenery.

Biking is another great way to get the family moving.  Put one adult in front of the pack, another at the rear, and any kiddos who can pedal themselves in the middle.  Some people prefer bike seats, others prefer bike trailers.  Head to a neighborhood playground or just take a spin around the block.

If all else fails, hit the pool!  Kids never get tired of going to the pool, and it’s a sure-fire way to wear them out.  Take turns watching them when it’s adult swim; the adult who’s not in charge can swim laps.  We’ve done that ourselves, and the kids have a great time trotting up and down the length of the pool, cheering us on.  Just remember to bring snacks from home so that no one is tempted by the vending machines.

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