Staying the Course on Vacation (Home)

It’s summer vacation time! Long, lazy days and backyard barbecues aren’t the ideal way to keep up your fitness routines, even if they’re good for your emotional well-being. Do you have a plan for staying on course during the summer?

For those of you with school-age children, I’m guessing your summers are spent shuffling said children to and from camps, swim lessons, or friends’ houses. Ask yourself, are any of these errands doable on bike? Or by foot? Can you squeeze in a walk or a run during your child’s 45-minute piano lesson, or can you get in the other end of the pool while your child perfects his freestyle? It’s often these short bits of time that can, if used mindfully, add up to really great fitness.

If you’re looking for ways to keep the kids entertained, why not try good old-fashioned races in the backyard or at the local park. Let your child start a game of Follow the Leader, and you might find yourself climbing a playscape, hopping around a tree, or running down a hill. It’s my experience that the kids love this game because they get to plot the course and you’re following their rules. In a kid’s world, that’s pure awesome.

My boys also never tire of my willingness to shoot hoops, kick a soccer ball, or play catch with them. Even in a hot Texas summer, we can all stand to burn a little energy outdoors ten minutes at a time. It’s a great way to connect with my kids and keep us all active.

I can also offer my experience of a great way to break children out of a midafternoon funk, should you find your children arguing, shouting, and/or beating on each other. (No, my glorious children are not always perfect angels. It’s a sad reality.) I ask one son to name a movement– jumping jacks, pushups, skipping, etc– and the other son gets to choose a number. Then all three of us do the exercise together for the prescribed number of reps. This usually gets us laughing before we can even finish.

I admire those of you who get up and go for a run before the kids wake up, but with my early risers (6.15 is a good day), that’s not my reality right now. I’d love to hear more ideas about ways you stay active in and around the house, especially during summer vacation.

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