The summer holidays are fantastic. Six weeks of quality family time with a week or two away from the daily grind in the sun, at the beach or the campsite. What could be better than that? Well, whilst few would argue with these major plus points, many would be also be quick to raise the negatives: How do I keep the kids occupied for all that time? How do I find the money for all these activities and days out? And by the end of the six weeks, many parents end up exasperated and desperately willing the new school term to get underway!
There are pros and cons with the long summer break, and one of those cons – the potential negative impact on a family’s health – is certainly one that should be given careful consideration.
From a parent’s point of view, the kids being at home during the day can make daily workout regimes difficult and it can play havoc with fitness schedules. For the kids, it’s the constant battle to keep them active – how do you drag them away from the XBox, the TV screen and the sofa?
Throw a couple more things into the mix, such as the challenge of trying to keep the kids occupied and the fact that holidays are usually the time when you indulge the most – and the result can be stress levels rising and waistlines bulging.
Here are a few tips to keep healthy during the summer and how to exercise both with and without the kids.
Get up early and workout
Your normal fitness schedules might have been wrecked by having the kids at home all day, but this does not stop you working out. Be an early riser and squeeze in a 10 minute workout before the kids surface. Two minutes of jogging on the spot can be combined with squats, jumps and lunges – even 5 minutes will do the trick. Exercising first thing in the morning is great for burning the fat and it will give you a blast of energy for the day ahead too.
Turn household chores into games
Dusting, folding clothes and gardening are just three everyday household chores that you can tempt younger children with to keep them active. Gardening is particularly useful as a workout and getting some help watering the plants, for example, gets the little ones outside and gets them into the habit of helping around the house. As we all know, habits are hard to break, so you’re actually being pretty cunning here!
Most kids love technology and many are hard to prise away from their games console. Rather than fighting it, embrace it. Dance or sports games can be fun for the whole family and a great workout too. Even those without access to such games can create a DIY disco in the lounge with a CD player or an iPod.
Of course, a workout doesn’t have to mean a visit to the gym. Just being active is the most important thing. Most smartphones have apps that will count the number of steps taken in a day, so turn this into a daily challenge for all the family. Build a walk into the daily routine. This is easy if you have a dog, but you can go for walks without one! Charity walks and fun runs are commonplace and would be a good way of stepping up the fitness levels a notch.
Exercise keeps you calm
Regular exercise is good for a variety of reasons. Fitness, is the obvious one but it also helps you to stay calm – and that’s a must over the summer holidays. Physical activity helps the brain absorb serotonin, which is a key player in keeping our moods balanced.
For your emotional well-being and your physical well-being, make the summer holiday an active one!